Making Tomato Sauce vs. Tomato Paste: Production Process

Making tomato sauce vs. tomato paste
6 min reading time

Tomatoes are a staple in many recipes, from pasta sauces to pizzas, and come in different varieties. Two of the most popular tomato products are tomato sauce and tomato paste. Both are used to add flavor and texture to a wide range of dishes, but do you know what sets them apart?

In this article, we will take you on a journey through the production process of making tomato sauce vs. tomato paste. We will explore the similarities and differences between these two tomato products, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of how each is made and how it can be used in your culinary creations.

Let’s start by delving into the nitty-gritty of their production processes and learn what goes into making tomato sauce and tomato paste.

Harvesting and Preparation of Tomatoes

Tomatoes are typically harvested when ripe and ready to be used for processing into tomato sauce or tomato paste. Harvesting is a crucial step in the production process, as it ensures that only the best quality tomatoes are used.

Before the tomatoes can be processed, they must first be prepared. This involves washing and sorting the tomatoes to remove any damaged or spoiled ones. The tomatoes are then preheated to remove any excess moisture and soften the skin for easier removal.

Once the tomatoes have been preheated, they are then passed through a machine that removes the skin and seeds. This leaves behind only the flesh of the tomato, which is the raw material used for making tomato sauce or tomato paste.

The preparation process also involves adding a small amount of citric acid to the tomato flesh to help preserve its color and flavor.

Tomato Sauce Production Process

Tomato sauce is a popular condiment made from fresh ripe tomatoes. The cooking process starts by washing the tomatoes and removing their stems. They are then coarsely chopped and heated in a large pot with some oil and onions.

As the tomatoes cook, they start to release their natural juices. To intensify the flavor, you can add garlic, herbs like basil or oregano, salt, and black pepper. After simmering for about an hour, the sauce is pureed using a blender or a food mill.

To thicken the sauce and make it more flavorful, you can continue simmering it over low heat for a few more hours. Some recipes call for adding a splash of wine or balsamic vinegar to the sauce to give it an extra tangy flavor.

Once the sauce is cooked down to the desired thickness, it is ready to be used in a wide range of dishes, from classic Italian pasta dishes to pizza toppings and more.

Tomato Paste Production Process

Tomato paste is a highly concentrated form of tomato that is often used as a base for sauces, soups, and stews. The production process involves several steps that concentrate the tomato juice, resulting in a thick, rich, and flavorful paste.

Harvesting and Preparation

Just like with tomato sauce, the first step in making tomato paste is harvesting and preparing the tomatoes. Once they are picked at the peak of ripeness, they are washed, sorted, and crushed into a puree.

Concentration Process

The key difference between making tomato paste and tomato sauce lies in the concentration process. To make tomato paste, much of the moisture in the tomato puree needs to be removed. This is usually done through a combination of evaporation and removal of excess liquid.

The puree is typically heated in large kettles to reduce the moisture content. As the liquid evaporates, the puree thickens. Some manufacturers use vacuum evaporators to speed up the process and reduce the likelihood of scorching the puree.

Once the puree has been reduced to the desired thickness, it is strained to remove any remaining seeds, skin, or pulp. The resulting mixture is a concentrated tomato paste that can be canned or packaged for later use.

The Double Concentration Method

The double concentration method is a popular technique used in tomato paste production. This method involves concentrating the puree twice to make it even thicker and more potent in flavor. After the first round of concentration, the paste is left to sit for several hours to allow the flavors to meld before undergoing a second round of concentration.

Overall, the production process for tomato paste is more involved than that of tomato sauce due to the extra steps required to concentrate the puree. The end result is a more intense tomato flavor that is perfect for dishes that require a strong tomato base.

Flavor and Texture Differences

Tomato sauce and tomato paste may seem like similar products, but they have distinct flavor and texture profiles that set them apart.

Tomato sauce has a thinner consistency compared to tomato paste, making it ideal for recipes that require a more fluid sauce. The production process for tomato sauce includes cooking the tomatoes, adding seasonings, and reducing the sauce to a desired consistency. This process results in a sweeter, less concentrated flavor compared to tomato paste.

On the other hand, tomato paste is a highly concentrated form of tomatoes, with a thicker and richer consistency. The production process for tomato paste involves concentrating the tomato juice through various methods, such as evaporation and removal of excess liquid. This process results in a more intense flavor profile, with a slightly sweet and acidic taste.

The texture of tomato sauce and tomato paste also differs significantly. Tomato sauce has a smoother texture with fewer chunks of tomatoes, while tomato paste is thicker and has a more concentrated tomato flavor.

When deciding which product to use for your recipe, consider the dish you are making and the desired texture and flavor. If you are making a soup or a dish that requires a thinner consistency, tomato sauce may be the better option. If you need a more concentrated tomato flavor or a thicker consistency, tomato paste may be the way to go.


Both tomato sauce and tomato paste are versatile tomato products, but they differ in many aspects, such as flavor, texture, and production process. After reading this article, it should be clear that each product has its own unique role to play in the culinary world.

Which is better?

There is no clear answer to this question since it depends on the intended use of the product. Tomato sauce is ideal for dishes that require a thinner consistency and fresher tomato flavor, while tomato paste is perfect for dishes that need a concentrated flavor and thicker consistency.

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