The Best Tomato Juice Substitutes

Fast and Easy Alternatives

Glass of tomato juice with celery on black wood
••• Westend61/Getty Images

You can quickly make a substitute in a recipe that calls for tomato juice if you have other canned tomato products on hand. You might also need a tomato juice substitute if you or someone you are cooking for has a sensitivity to tomatoes or ingredients commonly found in commercially-produced tomato juice. For example, store-bought tomato juice is often high in sodium and may contain onion powder or garlic powder. Buying it by the can or bottle may be more expensive than alternatives. Make your own simple substitute to save your wallet and your health.

Ingredients and Preparation

The easiest substitutes are made from either tomato sauce, tomato paste, or canned tomatoes. You will only need to add water. You can make your own tomato juice from fresh tomatoes, but it will require cooking the tomatoes and adding salt and spices as desired.

Use these directions to prepare tomato juice substitutions from tomato products.

Tomato Sauce Substitute for Tomato Juice

  • Mix one part tomato sauce and one part water until well blended. For example, 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1/2 cup water to make 1 cup tomato juice.
  • This alternative will give you a very close approximation of what you will get with canned tomato juice. Check the label on the tomato sauce to see what might be included in addition to tomatoes. Often tomato sauces include onion and garlic even though they aren't labeled as spiced.
  • If you don't use the whole can of tomato sauce and you won't be using the rest in a couple of days, you can freeze it to keep for future use.

    Tomato Paste Substitute for Tomato Juice

    • Mix one part tomato paste and four parts water until well blended. For example, 1/4 cup tomato paste and 1 cup water.
    • Much commercial tomato juice in the United States is actually made from reconstituted tomato paste, so you may not notice any difference. As with tomato sauce, check the ingredient list against any sensitivities.

    Whole or Diced Canned Tomatoes Substitute for Tomato Juice

    • Blend the whole or diced tomatoes with their juice in a food processor or blender until smooth.
    • You may want to strain the juice to remove seeds and pulp, as desired.

    Alternative Substitutions for Tomato Juice

    These alternatives won't be as perfect as using tomato sauce, paste, or canned tomatoes as they will include other flavor elements. But they may work in a pinch or with some modifications to your recipes.

    • Tomato Soup: Mix one part soup concentrate with three parts water. If you are using ready-to-heat soup, dilute it one part soup and two parts water. Classic Campbell's Tomato Soup has added high fructose corn syrup and wheat flour in addition to what you will usually find in their canned tomato juice. You may find the tomato juice is sweeter than usual, and you might adjust any recipes to reduce any other sweet elements. You should not use this soup if you are sensitive to gluten.
    • Ketchup or Catsup: In a pinch, you can substitute diluted catsup or ketchup for tomato juice in a recipe. Add one part ketchup to eight parts of water. For example, 1 tablespoon of ketchup (0.5 ounces) and 1/2 cup water (4 ounces). Ketchup, like soup, also contains sweetener and usually contains onions. Spices added to ketchup and catsup will give it a different flavor from plain tomato juice, so you will need to adjust your recipes accordingly.
    • Vegetable Broth: If you do not need or want tomatoes in your recipe, you can substitute vegetable broth if you have that on hand. You will want to adjust the concentration, depending on the broth used. Tomatoes have a sweet element and a tangy element, which you can add with a pinch of sweetener and a little lemon juice or vinegar.
    • Juicing Other Vegetables: If you have a juicer or blender, other vegetables can take the place of tomatoes. For color and sweetness, red peppers, beets or carrots can be juiced. They will add their own flavor elements so you will need to experiment to find what you like best. You may want to add a little lemon juice or vinegar for the acidity element of tomatoes.