The Best Tomato Juice Substitutes

Tomato juice and tomatoes
Getty Images/Marilyn Conway
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What can you use when a recipe calls for tomato juice but you don't have any handy? 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

  • Tomato sauce, tomato paste, canned whole or diced tomatoes
  • Water
  • Alternative: vegetable broth
  • Alternatives: juicing fresh vegetables - tomatoes, red pepper, beets, carrots
  • Salt
  • Sugar or other sweeteners
  • Lemon juice or vinegar

Preparation

Tomato Sauce Substitute for Tomato Juice

  • Mix together one part tomato sauce and one part water until well blended. For example, a half cup of tomato sauce and a half cup of water to make a cup of 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 didn't use the whole can of tomato sauce and you won't be using the rest in a couple of days, you may want to freeze it to keep for future use.

Tomato Paste Substitute for Tomato Juice

  • Mix together one part tomato paste and four parts water until well blended. For example, a quarter cup of tomato paste and a cup of water.
  • Tomato paste is also going to give you a close substitute for tomato juice. In fact, 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.
  • Homemade Juice Recipe from Fresh Tomatoes

Tomato Soup Substitute for Tomato Juice

  • 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 Substitute for Tomato Juice

    • In a pinch, you can substitute diluted catsup or ketchup for tomato juice in a recipe. Add 1 part ketchup to eight parts of water. For example, one tablespoon of ketchup (0.5 ounces) and a half cup of water (four 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 Substitute for Tomato Juice

    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 as a Tomato Juice Substitute

    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.