The best tomato juice substitutes are:
- Fresh tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Canned whole tomatoes
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Canned stewed tomatoes
- Tomato puree
- Tomato soup
- Marinara sauce
- Catsup or Ketchup
- Vegetable Juice or V-8
- Vegetable Broth
- Juice from other vegetables
Keep in mind that the last two on the list are non-tomato products that only work in certain recipes.
In the following paragraphs, I will discuss how each of these substitutes can be used and which recipes will benefit most from using them.
Different Forms of Tomatoes as Substitutes
The best substitutes for tomato juice in any recipe are always going to be tomatoes in some form, but each particular recipe that calls for tomato juice must be treated individually because one substitute will not necessarily fit every situation.
For example, a nice marinara sauce would look odd with large chunks of tomato in it. By the same token, a pot of homemade vegetable soup needs those large chunks of tomato and not just a red liquid.
As you read through the different options, be sure to do a reality check to make sure the replacement will actually make sense for your dish.
1. Fresh Tomatoes
The best substitute for any tomato product is always going to be fresh tomatoes. While they require more work and are not as convenient as commercially prepared products, they are a healthier option. Using fresh tomatoes also allows you to be creative and add the spices and seasonings that you and your family prefer.
When substituting fresh tomatoes in a recipe that calls for tomato juice, you have the option of making your own tomato juice or adding the tomatoes with the pulp intact.
2. Tomato Sauce
Another exceptional substitute for tomato juice is tomato sauce. The two products contain the same basic ingredients, tomato puree, and water, but tomato sauce contains a few added spices that tomato juice does not have.
The primary difference between tomato sauce and tomato juice is the texture. Tomato sauce is significantly thicker than tomato juice but can be thinned to the same consistency. Simply add equal parts tomato sauce and water to reproduce the same texture as that of tomato juice.
Note: Tomato sauce should be thinned with equal parts tomato sauce and water, and that mixture can then be used on a 1:1 basis for tomato juice.
3. Tomato Paste
If I were ranking these substitutes for tomato juice, tomato paste would be third on my list. It has the same ingredients as tomato sauce, and although it is very thick, it can be thinned to either the texture of tomato sauce or tomato juice.
To reproduce the texture of tomato juice, simply add 4 parts water to every 1 part of tomato paste. That mixture can then be substituted for tomato juice in any recipe.
Note: Thin tomato paste with 4 parts of water for each 1 part of tomato paste. That mixture can then be substituted on a 1:1 basis for tomato juice.
4. Canned Whole Tomatoes
The next best alternative to tomato juice is canned whole tomatoes. Here, again, you have a tomato product that contains only whole tomatoes, salt, and ascorbic acid. When using whole canned tomatoes as a substitute for tomato juice, even though there is a little more work involved, there should be no taste difference in the recipe you are making.
To substitute canned whole tomatoes, simply pour the entire contents of the can into a food processor or blender and process to the desired consistency. It can then be used with the seeds still included, or it can be strained to remove the seeds from the home-prepared tomato juice.
5. Canned Diced Tomatoes
Canned diced tomatoes can be used as a substitute for tomato juice in exactly the same way that canned whole tomatoes can be used. Here again, the canned diced tomatoes only contain salt and ascorbic acid in most cases.
To make a tomato juice substitute from canned diced tomatoes, pour the entire contents of the can into a food processor or blender and process them until they reach the desired consistency. They can then either be used with the tiny bits of seeds and peels, or they can be poured through a strainer to achieve the same texture as tomato juice.
Substitution Rate: Making a tomato juice substitute from canned diced tomatoes will result in a liquid that can be substituted for tomato juice on a 1:1 basis.
6. Canned Stewed Tomatoes
Canned stewed tomatoes can also be used to make a substitute for tomato juice. However, since stewed tomatoes are made with onions, bell peppers, and celery, the taste of this substitute will be more similar to using vegetable juice such as V-8 than when using tomato juice. The additional flavor will be obvious when added to your recipe.
To make this substitute for tomato juice, simply follow the same steps that you would use for the other types of tomatoes and pour the entire contents of the can of stewed tomatoes into a food processor or blender and blend until it is the desired consistency. This substitute can be used as is or poured through a strainer to remove the seeds and any pulp that is still large enough to be removed by the strainer.
Tip: This substitute for tomato juice can be used on a 1:1 basis or thinned with water to reduce the “V-8” taste in your recipe.
7. Tomato Puree
Tomato puree is very similar to tomato sauce and tomato paste. In fact, the only difference, or primary difference, is in texture. Tomato puree in thickness and texture falls between tomato sauce and tomato paste and can be made into a substitute for tomato juice by simply thinning it with 3 parts water to 1 part tomato puree.
Substitution Rate: Using a substitute for tomato juice that is made by combining 3 parts water with 1 part tomato puree can be substituted for tomato juice at a rate of 1:1.
Tomato Products as Substitutes
8. Tomato Soup
Tomato soup can be used as a tomato juice substitute and is more similar in texture than most of the other substitutes. But tomato soup is typically sweeter and more highly seasoned than tomato juice.
To substitute tomato soup for tomato juice, thin the soup with 3 parts of water to every 1 part of soup and substitute that mixture for tomato juice in your recipe.
Substitution Rate: A mixture of 3 parts of water and 1 part of tomato soup can be substituted at a rate of 1:1 for tomato juice.
9. Marinara Sauce
If you are making a recipe that calls for tomato juice and the only tomato product you have in the house is a jar of marinara sauce, that sauce can be substituted for tomato juice in your recipe. Just keep in mind that most marinara sauce recipes call for additional herbs and spices, such as oregano and basil. Depending on the ingredients called for in the recipe that you are making, there may need to be some adjustments made to the seasonings added to your dish.
To substitute marinara sauce for tomato juice, simply thin the marinara sauce by adding equal parts sauce and water and adding that mixture to your recipe.
10. Catsup or Ketchup
I hesitated to add catsup to this list of substitutes for tomato juice because of the flavor differences. Catsup/Ketchup has sweeteners and spices that tomato juice doesn’t have. But catsup is a condiment that almost everyone keeps on hand at all times, so I can see this as the only tomato product in the house from time to time.
Because of its thickness, catsup should be thinned at the rate of 1 part catsup for every 6 to 8 parts water, depending on the brand of catsup you have on hand. Some are much thicker than other brands.
11. Vegetable Juice
Vegetable juice such as V-8 can be substituted for tomato juice. However, here again, a lot of additional flavors are included in the vegetable juice, which may or may not be compatible with the taste you are trying to achieve in the dish you are preparing.
12. Vegetable Broth
If you don’t have tomato juice or any of the tomato products mentioned here on hand, but your dish needs a little flavor boost, you could always add a little vegetable broth, especially for gravies, sauces, and dishes like goulash that do not necessarily have to include tomatoes to be good but need something to add a more robust flavor.
13. Juice From Other Fresh Vegetables
If you need a substitute for tomato juice and you have other fresh vegetables on hand like beets and carrots, just throw those fresh vegetables into the juicer or blender and substitute the juice from those fresh vegetables to your dish for a unique taste that could be the beginning of a new favorite recipe for your family.
Substitution Rate: Depending on the kind of vegetables you have on hand at any given time, I would add small amounts at the time, maybe ¼ cup, tasting after each addition to check your dish to be sure the new flavors are compatible with the recipe you are making.
Best Tomato Juice Substitute For Bloody Mary
The best tomato juice substitutes for making a Bloody Mary are tomato sauce, tomato paste, or catsup, all thinned to the consistency of tomato juice. Some of the other substitutes can be used, but the closest in flavor to tomato juice will be tomato sauce and tomato paste after they have been thinned. Keep in mind that catsup has sweeteners and spices that the other two do not and may change the taste of the Bloody Mary.
Best Tomato Juice Substitute For Chili
The best tomato juice substitute for chili is either tomato paste or tomato sauce. Either substitute will deliver the same flavor that you would get from tomato juice.
However, I prefer to use either fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes in chili rather than using just tomato juice so that you have chunks of tomato mixed right along with the chunks of beef or chicken/turkey.
Best Tomato Juice Substitute For Gazpacho
The best tomato juice substitute for gazpacho is tomato sauce. However, there are several substitutes that would work. Among them are tomato paste, tomato puree, vegetable juice, and other fresh vegetable juices like beets and carrots.
Best Tomato Juice Substitute For Soups And Stews
The best tomato products for making a nice pot of hot vegetable soup or a stew are either fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes. Either one adds hardy chunks of tomato to add body to the soup or stew.
Difference Between Tomato Sauce And Tomato Juice
Tomato sauce is made from pureed tomatoes which are cooked down or reduced so that they are a much thicker consistency than tomato juice. Tomato juice, on the other hand, is made from raw tomatoes that have had the seeds, peels, and pulp removed. Tomato juice is more watery in texture than tomato sauce.
How To Make Homemade Tomato Juice
To make your own homemade tomato juice, here are two methods:
- Peel the tomatoes and remove the seeds.
- Place the remaining tomato pulp into a blender or food processor and process until the tomatoes reach the desired consistency.
- Add a small amount of water to thin.
- Season to taste.
- Chop the whole tomatoes roughly and place them into a saucepan.
- Cook the tomatoes over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes to soften.
- Pour the tomatoes through a strainer to remove the seeds and skins.
- The juice from the tomatoes can then be thinned if desired and seasoned to taste.
Primary Benefit Of Using Homemade Tomato Juice
The primary benefit of making your own homemade tomato juice instead of using commercially prepared tomato juice is that you control the amount of salt and other seasonings that go into your tomato juice. Tomato juice that has been made commercially contains high levels of sodium.
How To Store Homemade Tomato Juice
Homemade tomato juice can be stored as follows:
- Homemade tomato juice will be good for 2 to 3 days when stored in the refrigerator.
- Homemade tomato juice can be frozen and will maintain its optimum flavor and texture for up to 12 months.
- Homemade tomato juice can be canned for long-term storage by using the boiling water bath method and will remain good if appropriately stored for up to 2 years.
Here is a video I made that shows the boiling water bath process:
Helpful Tomato Articles
- 18 Versatile Substitutes for Tomatoes in a Recipe
- The 7 Most Suitable Substitutes for Mexican Stewed Tomatoes
- The 10 Best Substitutes for Crushed Tomatoes in a Recipe
- Can I Substitute Ketchup for Tomato Sauce? | With 5 Alternatives
- What Can I Substitute for Tomato Paste in Sloppy Joes?
- The 13 Most Suitable Substitutes for Tomato Juice in Recipes
Thanks for stoppin’ by!
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.