Tomato Sauce vs Tomato Puree—What's The Difference? Rachael Answers

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There are so many variations of tomatoes to cook with—whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato purée, tomato passata ... you get the picture. Of all of them, tomato sauce and tomato purée may sound one and the same—but Rachael says there's a key difference between the two. And tomato passata isn't identical to tomato sauce, either, she says.

"There's a difference between tomato purée, tomato sauce and tomato passata," Rach explains. 

What's the difference between tomato sauce vs tomato purée?

"Tomato sauce in America, at least, refers to a product that sometimes has sugar added to it," Rach says. "It's very smooth and sweet. Tomato purée is just that. It's a cooked product that's just puréed tomato... it's the thin version of whole or crushed canned tomatoes," she adds. 

(For recipes that call for purée, this is the easiest option, but if you only have crushed or whole canned tomatoes, you can purée yourself, too.)

"Sauce usually connotes that it's a sweeter product," she continues. "People would buy tomato sauce a lot for sloppy Joes, for instance."

What is tomato passata?

"Tomato passata is made from fresh, ripe tomatoes that are ground and put into a bottle," she explains. "Passata is made from raw, ripe tomatoes versus cooked."

"But really," Rach adds, "it's about the brands you like and reading your label and just picking a product that you enjoy the flavor of and that matches your diet. If you're looking to have no added sugar, just be careful of that. With some tomato products, there is."

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