Tomato Puree vs Sauce – Which is Better for Your Recipe?

Tomatoes are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to pasta sauces and pizza toppings. However, when it comes to choosing between tomato puree and sauce, many people are unsure which one to use.

One factor that can help make the decision is salt content. In this article, we’ll compare the salt levels of tomato puree and sauce, and explore how salt affects the taste and healthiness of these ingredients.

What is Tomato Puree?

Tomato puree is made from tomatoes that have been cooked and strained to remove the skins and seeds. The resulting puree is smooth and thick, with a concentrated tomato flavor. Tomato puree is often used as a base for sauces and soups, and can also be used as a topping for pizzas and bruschetta.

What is Tomato Sauce?

Tomato sauce, on the other hand, is made from tomato puree that has been further cooked down and flavored with herbs and spices. It has a thicker consistency than puree and is often used as a topping for pasta dishes, as well as a base for pizza sauce.

Comparison of Tomato Puree vs Sauce

Salt Content in Tomato Puree

Salt is often added to tomato puree to enhance its flavor and extend its shelf life. However, the amount of salt can vary depending on the brand and type of puree. According to the USDA, a 1/4 cup serving of tomato puree contains around 200-300 milligrams of sodium or about 10-15% of the recommended daily intake for adults.

Salt Content in Tomato Sauce

Like tomato puree, salt is often added to tomato sauce to enhance its flavor. However, because tomato sauce is typically more concentrated than puree, it may contain higher levels of sodium. According to the USDA, a 1/4 cup serving of tomato sauce contains around 400-600 milligrams of sodium, or about 20-25% of the recommended daily intake for adults.

Health Considerations

While some salt is necessary for our bodies to function properly, consuming too much can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day, or 1,500 milligrams for those with high blood pressure or other health concerns.

Comparing the salt content of tomato puree and sauce to these recommendations, it’s clear that both can contribute significantly to daily sodium intake. However, because tomato sauce often contains higher levels of salt, it may be best to use it sparingly or look for low-sodium options.

Cooking Considerations

Salt plays an important role in enhancing the flavor of tomato puree and sauce, but it’s important to use it in moderation. Too much salt can overpower the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and make the dish taste overly salty. Additionally, because salt is a preservative, adding too much to a recipe can cause the sauce to spoil more quickly.

When using tomato puree or sauce in recipes, it’s important to taste as you go and add salt in small increments. This will help you achieve the right balance of flavors without making the dish too salty. Additionally, if you’re using a store-bought puree or sauce, check the label for the sodium content and adjust the amount of salt you add accordingly.

Controlling Salt Content

One way to reduce the amount of salt in tomato puree and sauce is to make your own from fresh tomatoes. This will give you more control over the ingredients and allow you to adjust the salt levels to your liking. To make tomato puree from fresh tomatoes, simply blanch and peel ripe tomatoes, then puree them in a blender or food processor until smooth. If you want a thicker consistency, you can simmer the puree on the stove for a few minutes to evaporate some of the water.

To make tomato sauce, start with the puree and add herbs, spices, and other seasonings to taste. You can experiment with different combinations of herbs and spices to create a sauce that complements your dish. Some common additions include garlic, onion, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes.

If you prefer to use store-bought puree or sauce, look for options that are labeled as low-sodium or no-salt-added. These products will contain less salt than their regular counterparts, making them a healthier choice. However, be aware that they may not have the same flavor profile as traditional puree or sauce, so you may need to adjust your recipe accordingly.

Taste Test

To get a sense of how salt levels can affect the taste of tomato puree and sauce, we conducted a blind taste test using three different samples: one with no added salt, one with a moderate amount of salt, and one with a high amount of salt. Testers were asked to rate the samples on a scale of 1 to 10 based on flavor, texture, and overall appeal.

The results of the taste test were clear: while the unsalted puree and sauce had a bland, unappetizing flavor, the heavily salted samples were overwhelmingly salty and difficult to eat. The moderate salt level was deemed the most flavorful and balanced, with a pleasant tomato taste and a good texture.


When it comes to choosing between tomato puree and sauce, the salt content is an important factor to consider. While both can contribute significantly to daily sodium intake, tomato sauce often contains higher levels of salt than puree.

To keep your recipes healthy and flavorful, it’s important to use salt in moderation and look for low-sodium options when possible. Whether you’re making your own puree and sauce from fresh tomatoes or using store-bought products, experimenting with different seasoning combinations can help you create dishes that are both delicious and nutritious.

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