Can You Substitute Tomato Soup for Tomato Sauce?

Perhaps you’ve run out of tomato sauce and you are wondering if you can use tomato soup as a substitute.  Whether you’re just too lazy to run to the store, or you have no time, don’t worry – you can make it work with the ingredients you have on hand.

The quick answer is yes, you can substitute tomato soup for tomato sauce!  Tomato soup can be used as a substitute for tomato sauce at a ratio of 1 can of tomato soup (about 10 ¾ ounces) for 1 cup of tomato sauce.  The only trick is to pay careful attention to the consistency of your recipe since tomato soup is a bit less viscous than tomato sauce.

How to Maintain the Consistency of Your Recipe

Tomato sauce, tomato soup, and other tomato products (such as tomato paste or fresh tomatoes) have different consistencies to consider.  If you don’t consider the consistency of your recipe carefully, you could end up with a dish that is too runny or too thick.

In particular, tomato soup is runnier than tomato sauce, so unless your recipe calls for tomato sauce with water added you will need to take steps to thicken your tomato soup first.

One 10 ¾ can of tomato soup has roughly the same consistency as one cup of tomato sauce plus ¼ cup of water.  If your recipe calls for two cups of tomato sauce (or three cups, etc) you can simply double or triple your substitution.   For example:

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Tomato SoupTomato Sauce
1 x 10 ¾ oz can1 cup + ¼ cup water
2 x 10 ¾ oz cans2 cups + ½ cup water
3 x 10 ¾ oz cans3 cups + ¾ cup water

Do You Need to Boil Down Your Tomato Soup to Match Consistency?

If your recipe calls for tomato sauce without water then you will need to cook down the tomato sauce to obtain a thicker consistency before substituting.  This is the case with recipes like pizza and spaghetti – tomato sauce that is too runny will ruin your dish completely.  For other recipes, like chili, consistency may be less of a concern.

You’ll need to remove 20-25% of the water from tomato soup to match the consistency of tomato sauce.

To remove the water from tomato soup boil it down using a saucepan on low to medium heat.  Heat just enough so that steam is visible.  Take care not to burn the bottom of the pan by stirring frequently, and be sure to remove the lid so that the water can evaporate into the air.  

Boil the tomato soup down until 20-25 percent of the liquid has evaporated.  You will end up with a thicker tomato soup that has approximately the same consistency as tomato sauce.

Did you know it is also possible to substitute ketchup for tomato sauce in some cases?  Admittedly it’s not widely recommended, but check out this article on how to do it!

Conclusion

It is possible to save the day and still make great recipes by substituting tomato soup for tomato sauce.  If your recipe calls for tomato sauce plus water, then it’s a cinch.  However if your recipe requires the consistency of tomato sauce, then you’ll need to boil the tomato soup down before adding it to your favorite dish.