Tomato Paste, Purée, Juice, Gravy, Soup, Sauce, Ketchup

Some questions I had when I started cooking that I think other beginners might also have:

What is the difference between tomato ketchup and tomato sauce?
What is the difference between tomato sauce and tomato paste?
What is the difference between tomato paste and tomato puree?
What is the difference between tomato puree and tomato juice?
What is the difference between tomato juice and tomato soup?
What is the difference between tomato soup and tomato puree?

What it is called in one country may be called as something else in another country.  But there is a sure difference in either cooking methods or consistency for each of them.

My thoughts:

tomato juice
churning raw tomatoes in processor until thin liquid.  raw tomatoes and tomato juice is healthy, and can be consumed as is, tastes better with black salt, sugar & chaat masala.  my aunt used to feed my baby sister so many tomatoes her cheeks used to look like tomatoes.

tomato ketchup
raw tomatoes/tomato juice cooked with veggies (like onion/garlic) and several seasonings on low heat then churned and strained to get smooth and thick dropping consistency.  also called tomato sauce by some.  ketchup is what you eat with your fries, burger, pizza, etc.

tomato purée
briefly cooking tomatoes in boiling water until soft, then churning in processor until smooth thick liquid and straining to remove seeds/skin/pulp (optional).  you could cook tomato juice till color changes and use as purée instead, depending on recipe if one can be replaced by another.  different methods of cooking (boiling then churning vs. juicing then cooking) sure bring minor taste differences.  learn how to make tomato puree at home.

tomato soup
cooking tomato purée along with vegetables, herbs, and spices (or cooking these with raw tomatoes and then churning in food processor) until it boils and becomes medium-thick liquid.  drizzling heavy cream over it, throwing in a few croutons, and garnishing with a mint leaf - this is the most basic and favorite soup in the world.

tomato sauce
cooking the tomato purée until a thicker, chunkier consistency.  different herbs, spices, vegetables may be added and left as chunks instead of churning, such as making the basic marinara sauce for pizza or pasta.  do you notice the difference between tomato ketchup and tomato sauce now?

tomato gravy
cooking either tomato juice or tomato purée along with veggies like onion/garlic/ginger/green chilies, some spices and herbs and making a thin/thick tomato gravy base to which variety of vegetables or paneer, etc can be then added and cooked further.

tomato paste
tomato juice cooked with optional minimal ingredients like garlic, chili powder, etc for flavoring, and salt & lemon juice for preserving, until thick concentrated paste.  this tomato paste can further be used for tomato gravy or sauce by adding water until appropriate consistency.

Your thoughts?

The comment box is open only for discussion.  Please avoid sole comments like 'good post', 'informative post', etc that don't add any value to the post.


  1. loved this useful and detailed post Nisha.nice thought..but you missed tomato concasse ,include that also..

    1. Thanks Anjana! I have no idea about tomato concasse, hearing it from you first time. I'll try to understand what it is, then add it in here. Thanks :)

  2. tomato in its various avatars- nice post

  3. This is great analysis dear. Perfect for the 20 questions that will be following me in the kitchen tomorrow. Oh God why does she not have homework? I am going make something that can be classified as a mess.

  4. NISHAaaaaa... good post.. i didn't know the difference between all of these. it's good to know since we use tomatoes so much in Indian food.

    1. Thanks! From Indian curries to Italian sauces, tomatoes are used so much in every cuisine that's why I wanted to understand the differences :)

  5. I kind of believed that Ketchup and sauce are the same... now I know the difference.

    I googled Concasse out of curiosity, I realised I've seen it on some food show on TV. I don't think it belongs to this group since it's like a method to chop... like we say... julienne ginger we can say tomato concasse... :)

    1. :)
      I hadn't got time to search about it. Just did after your comment. You're right :)

  6. nice information with great explaination

  7. Yes but as in many things preperation is key. A fruit can bruise in a little over a minute... does this not change the flavor? So do some say the methods too change flavors. Be they grated, chopped, diced, minced, blended, or juiced all to affect flavor in what is belived to be the most positive manner. So... pick between Garlic bread with butter or "Garlic butter"ed bread? I'd include concasse and other variants at least in a "Others" group. And people who never heard of them would learn something! ;-)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.