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Can You Eat Tomato Paste Raw? Read This!

If you have a well-stocked pantry, you probably have at least one can- or tube- of tomato paste on hand.

Tomato paste is an easy way to add rich, slow-cooked tomato flavor without peeling and processing the tomatoes yourself!

Tomato paste is a rich, red paste made by cooking down tomatoes over a prolonged period to remove water.

The seeds and skins are removed and the result is a dark, concentrated tomato sauce that has been thickened into a rich paste.

Use a tablespoon or two of tomato paste to your dishes- much less than tomato sauce or puree- as it does impart a strong flavor.

Can you eat tomato paste raw?

You can eat tomato paste raw. Tomato paste has been processed and cooked to remove moisture, resulting in a thick, concentrated product. It sustains cooking during the manufacture, and there is nothing unsafe about eating tomato paste raw, or right out of the can or tube. It is recommended, however, that you heat and combine tomato paste with other liquids or fare for a more palatable flavor and taste as it is quite strong and may have a sour aftertaste.

Can You Eat Tomato Paste Raw?
Can You Eat Tomato Paste Raw?

Should you eat raw tomato paste? Keep reading to find out!

Tomato Paste

Do you use tomato paste in your cooking often? 

Tomato paste is basically a very concentrated tomato sauce that has been made by cooking down tomatoes for a long time.

The skins and seeds are strained away, and the tomatoes are cooked even more.

The result is a thick, fiery red paste that imparts a rich, robust, and slow-cooked flavor to whatever you add it to.

Most tomato pastes that you buy in the store do not contain spices or seasonings, besides a bit of salt.

Tomato paste is strong with a sour aftertaste
Tomato paste is strong with a sour aftertaste

Some may contain stabilizers of some kind to ensure the paste doesn’t separate.

The product is then packaged in tiny cans and tubes for culinary use by cooks widely.

You would think that eating tomato paste might taste good, but it really requires the addition of some fat and heat for a palatable flavor.

Since it is so concentrated and tomatoes are so acidic, there is a bit of a sour aftertaste when you eat tomato paste right out of the can.

Warmed with some olive oil, you have a tasty and simple sauce that can be used on anything.

There is nothing unsafe about eating tomato paste raw
There is nothing unsafe about eating tomato paste raw

Tomato Paste vs. Tomato Sauce

Tomato paste is often used in making tomato sauce, giving the sauce a rich, slow-cooked flavor.

Tomato paste is much thicker and more concentrated than a simple sauce.

You can easily make a tomato sauce from a bit of tomato paste and added fat, like olive oil, and heat.

Cooking tomato sauce down, however, does not necessarily result in or double as tomato paste.

Tomato paste can be eaten raw
Tomato paste can be eaten raw

Eating tomato sauce directly out of the can would be more palatable than eating tomato paste in this manner, due to the processing and cooking of each product.

The convenience of tubed tomato paste makes it a must-have in the kitchen pantry.

As long as the container, can, or tube is tightly sealed, unopened, and stored in a cool, dry place, the tomato paste should last for years.

Tomato paste is best heated with other liquids
Tomato paste is best heated with other liquids

Frequently Asked Questions About Can You Eat Tomato Paste Raw

What is tomato paste?

Tomato paste is a thick tomato concentrate that is made primarily of tomatoes that have been cooked for a long time. The skins and seeds are strained before the tomatoes are cooked more, resulting in a thick, red paste. Tomato paste is used to give dishes, recipes, and foods a rich, robust flavor.

Why is tomato paste better for you than raw tomatoes?

The lycopene- a type of carotene- in tomatoes becomes more concentrated when it has been cooked, so tomato paste has a high level of this important nutrient.

Is it safe to eat raw tomato paste?

It is safe to eat tomato paste directly out of the can or tube without heating it. Remember, the tomatoes are cooked when they are processed into paste. Eating tomato paste without heating or preparing it in any way may not taste that great, as it can have a sour aftertaste.

How long do you cook tomato paste?

You can cook and change tomato paste in just a couple of minutes over medium heat. Add fat to a couple of spoons or squirts of tomato paste in a hot pan and stir. The liquid should darken in less than five minutes. Toss with noodles or drizzle on crusty bread.

How do you know when tomato paste is cooked?

Tomato paste is less vibrant red when it has been cooked. It is typically a very bold, bright red color when it is in the can or tube.

Do you add water to tomato paste?

You can add tomato paste to dishes, sauces, and stews to enhance flavor. Since it is so concentrated, you can add water to dilute and turn it into a basic tomato sauce. Add spices and seasonings to this sauce and stir before serving.

How to make homemade tomato sauce less watery?

To thicken a watery tomato sauce, add a spoonful or squirt of tomato paste. If needed, you can also use thickening agents like cornstarch or a roux- made from flour and butter. You may also simply need to simmer the watery sauce a bit longer to thicken it up.

Conclusion About Can You Eat Tomato Paste Raw

So, can you eat tomato paste raw, straight out of the can or tube? Sure, you can- but do you really want to?

Instead, at the very least, heat a bit of oil in a saucepan and add a spoon or squirt of tomato paste.

Stir and season for a light and flavorful pasta sauce in a hurry!

There are so many ways to enjoy and make the most of tomato paste, eating it raw is not one of them- though it is perfectly safe to do so.

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.