The Real Difference Between Crushed Tomatoes And Diced Tomatoes

Although tomato-based dishes are popular year-round, out-of-season tomatoes are flavorless, and often you are going to be better off using canned ones, rather than bland greenhouse-grown tomatoes. But, the sheer number of types of canned tomatoes can be confusing.

If you are making a pasta sauce from scratch, a trip down the canned vegetable aisle of the grocery store will make it abundantly clear that there are a wide variety of canned tomatoes. They come whole, with garlic and seasonings added, diced, crushed, cubed, and in seemingly a dozen other varieties.

But what is the difference between crushed and diced tomatoes?

Diced tomatoes are cut-up tomatoes which are canned in tomato juice so that they don't dehydrate (via Food Network). The ingredients are the exact same as whole canned tomatoes, except for the fact that they've already been cut up, so using them is helpful if you are short on time.

What are crushed tomatoes?

Crushed tomatoes, on the other hand, are a combination of diced tomatoes and tomato paste, or puree.

Tomato paste is a concentrated version of tomato sauce (via Eating Well). It's made by cooking tomatoes with the skin and seeds removed over a low heat for a long time so that the water evaporates. As a result, you have a dense, intensely-flavored paste used to flavor dishes, hence the name.

Due to the addition of tomato paste, crushed tomatoes are thicker than diced tomatoes, and are a less-cooked tasting substitute for tomato sauce (via Epicurious).

If your recipe calls for crushed tomatoes, and your local grocery store is out of stock, or you're feeling rather crafty, you can make them on your own. Martha Stewart recommends boiling tomatoes until the skin peels off easily, let them cool, then pulse in a food processor.