Full of intense flavor, tomato paste adds umami to everything from sauces to stews to curries.
Does this sound familiar? You open a can of tomato paste. You use two tablespoons of it in the recipe you’re making that night. You spoon the remaining paste out of the can and into a container. (You even carefully scrape down the narrow walls of the can so as to not waste any of it.) You put the container in the fridge and…six weeks later you throw it away.
At least I have done this countless times but it doesn’t have to be that way! Tomato paste is an incredibly versatile ingredient. You can use it in a huge variety of recipes all the way from curries to paprika sauce.
Why is there always tomato paste left over?
Tomato paste packs such intense, concentrated flavor that you only ever need a few tablespoons at most for a recipe. But even the smallest can you can generally find in the store (6 ounces) contains 10 tablespoons of tomato paste. That means you’re almost guaranteed to have a bunch left over after opening a can. So how can you use it? Read on to find out what to do with leftover tomato paste.
How many tablespoons are in a can of tomato paste?
|Can size:||Contains how many tablespoons:|
|6 ounces||10 tablespoons (½ cup plus 2 tablespoons)|
|12 ounces||20 tablespoons (1 ¼ cup)|
How do you store leftover canned tomato paste?
Transfer leftover tomato paste into an airtight plastic or glass container and keep in the fridge for 5 to 7 days. For safety reasons and to preserve taste, don’t store tomato paste in the opened can in the fridge.
How long does tomato paste last in the fridge:
You can store tomato paste in the fridge for 5 to 7 days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. After that you should either use it or freeze it.
How to freeze tomato paste:
If you know you’re not going to use your tomato paste within a few days of opening the can, you can always freeze it. If you do that, I recommend you portion it out so you can use it a tablespoon at a time.
Portion out tablespoon-sized balls of tomato paste and set them on a small baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Pop the sheet in the freezer until the balls are firm, then transfer them into a freezer bag. (TIP: Label the bag with the amount per portion (i.e. 1 tablespoon)). Tomato paste will last about 2 months in the freezer.
How to thaw frozen tomato paste:
As long as you have small individual portions of frozen tomato paste (such as 1 tablespoon each) you can add those frozen directly into what you’re cooking. They will thaw very quickly and there is no need to thaw them beforehand.
Tasty recipes that use tomato paste:
Here are some delicious ideas for what to cook with tomato paste. Each of the recipes below uses between 1 and 4 tablespoons tomato paste.
1. Spicy Smoked Paprika Sauce with Cilantro
Full of spice and flavor, this sauce is great with chicken and rice. Bonus: it’s ready in 12 minutes from start to finish!
2. Thai Chicken Curry
Aromatic spices, fresh vegetables and a coconut pineapple sauce make this Thai curry a flavorful dinner.
3. Chunky Chili
Tender chunks of beef and lots of delicious spices give this chili a lot of flavor and depth.
4. Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Curry
This slow cooked dinner features melt-in-your-mouth tender chicken thighs in a spicy tomato curry sauce.
5. Oven-Baked Spicy Pulled Chicken
Spicy, tangy and dressed in a sweet and sour sauce, this pulled chicken is perfect in a hearty dinner sandwich.
6. Easy Chicken Tikka Masala
Buttery, creamy and full of delicious spices, this classic is flavorful and easy to make.
7. Five-Minute Rosemary Cream Sauce
Creamy and full of flavor from rosemary, tomato and extra dry vermouth, this quick sauce takes dinner to the next level.
8. Jerk Shrimp Pasta
Drenched in a creamy and spicy tomato sauce, this jerk shrimp pasta dish makes a stellar dinner that’s surprisingly easy to make.
9. Spicy Chipotle Cream Sauce
Creamy, tangy, spicy, smoky and delicious, this easy sauce takes chicken breast to a new level.