The Buyer’s Guide to Tinned Tomatoes

Tinned tomatoes are a versatile store cupboard staple for making pizza and pasta sauces, rich curries and seafood stews. But how should you decide which tinned tomatoes to buy? What makes San Marzano tomatoes so special? And are plum tinned tomatoes really better than chopped? Read our buyer’s guide to discover everything you need to know about the best tinned tomatoes.

What are tinned tomatoes?

Tomatoes are preserved in tins for later use. Once picked, the fruits are preserved with a little salt or sugar, then sealed into a can to capture the fresh flavour. 

Why should I buy tinned tomatoes?

Tomatoes are picked at peak ripeness then preserved right away, meaning they maintain their sweet, slightly acidic flavour. This means you can enjoy the finest tomatoes all-year around, even when fresh tomatoes are out of season. 

Tinned tomatoes are a convenient, versatile ingredient to have on hand in your store cupboard as they can be kept unopened for years and they will still be delicious and safe to eat. 

How to cook with tinned tomatoes?

Tinned tomatoes are incredibly versatile and can be used for making pizza sauces, seafood stews, curries and more! 

Olia Hercules' Fish Balls In Tomato Sauce

Olia Hercules' Fish Balls In Tomato Sauce

These fish balls gently simmer in a simple sauce made of chopped tomatoes and crème fraîche. They’re fantastic served with polenta or couscous.

Frying Pan Pizza

Frying Pan Pizza

You only need one ingredient to make this pizza base sauce - San Marzano tomatoes. The tomatoes’ natural sweetness contrasts the cool, creamy mozzarella cheese. 

Mexican Breakfast Ranch-Style Eggs Huevos Rancheros

Mexican Breakfast Ranch-Style Eggs Huevos Rancheros

Enjoy the mild heat and smoky flavour of the chipotle chilli tomato sauce and  creamy avocado in this classic Mexican breakfast dish.

Bhut Jolokia Lamb Rogan Josh

 Bhut Jolokia Lamb Rogan Josh

Used in moderation, the naga bhut jolokia chilli brings a delicious fruity heat to curries. Use a whole pod to infuse flavour into  the tomato sauce and remove before serving.

Chana Masala Chickpea Curry

Chana Masala Chickpea Curry

Enjoy the  convenience of tinned tomatoes and chickpeas in this easy vegetarian curry, which is full of warming chana masala spice. 

Arroz Negro - Spanish Black Rice

Arroz negro - a glistening, black squid ink paella-style recipe - makes a memorable dish. The slow cooking of the tomatoes together with umami-rich anchovies brings incredible depth of flavour.

Which are the best tinned tomatoes to buy?

Tinned tomatoes come in all varieties, from the famed San Marzano to the vibrant Vesuvian variety. Another  brand we love at Sous Chef is Casa Marrazzo. Dating back to 1934, the small family farm was founded  by Pasquale Marrazzo. His main aim was to preserve the heritage varieties of fruit and vegetables so they didn’t get wasted in the fields when the weather turned. Once picked, the tomatoes are processed following ancient techniques, which  involve adding minimal extra ingredients -  often only salt or sugar.

Italianavera tomatoes are beautifully presented in vibrant tins. This range includes chopped tomatoes, DOP San Marzano tomatoes and Spunzillo tomatoes.

The best tinned tomatoes to buy:

Rega DOP San Marzano Tomatoes

San Marzano tomatoes are Italy’s favourite variety for pizza bases and pasta sauces. Rega San Marzano tomatoes grow in the particularly fertile volcanic soil at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. Bursting with flavour and rich in vitamins, San Marzano tomatoes are a staple for fans of Italian cookery.

Casa Marrazzo DOP San Marzano Peeled Tomatoes with Basil, 420g

Casa Marrazzo’s DOP peeled San Marzano tomatoes with basil make a rich and fragrant sauce, soup or base for bolognese. 

Casa Marrazzo Peeled Yellow Tomatoes in Sauce, 400g

Casa Marrazzo peeled yellow tomatoes in sauce make a rich, sweet and thick base for homemade pizzas, pasta sauces or soups. The tomatoes are packed in juice, which gives them even more flavour and a lovely silky texture.

Casa Marrazzo peeled organic tomatoes are bursting with Mediterranean flavours and also include whole basil leaves. The tomatoes are certified organic and are peeled by hand before being stored in thick tomato juice. Use them to make passata, to top pizza bases or make rich meat ragus.

Italianavera DOP San Marzano Peeled Tomatoes, 400g

Use these peeled tinned tomatoes to make an exceptional passata for pizza bases, or a rich and sweet pasta sauce. Serve simply with black olives, torn basil and black pepper, and let the flavour of these tomatoes speak for themselves.

Italianavera Traditional Peeled Tomatoes, 400g

Italianavera traditional peeled tomatoes are a selection of the best long Italian tomatoes, processed within a few hours of being picked, then immersed in a delicate sauce, allowing the freshness to last even longer. Use them to make shakshuka, sauces or homemade ketchup. 

Italianavera Spunzillo Tomatoes, 400g

Italianavera Spunzillo tomatoes are oval shaped, with a distinctive pointed tip, sweet flavour and juicy texture. Spunzillo is an ancient name farmers gave to Piennolo tomatoes harvested in the Vesuvian area of Italy. Enjoy these tomatoes with burrata, or chop, mix with garlic, basil and olive oil, then serve with crusty bread.

Italianavera Yellow Peeled Tomatoes, 400g

Italianavera yellow peeled tomatoes have a distinctive elongated shape and bright yellow flesh! They make a fun and unusual passata. Alternatively, use them to make a vibrant gazpacho sauce or yellow ketchup.

Italianavera Chopped Tomatoes, 400g

Italianavera chopped tomatoes are peeled, chopped and preserved in tomato sauce, adding even more sweetness.r. Add these tinned tomatoes to beans, carrots and cabbage for a hearty minestrone, or use as a base for a warming aubergine parmigiana. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are San Marzano tomatoes better?

San Marzano tomatoes are Italy’s favourite! San Marzano tomatoes are loved for their thick flesh and sweet flavour. They have a lower water content than other varieties of tinned tomatoes, which makes them a great choice for using in sauces. Find out more about what makes San Marzano tomatoes so special here.

Are tinned plum tomatoes better than tinned chopped tomatoes?

Plum tomatoes and chopped tomatoes are great for different reasons. Chopped tomatoes, as the name suggests, are pre-chopped, which makes them convenient to for adding straight into the pot. . 

Plum tomatoes, and other varieties of peeled tomato such as San Marzano and Spunzillo, are preserved whole. These varieties are fleshier, with less watery seeds - great for pizza bases and pasta sauces.

Shop all tinned tomatoes, and try our best Italian recipes here.


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