The 9 Best Tomatoes to Grow For Paste

Tomato Paste
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You can use any tomato for making a sauce, but starting with paste tomatoes means you'll spend less time reducing them down and ridding them of excess water on the stove. Varietals known for being paste tomatoes boast a more dense, drier flesh and fewer seeds, making them meaty, thick, and ready to turn into a rich sauce to top your favorite pasta.

The texture is only half the battle, though—you also want flavor. Some paste tomatoes can be bland, while others are flavorful enough to do double duty as fresh eating tomatoes. Here are nine sauce-worthy paste tomatoes to try in your garden.

  • 01 of 09

    Amish Paste

    Close-up of an Amish Paste Tomato

    Marie Iannotti

    The Amish paste tomato is an heirloom varietal popular with seed savers. Visually, it’s similar to a Roma tomato, but it boasts a fresher sweet-meets-tangy flavor. Amish paste tomatoes are typically plum-shaped and can plump up to 8 to 12 ounces, so they perform best when staked.

    • Native Area: South America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 1–13
    • Height: 5–7 feet tall
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 02 of 09

    Black Prince

    A black prince tomato

    F. D. Richards/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Originally native to Siberia and Russia, the black prince tomato is a good choice for gardeners in cooler climates. It boasts a long harvest season and has a reputation for producing a lot of fruit, each about three to five ounces in size. In addition to being used in sauce, the black prince tomato can also be enjoyed fresh and its eye-catching purple/black skin makes for a stunning addition to any plate.

    • Native Area: Russia
    • USDA Growing Zones: 1–13
    • Height: 6–9 feet tall
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 03 of 09

    Italian Gold

    A close-up of gold tomatoes

    Marie Iannotti

    It’s always fun to make a sauce out of a non-red tomato and watch the faces at the dinner table. Italian gold tomatoes can help you achieve that jaw-dropping effect. The compact plant boasts clusters of five-ounce pear-shaped fruits, which ripen to a beautiful golden orange shade. They're high in pectin, which makes them nice and thick for canning or freezing, and have a subtle fruity taste you’d expect from a yellow tomato.

    • Native Area: Europe
    • USDA Growing Zones: 1–13
    • Height: 1–6 feet tall
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 04 of 09

    Opalka

    A close-up of Opalka tomatoes

    Marie Iannotti

    This Polish heirloom tomato sports huge clusters of three- to four-inch dense and flavorful fruits that are long and lean in shape. Favored by cooks due to their sweet flavor and practically seedless interior, the vine and foliage of the Opalka tomato can be a bit whispy, so additional support is recommended.

    • Native Area: Europe
    • USDA Growing Zones: 1–13
    • Height: 4–6 feet tall
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Polish Linguisa

    Close-up of Polish Linguisa tomato

    Merrill Johnson/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Another Polish heirloom tomato that deserves praise is the fatter, sausage-shaped Polish linguisa. The plant produces abundant 10-ounce tomatoes that are bright red when ripe and high in sugar. The flesh is dense but less firm than many paste tomatoes, so you'll need a lot of them to make a substantial amount of sauce or paste.

    • Native Area: Europe
    • USDA Growing Zones: 1–13
    • Height: 6–7 feet tall
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 06 of 09

    Principe Borghese

    Close-up of some Principe Borghese tomatoes

    graibeard/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Principe Borghese is an odd little tomato with extremely dry, dense flesh. Because of its low water content, the varietal is often used to create sun-dried tomatoes. Although this tomato does indeed dry beautifully, gardeners in humid areas should not attempt to let them dry on their own, as they will typically mold before they dry. Additionally, Principe Borghese tomatoes make a flavorful paste; keep in mind, you'll need several plants to do so because the fruits, although plentiful, are only one to two ounces each.

    • Native Area: Europe
    • USDA Growing Zones: 1–13
    • Height: 1–6 feet tall
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 07 of 09

    San Marzano

    A close-up of San Marzano tomatoes

    Jim Lukach/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Considered the classic paste tomato, even the canned varieties of San Marzano tomatoes are popular with picky chefs. To be an authentic San Marzano, the tomato has to be grown in San Marzano, Italy (the same way sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it’s grown in the Champagne region of France). In its namesake town, the plants are grown in volcanic soil, which keeps the acid levels low.

    You might not boast those exact growing conditions, but San Marzano tomatoes grown in your own backyard will still make a great paste tomato, featuring a dense (almost dry) and sweet fruit that grows to be about 3 inches long. Low on water and seeds, it does not take long to reduce them down into a thick sauce.

    • Native Area: Europe
    • USDA Growing Zones: 1–13
    • Height: 5–6 feet tall
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 08 of 09

    Saucy

    A close-up of saucy tomatoes

    Marie Iannotti

    The saucy tomato is another compact plant with high yields. The fruits are small (about two to three ounces each) but come in clusters of five or more. Saucy was bred at Oregon State University by Dr. James Bagget from a cross with Roma tomatoes, giving it its meaty flesh and classic tomato flavor. They boast enough juice to be used fresh in something such as salsa and mix well without falling apart.

    • Native Area: North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 1–13
    • Height: 4–6 feet tall
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Sausage

    A close-up of sausage tomatoes

    Jill Clardy/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Aptly named for the shape of its fruits, sausage tomatoes can grow up to five or six inches long each. The red variety has a nice depth of flavor, but there is also a green sausage that ripens green with yellow splotches and has a tangier taste.

    • Native Area: South America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 1–13
    • Height: 1–6 feet tall
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun