What’s the Difference Between Diced, Stewed, and Plum Tomatoes?

They are three of the most common ways to buy tomatoes, but are these three forms of tomato interchangeable?

The Short Answer

While all of these are tomatoes, they are prepared and canned differently. Diced tomatoes are chopped up, stewed tomatoes are chopped and cooked, and plum tomatoes are peeled whole tomatoes.

The Long Answer

Tomatoes are incredibly versatile and they have a home in many different recipes. As you walk down the canned tomato aisle you’ll notice that there’s a lot of variety to choose from. There are diced tomatoes, whole plum tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, and also various different forms such as crushed tomatoes and tomato puree.

Today we’re discussing the first three and what you’ll find when you open these cans.

Let’s start with the largest, the whole plum tomatoes. These are whole tomatoes packed in juice within a can. They are peeled so they come completely skinless, but they still have all of their seeds intact. A lot of people use whole tomatoes in their pasta sauce and crush them in their hands before tossing them in. It’s effective, flavorful, and a lot of fun!

Diced tomatoes are whole tomatoes that were cut up into little tiny pieces and canned in tomato juice. It’s especially useful if you’re making a salsa that requires your tomatoes to be small in size. It saves you a lot of time and potentially a lot of finger cuts!

Stewed tomatoes are tomatoes that have been chopped into small pieces and then cooked. Usually, they have sugar and other seasonings added in for taste.

Now that we know the difference between the three, the big question becomes are they interchangeable? The answer, for the most part, is yes.

If you’ve got whole or stewed tomatoes and you need diced, you can easily get there but some chopping would be required. You can poke scissors or kitchen shears into the can and chop away. If you’re trying to substitute diced or plum tomatoes for stewed tomatoes, that’s going to take a little more work because of the added seasoning involved.

You can season them up with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder and cook them to get that same taste. You can also buy diced tomatoes with flavors already added.

Use diced tomatoes to make cozy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons or a quick Instant Pot Goulash! Or how about turning those canned whole tomatoes into a delicious Homemade Tomato Sauce? The possibilities are endless!

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese and Bacon Croutons

So what kind of tomato do you typically buy? Do you prefer pre-diced veggies or do you like to do the dicing yourself? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know!

They are three of the most common ways to buy tomatoes, but are these three forms of tomato interchangeable? #tomato
They are three of the most common ways to buy tomatoes, but are these three forms of tomato interchangeable? #tomato

Kevin Kessler

Kevin J. Kessler is an experienced professional writer and published author living in Orlando, Florida. With a lifelong passion for food, this sandwich loving Italian boy enjoys exploring unanswered questions about the foods we all know and love so well. Kevin’s foodie lifestyle was born through his love of Walt Disney World and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. A lover of stories, he enjoys trying new dishes from all over the world and learning everything there is to know about where food comes from, how its prepared, and what variations on it exist.