Crushed tomatoes are my favorite canned tomato. Their sweet and tangy flavor add depth to dishes, providing long-cooked flavor with a lot less time, although further cooking makes them even richer. “Canned crushed tomatoes are somewhere between diced and pureed. The skins are removed during processing, then the tomatoes are crushed and enriched with puree,” ATK’s White writes. The consistency of crushed tomatoes can vary so much between brands — one “may be a chunky mash, while another’s is a nearly smooth puree” — that J. Kenji López-Alt says on Serious Eats he prefers to crush them himself. If that’s more work than you want, check out different brands and see which you like best. Strained tomatoes, such as from Pomi, are a similar, excellent option.
I turn to crushed tomatoes when I want a somewhat fluid, but not watery, sauce, such as in pizza, lasagna and shakshuka. It can incorporate seamlessly into soups, including minestrone, or stews.