Will Tomato Sauce Thicken As It Cooks?

These additives will help your tomato sauce become thicker:

  • add oil The sauce will spontaneously thicken by emulsifying (incorporating the oil and other ingredients) with a little olive oil and a few pulses of an immersion blender. A little oil will also contribute to a smoother texture.
  • Include more vegetables. Nobody ever claimed that tomato sauce could only include one type of vegetable in it. Your one-note sauce will become a symphony of flavours when you add some ground carrots or caramelised onions to the mix, thickening the sauce in the process.
  • Place the paste on. The simplest way to give your thin homemade sauce a thicker consistency could be to add some readymade tomato paste to it. However, this may seem like a bit of a cheat. Don’t panic; the sauce will undoubtedly keep its appearance of being fresh from the garden. Simply consider the use of tomato paste as a small addition of a beneficial ingredient.

Try incorporating your homemade, garden-fresh tomato sauce into a family-friendly dish like meatloaf or chilli, or just serve it over spaghetti, once it has been cooked to perfection.

Tomatoes are connected to sweet peppers and potatoes, despite their appearance. Each one of them belongs to the nightshade family.

Thicken Tomato Sauce FAQ

The simplest method for thickening tomato sauce is to let it simmer on low heat in a stock pot without a lid until it reaches the desired consistency. Plus, the longer it cooks, the richer, creamier, and more flavorful it gets.

You may reduce anything in the slow cooker, whether it contains only liquid or a complete meal, by taking off the cover and raising the heat during the final 30 to 60 minutes of cooking. If you’re making a dish again after it came out a bit too thin the first time, prop the lid open slightly throughout the entire cooking process and allow an additional few minutes to account for the longer cooking time.

To reduce the amount of liquid in a sauce, you can either simmer it on low heat longer or add a thickening agent. The starches in cornstarch, potato starch, and other flours can be mixed into a slurry and used to thicken sauces, however tomato sauces cannot be thickened with these because of the acid in tomatoes, which breaks down the starches.

In a pinch, you may thicken your tomato sauce by adding a can of tomato paste. It’s a little bit of a cheat, but it gets the job done and barely alters the flavour at all.

If there is just too much broth present, think about simply scooping some out, placing it in a jar or container, and freezing or refrigerating it for use in a future recipe. When working with blended soups, such as tomato soup, just reduce the heat to low, take the cover off the pot, and let the soup simmer for about an hour. The soup will become thicker as some of the liquid evaporates.

How can tomato sauce be thickened?

Sauce that is too thin is not rubbish. It is like a canvas waiting to have life painted on it. All you will probably need to do is put the red sauce in a pan or skillet and let it simmer, whether you make it from scratch or pour it out of a can.

To ensure that you have a great, thick tomato sauce on your hands, we are offering you a number of options.

Let It Simmer

The simplest way to reduce the sauce’s liquid content is to let it simmer on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Simmer for anything from 10 to 45 minutes, or until the desired consistency is reached. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

Slow Cooker

This technique is a very easy trick! Transfer the mixture to a small crockpot and cook it for a few hours if you have the patience to wait for it to thicken. While cooking for up to 4 hours, stir continuously.

Tomato Paste

Add some tomato paste if you have a can on hand to the mixture! One of the easiest ways to increase sauce thickness and flavour is to do it this way. On the stovetop, stir and simmer for 5 minutes, or until thoroughly blended and heated.

Another excellent method to provide a chunky texture without significantly changing the flavour is to add a straightforward tomato puree.

Marinara Sauce

The addition of marinara sauce will instantly thicken the mixture and give it a powerful taste character. Making a batch of homemade marinara will be well worth the effort if you have a few additional minutes.

Corn Starch Slurry

A simple method for fast thickening sauce is to add a cornstarch slurry. Simply blend 1/4 cup each of water and cornstarch in an equal ratio. Stir into the sauce after smoothing with a whisk.

The use of starches should only be considered as a last resort because they may cause lumps in a sauce composed entirely of tomatoes.


Roux is a fat-and-flour thickening agent that commonly uses butter, though other oils may be substituted. Warm up 1/4 cup of butter in a different pan or skillet over medium heat. All-purpose flour should be added in equal amounts and whisked until smooth.

Stir the addition into the sauce until everything is mixed and heated. When you also want to get a thick consistency and flavour, this is a fantastic way.

It should be noted that adding starchy elements could result in lumps in a sauce made only of tomatoes.

Will simmering tomato sauce cause it to thicken?

If your spaghetti sauce is too thin, use any of the following techniques to thicken it to the right consistency before adding cooked pasta:

  • 1.Add a drizzle of heavy cream: Remove the pan from the heat and add a drizzle of heavy cream, a spoonful or two of cream cheese or crême friche, or freshly grated cheese, such as aged Parmesan, to increase the creaminess of your sauce. After fully incorporating, return to low heat to let the sauce to simmer for as long as necessary.
  • 2. Add egg yolks: An excellent approach to replicate the rich, creamy flavour of carbonara sauce is by adding egg yolks to the spaghetti sauce. You must temper the yolks in a separate basin to prevent scrambling. Give the yolks tiny spoonfuls of the heated sauce so they can become used to the new temperature. The yolk-sauce combination should then be gradually added back into the main saucepan while being stirred to combine.
  • 3. Add ground beef: Adding solids that improve the flavour of any red sauce, such ground meat, is one of the easiest methods to thicken it. A half-pound of ground beef or premade meatballs will give your tomato sauce the substantial solidity of a meat sauce like Bolognese. When the protein is cooked through but still juicy, break up the meat with a spatula or wooden spoon, return it to the pot, and let the sauce simmer.
  • 4.Add a scoop of leftover mashed potatoes: Add a few tablespoons of leftover mashed potatoes to your sauce at a time, stirring thoroughly in between additions, if you have any in the refrigerator. After letting the potatoes absorb the extra liquid, simmer the sauce for a sufficient amount of time to cook away the sauce’s starchy flavour. Before serving, taste the food and make any necessary spice adjustments.
  • 5.Simmer and reduce: Allowing a sauce to simmer and decrease over low heat is one of the finest methods to thicken it. Reducing won’t change the original sauce recipe in any way, but it will require more cooking time than other techniques.
  • 6.Add flour: While roux or a slurry (equal parts starch and water) can be useful with a red sauce, starch is typically the primary component in white cream sauces. Save cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch, or arrowroot starch for a 1:1 slurry and use all-purpose flour for roux.
  • 7.Add additional tomato paste or tomato sauce: You can use a tablespoon or two of canned tomato paste or one fourteen-ounce can of tomato sauce to thicken a fresh tomato sauce. Both enhance the sauce’s rich tomato flavour and slightly thicken it. After either addition, continue the reduction.

Does spaghetti sauce get thicker during cooking?

To thicken your spaghetti sauce, we advise using a roux or starchy pasta water.

Because there is too much liquid and (often) not enough starch, your pasta sauce won’t thicken.

As long as you let the spaghetti sauce simmer after adding the pasta water, adding pasta water can thicken the sauce.

Does simmering cause a sauce to thicken?

In slow-simmered ragus or pan sauces, the simplest method to thicken a sauce is to decrease the liquid in a pot on the stove.

A ragu is often made by simmering browned meat in wine or stock to bring out the flavours. The liquid starts out weak and watery, but as the water evaporates, it thickens up and coats each piece of meat perfectly.

The same idea can be used for any sauce reduction:

  • Until the sauce has the consistency you prefer, simmer it in a sauce pot.
  • Keep the saucepan uncovered so that any extra liquid can evaporate.
  • To avoid curdling or sauce separation, don’t boil the liquid.
  • Remember that simmering brings out the flavours of the sauce. You may wish to use less salt (or low-sodium broth) depending on how long the sauce is reduced in order to prevent the mixture from tasting overly salty.
  • To stop sauces from splattering everywhere, you may buy a spatter guard.

This approach works well for:

  • Tomato-based sauces, such as curry, meat sauces, and marinara
  • Braising liquids and pan sauces
  • BBQ sauces and glazes (balsamic or honey soy).
  • lowering the amount of heavy cream to make a thicker base sauce for pizza or spaghetti

How long should tomato sauce thicken?

A tomato-based sauce can be thickened most quickly and easily by allowing it to decrease over a period of several hours. To accomplish this, simmer tomato sauce in a pot on the stovetop for about six hours. Chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education Christopher Arturo explains that six hours not only produces the ideal consistency but also gives the natural sugars time to release and caramelise. Any sauce can be reduced in water content by simmering it for a long time because tomatoes naturally contain a lot of water. The water will gradually but surely evaporate throughout this period, leaving a thicker, flavorful sauce behind.

If you don’t have enough time one day, you can always start the marinara sauce-making procedure and finish it the next day after further reducing it for many hours. Arturo stresses the significance of using non-reactive cookware and avoiding copper or aluminium saucepans since they can impart a metallic flavour to any sauces while cooking or reheating them.

How can a watery sauce be fixed?

Flour is the most widely accessible sauce thickening. Try adding a beurre manie (equal parts softened butter and flour, kneaded together to produce a paste) or a slurry (equal parts flour and water, whisked together) to a too-thin sauce. Both are excellent thickeners for rich and creamy sauces, such as steak sauce recipes. (We also employ this technique to thicken stew!) Two tablespoons of flour should be used for every cup of liquid as a basic rule of thumb. Start by adding a small amount, then heat it while stirring for a few minutes to give the sauce time to thicken and cook off the taste of raw flour; if the results are insufficient, add more. Another flour-based thickener is a roux, which is equal parts flour and butter whisked and cooked together over heat. However, roux is typically used as a building block in the early stages of sauce-making, so if your sauce is already prepared, it’s not a fantastic cure.