I know you’ve been looking for ways on how to thicken the all-time classic tomato sauce, which is a reliable pantry staple. If you come here because you were searching for tips on how to thicken spaghetti sauce, then this post may help you as well. Tomato sauce is one of the 5 French mother sauces and is the foundation of countless tomato-based recipes. Chefs and homemakers use it in many different cuisines all over the world.
However, as majestic as it sounds, tomato sauce isn’t always perfect. If you’ve ever made it from scratch you’ve probably encountered the dreaded watery tomato sauce. It usually happens when the tomatoes aren’t dried or at least drained before cooking and it releases water into the sauce. The question is, how do you fix it?
How to Thicken Tomato Sauce: Complete List
Simmering the sauce for 10-20 minutes more will make it thicker as the liquid evaporates. You must occasionally stir it while it simmers. This is to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. This is one of the options that will not change the taste of the sauce.
This is a good alternate solution if you have an immersion blender. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and use your immersion blender to emulsify the sauce. This will make the tomato sauce thicker and give it a better texture without altering how it tastes.
Add other vegetables.
Tomato sauce doesn’t have to only contain tomatoes. You can also add other vegetables to make it less runny. Puree onions, carrots, pepper, or celery and add to the sauce 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir well until you get your desired consistency. This will not only make your sauce thicker but healthier and more savory too.
Put tomato paste.
It’s best to add the tomato paste at the start of the cooking process. This is so as not to make the sauce taste “paste-y” as it is given enough time to cook with the other ingredients. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons gradually with a few minutes in between until the sauce thickens.
By far this is the easiest way to thicken tomato sauce in my opinion. Begin by making a slurry. A slurry is equal parts of cornstarch and water. Start with 1 tablespoon each, mix well and gradually add to the sauce. Stir well and turn the heat off as soon as the sauce thickens. The slurry might slightly change the taste of the sauce so adjust spices as needed.
Use a roux
You can do this either at the beginning or towards the end of the cooking process. Start by making a roux then gradually adding your tomato sauce. Or simmer your tomato sauce first, then add roux one tablespoon at a time. To make a roux, whisk together equal parts butter and flour on low heat until they are fully incorporated.
You can use store-bought breadcrumbs. You can also make your own by toasting 2 to 3 slices of bread then process into fine crumbs. Bread naturally soak excess water so adding it to your sauce will make it thicker. Add one tablespoon at a time as it may alter the texture of the sauce if you add too much.
Make it cheesy.
This is my go-to method of all time. If you’re a turophile or “cheese lover” like me, you’ll want to try this out if you haven’t already. Adding cheese to tomato sauce will make it not just thicker, but richer and creamier too. Be careful not to add too much (as tempting as it is) because cheese is rich in sodium and can make the sauce too salty.
Butter can make the tomato sauce thicker and give it a silkier texture. Whisk the butter until it’s smooth and has a heavy cream-like consistency. Then add 1 tablespoon of butter for every 1 cup of sauce and stir well.
Add mashed potatoes
Yes, you read that right. Boil 1 to 2 potatoes until they are soft enough to be mashed. Add butter and mash. Gradually add it to the sauce until you get the consistency that you want. It will make the sauce a little sweeter so you may want to adjust your spices.
In the end, it boils down to doing it slowly but surely. Whichever thickener you decide to use, the key is to add it gradually. Then stir and wait a few minutes then repeat until you get your desired tomato sauce consistency. So, which hack do you want to try?
How To Thicken Tomato Sauce: The Organic Way
This is my favorite method. Check this video out. I swear you need to make it for dinner tonight.