How to Thicken Tomato Sauce

How to Thicken Tomato Sauce (The Complete Guide)

Did you put too much water into your tomato sauce and now you want to thicken it? Or have you left it in the refrigerator for a little long while and when you take it out to make use of it, you’re not satisfied with how thick it is anymore? Well, don’t throw it out. You can thicken that watery sauce in so many ways.

In this guide, we’ll you ten ways you can thicken your tomato sauce and still retain its flavor at the same time.

Fair warning: This article also includes the one way you should NEVER try to thicken your sauce.

7 Ways To Thicken Your Watery Tomato Sauce

Here are some healthy ways to think tomato sauce at home easily.

1. Boil the tomato sauce gently

Notice your tomato sauce is now all watery now? Well, just place it on your stove and let it boil very gently. You want to lower the heat so it doesn’t boil too fast. The goal is to let it simmer slower so it can thicken.

Doing this, most of the water in it will evaporate and would leave you with a thicker and still delicious sauce. I’d advise that you don’t place a lid on your pot or pan when doing this.

2. Add Cornstarch

thicken tomato sauce
saucwheat flour and wheat ears

Cornstarch is a pure starch powder that is gotten from corn kernels after all their outer brans and germs have been removed. You can add it to your watery sauce to thicken it. Do not pour the cornstarch directly into your sauce as it is starch and will clump up.

Instead, mix cornstarch with an equal amount of liquid, either water, broth, or even wine, as you please. After mixing, pour the mixture into your sauce, start boiling and stir repeatedly until it thickens.

After it is as thick enough as you want, stop stirring and leave to simmer for three minutes so all the cornstarch in it will cook completely.

3. Add a Roux

Roux is just basically flour and melted fat cooked together. To do this, melt fat in a pan and after it is very melted, add an equal or little lesser amount of flour to it (your flour has to be very smooth. If it isn’t, blend it till it is). If you don’t have fat at home, you can use oil. Repeat the same process as the melted fat and cook till your roux is as brown as you want it.

Once it’s done, let it cool a little, then add it into your watery sauce. You don’t need too much, just a little amount so your sauce doesn’t get any weird taste. Then let it boil till it’s as thick as you want.

4. Add Flour

If you don’t have cornstarch at home, you can use flour in its place. Blend your flour till it’s very smooth, add water, and mix till its thickness is to your preference. Pour the mixture into your sauce and cook over medium heat. You want to leave this to boil for a while so the flour in your sauce is completely cooked.

However, if you have cornstarch and flour at home, cornstarch is always a better option. It has twice the thickening ability of flour because it is starch, and after adding it to your sauce it leaves it thick, shiny, and gives it a more colourless and semi-transparent finish, unlike flour which might give your sauce a somewhat opaque ending.

5. Add Breadcrumbs

Yes, breadcrumbs. Take as many breadcrumbs as you want, toss them into your sauce and leave to boil. You do not need to mix with water as the breadcrumbs would dissolve in the sauce. Leave to boil till it’s as thick as you want, and voila! You have a thickened sauce with added flavour because breadcrumbs will add more flavour and savour to your sauce.

6. Add Vegetables

Boil your vegetables until they’re soft, then blend until very smooth. Add to your watery sauce and let it boil for ten minutes or more if you want it thicker.

Remember to boil your vegetables before you blend as this will allow your blender to do a better job of giving you a perfectly blended and smoother vegetable. And if you don’t want to blend, you can also mash them.

7. Add Tomato Paste

Substitutes For Tomato Paste
Image: Envato Elements

Mix as much tomato paste as you want with little water, then add to your sauce. Let it cook for ten to fifteen minutes. You could also add a little more seasoning to the sauce to give it more taste. If you don’t have tomato paste, you could substitute it for fresh blended tomatoes or canned tomatoes. Remember to boil your fresh or canned tomatoes till it’s thick before then adding to your tomato sauce.

8. Egg yolk

I know this might sound strange but it is a sure thickening agent. The only thing is, it might not be the thickening agent for everyone because of the kind of flavour it adds to your sauce.

Break your egg, put just the yolk into a heated pan and whisk well. After whisking, pour it into your sauce and bring to a boil.

9. Add Mashed Potatoes

Wash your potatoes, peel, and cook them till they’re extremely soft. Then mash them up well in a bowl or in your mortar and pestle. After mashing, pour it into your sauce and stir till it thickens. This is my favorite thickening agent because of how much flavor it adds to the sauce. It also really improves the aroma.

10. Add Meat

Meat is a thickening agent and it makes your sauce more savory. Just ground your beef, turkey, or even pork if you want, and add it into your sauce. Let it simmer for quite a long while because the longer it simmers, the more flavourful it will be.

Wrapping it up

You can also add the water you strain from your pasta and even baking soda to your sauce to thicken.

Now, there are some instances where people try to use salt to thicken the sauce. Salt is NOT a thickening agent. Don’t ever try to use it to thicken your sauce as it will not only leave it still very watery, it will also ruin its taste.

Before your sauce can thicken, it needs to boil for between ten to thirty minutes depending on the type of thickening agent you put in. If you let it boil for less than ten minutes, you’ll still have a watery sauce, and if you let it boil for longer than thirty minutes, you might end up with a burnt sauce. And remember to always choose cornstarch above flour.