How to make tomato sauce thicker? (3 techniques)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How to make tomato sauce thicker?” with a detailed description of the ways that are followed to make tomato sauce thicker.

How to make tomato sauce thicker?

Whenever you make tomato sauce at home, the major issue that you can encounter is how to thicken up the sauce? Tomato sauce is watery because of the high moisture content of tomatoes and cooking tomatoes releases all the moisture in the sauce. Read this full article and it will help you deal with watery tomato sauce.

The easiest way to thicken your sauce is by adding tomato paste. Store-bought tomato paste contains thick flavor additives and will add a lot of tomato solids into your sauce without adding too much additional liquid. Therefore, the addition of tomato paste can allow you to thicken up your sauce with greater ease. 

However, there is one drawback to using tomato sauce, store-bought tomato sauce comes with its own spices, seasonings, and thickening agents. These additional ingredients can alter the taste of your dish so you might get the consistency that you want, but you might end up with a dish that tastes completely different!

3 techniques to make tomato sauce thicker

The addition of tomato paste to tomato sauce to make the sauce thicker is a very easy way out. However, if you are out of tomato paste and can not run to the market to buy one, don’t worry! certain other ingredients might help you make the sauce thicker, so keep reading for a thorough guide and you will be sure to have atleast one remedy in your kitchen

Add a starch

Starches are long chains of glucose molecules that are used by plants to store energy. Under the heat, they gelatinize, soaking up excess water in the solution.

Cornstarch slurry

It is very helpful in changing the consistency of the sauce but as it is a strong thickening agent, so you should only use less than a teaspoon of cornstarch slurry for a pot of sauce. Also, cornstarch does not have its own taste so, it cannot alter the flavor of your sauce.

To add the cornstarch slurry to your sauce, combine equal parts water and cornstarch and add it to the sauce. Be sure to add a small amount at first and gradually add more to achieve the desired thickness.

Pasta water

Pasta water is rich in starch and works, in the same way, to thicken the sauce as cornstarch.

To add pasta water to your sauce, take a few teaspoons of it and add them to your sauce. At first, the sauce might become more watery, but it will thicken as it simmers.

Mashed potatoes

Potatoes are loaded with starch and it might seem awkward to add mashed potatoes to your watery sauce, but you need to know that they work the same way as cornstarch.

To add mashed potatoes to the watery sauce, peel, boil, and mash potato. You can also add some butter to the mashed potato and it to the sauce. The addition of mashed potatoes to the sauce will result in a slightly sweeter sauce, but it will be thicker and more filling.

Thicken with protein

When proteins are heated, they unfold, exposing hydrophilic moieties that are eager to bind water. There are two frequent protein-based methods used to thicken the watery tomato sauce:

Addition of cheese

The addition of cheese to the sauce is always helpful in thickening the sauce. So, rather than topping the cheese over the sauce, mix it in the sauce. Certain cheeses, such as parmesan, cheddar, and romano are rich in their sodium content, so before adding them to the sauce, you need to know that their addition will make your sauce a bit salty.

Addition of egg yolk

Egg yolks are also a good addition to your watery sauce to make it thicker. But you need to know that you can not add egg yolk directly to the sauce as it will curdle up. Instead, whisk the egg yolk in a half cup of sauce and slowly add to your sauce while continuously whisking the sauce. Simmer the sauce until desired consistency is achieved.

Alter liquids to solids ratio

If you do not want to take any risk for the taste and flavor of your sauce, you can just stick to simmering the sauce on a low flame. Simmering the sauce will help you reduce the water from it and make it thicker. Make sure that you do not put the lid on and stir frequently to prevent the sauce from burning.

You can also add some vegetables such as shredded carrots, celery, peppers, caramelized onion, mushrooms, or diced tomatoes to your sauce. Such addition will add a whole lot of flavor and nutrition to your plain tomato sauce.

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

How to make the hot sauce less hot?

Does Worchester sauce expire?

How good is pasta sauce after opening?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How to make tomato sauce thicker?” with a detailed description of the ways that are followed to make tomato sauce thicker.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.