How to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce (7 Easy Ways)

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No more runny spaghetti sauce! Learn 7 easy tips and tricks to thicken too-thin spaghetti sauce and save your pasta meal!

spaghetti on white plate

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For many of us, there are few things more comforting than a warm bowl of spaghetti with a thick, hearty sauce. But if your sauce turns out to be too watery, it can be a bit of a downer.

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to thicken up your runny spaghetti sauce and make it the perfect consistency. In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the process of thickening your spaghetti sauce step-by-step.

How to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce

If your pasta sauce is watery or it’s just a thin sauce that you would rather be a little bit thicker, there are a few options you can use to get a thicker sauce. 

Simmer with the lid off 

Simmering the sauce with the lid off will allow the sauce to thicken on its own. It’s especially important to leave the lid off so some of the liquid evaporates and helps thicken the sauce.

Simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is the desired consistency. This simple trick may be all you need to do to thicken your sauce, but if that doesn’t work, just try one of the following easy methods.

Add tomato paste 

Tomato paste is a concentrated tomato product that adds a lot of flavor and body to the sauce, and it can also help to thicken the sauce. Start by adding 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and stirring it into the sauce. Cook the sauce for an additional 10 minutes and adjust the amount of tomato paste as needed. 

Add a cornstarch slurry

Adding a small amount of cornstarch is an easy way to thicken a watery sauce. Combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Stir the mixture until the thickening agent is dissolved, then add it to the spaghetti sauce. Simmer the sauce for a few minutes until it thickens.

Add a roux

Add flour and butter roux to your sauce. You’ll need equal parts flour and butter. Just melt your butter in a pan and slowly add in the flour, a little at a time.

Mix as you add the flour and continue mixing until it has a thick, creamy consistency. Then, slowly add the roux to the sauce, stirring slowly and constantly until it reaches the desired consistency.

Add meat or vegetables 

For a thick spaghetti sauce, add ground meat like ground beef or Italian sausage. This will give your sauce a richer flavor and a thick texture. Just cook your meat in a separate pan first so you can drain out the fat, or else you’ll be adding more liquid, and you won’t be fixing your problem of having too much liquid.

You can also add vegetables to thicken the texture of your sauce. Adding additional ingredients will help make the sauce bulkier and soak up excess liquid. A starchy vegetable like mashed potatoes is actually the best option to add when it comes to vegetables. Yes, I said mashed potatoes! This is my preferred method, but only if you already have some leftover mashed potatoes handy. Otherwise, it’s not worth the extra effort.

Add parmesan cheese

For a thicker consistency in your sauce, you can add grated parmesan cheese. The kind that you find in the pasta sauce aisle at your grocery store, in the shaker container, works best for this. Not only does it help you achieve a thick consistency, but it also improves the flavor of your sauce.

Cook your pasta in the spaghetti sauce

This is a great way to thicken spaghetti sauce or really any sauce for pasta dishes. Add your dry, uncooked pasta to your sauce without any extra liquid.

The sauce will cook the pasta, and the starch from the pasta will thicken that soupy spaghetti sauce. It won’t change the taste of the sauce or require any added ingredients or any more liquid content. Plus, this simple method makes cooking your whole meal easier! 

Reasons Spaghetti Sauce Gets Runny

There are several reasons you could end up with watery spaghetti sauce. 

  • Too much water or broth was added to the sauce. The amount of liquid you add to your sauce makes a big difference in the thickness of the sauce. If you didn’t add any broth or water, keep in mind that using canned tomatoes will add liquid to your sauce unless they are drained completely first.  
  • The sauce was boiled for too long. High heat for an extended cooking time will make the sauce more liquid. To thicken, use the simmer method.
  • The tomatoes in the sauce were overripe. Tomatoes can hold a lot of water, especially as they continue to ripen. Make sure your tomatoes are fresh or canned and drained well. 
  • The sauce was not cooked down long enough. Remember to simmer as long as needed to reduce the sauce to a thicker consistency. 




Its easy! I will show you how.

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