Tomato sauce has a nutritional value and is rich in vitamins like vitamin C and health-benefiting minerals like iron, manganese, etc. Tomato sauce is a vital component of many Italian dishes, especially pasta and pizza. However, this page on how to thicken tomato sauce will help you get the best out of your tomato sauce if it ever gets watery.
Tomato sauce does not have to be smooth and silky to taste good. When it comes to texture, however, many people prefer a thicker sauce. There are many ways to thicken tomato sauce, depending on what you have available and how long you have to cook it.
To thicken a sauce, simmer the mixture for an extended period of time. The heat combined with the constant stirring allows for the reduction of the liquid without altering its taste. You can use this technique to thicken tomato sauce, too.
However, you will learn some other ways you can thicken the tomato sauce below.
How to thicken tomato sauce?
Simmering your tomato sauce is a simple way to thicken it; as the temperature of the sauce increases, the water and sugars released from the tomatoes rise to the surface. To achieve thick tomato sauce, simmer for 20-30 minutes.
However, you can use any of the following to thicken your tomato sauce.
The easiest and fastest way to thicken tomato sauce is with flour. Simply make a slurry with 1-2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and ¼ cup of cold water. Whisk your flour slurry into the simmering sauce and wait for it to thicken at least 3-5 minutes.
Thickening with flour is certainly one of the quickest and easiest ways to thicken a sauce, gravy, or soup. If you’re making a sauce and don’t have time to thicken it on the stovetop, then you can use flour.
Also, rather than using cornstarch or other ingredients to thicken your tomato sauce, use flour. If your recipe calls for this ingredient, you may find that you do not need to thicken the mixture at all. It is also easier for people with gluten sensitivities to consume products made with wheat or regular flour.
Cornstarch is a natural thickening agent made from the endosperm of corn. It’s twice as strong as other thickeners, so you only need half as much, has no flavor, and mixes easily into sauces, gravies, and soups.
Using cornstarch is an easy way to thicken the sauce. Dissolve 1 tbsp (11 g) of cornstarch in 3 tbsp (44 mL) of cold water and stir until it makes a smooth paste. Then, pour the cornstarch mixture into the sauce that you want to thicken and cook for about 1 minute.
If you have tomato paste, for every cup of sauce, you can add three tablespoons of tomato paste. To avoid lumps, use your whisk to break down the thicker paste and then slowly add it to your sauce.
If you have a can of tomato paste, mix it with a few spoonfuls of water to thin it out and stir it into your sauce in small batches. This will also add some depth of flavor and color, enhancing your dish in every way.
If tomato paste is all you have, don’t worry. It is easy to thicken tomato sauce with a tomato paste, so your whole dish isn’t ruined. You’ll need a few other ingredients on hand like water or broth, vegetable oil, and herbs.
Reduce the liquid
Thickening tomato sauces can be accomplished by cooking the liquid evaporating the water. This is done by one of 3 techniques: increasing the temperature, adding a thickening agent, or blending tomato solids into the sauce.
Reducing the liquid through evaporation will increase the viscosity (thickness) of your homemade tomato sauce.
Swirl in a pat of butter
Swirl in a pat of butter to thicken tomato sauce. The fat in the butter fills in the holes in the water molecules, thickening the sauce. If your sauce is just a little too watery, try adding a pat of butter. Swirl it continuously until the butter is melted and your sauce is as thick as you want it.
Adding a pat of butter to tomato sauce helps give it an extra-velvety finish. The acids in the tomatoes will cause the fat molecules in the butter to separate from the water molecules, thickening the sauce. For an even more velvety sauce, try adding 3–4 tablespoons of heavy cream.
Add an egg yolk
For a thicker sauce, remove a little bit of the sauce and add an egg yolk. Return the yolk-sauce combination to the pan and heat while stirring. Adding an egg yolk retards the evaporation of liquid in the tomato sauce. It’s a great trick that gives your sauce a thicker, silkier texture.
Puree some vegetables
You can try pureeing some vegetables or tomato paste into the sauce for a thicker sauce. First, heat your veggies, then keep them in a food processor until they’re completely reduced to a fine paste. Add the paste in small increments to your sauce, stirring thoroughly.
If you want to thicken tomato sauce without adding too many calories, puree some of your favorite vegetables and add them to the tomato sauce. You can also combine winter squash, carrots, and tomatoes for a delicious puree, which will add color to dishes.
How to thicken tomato soup?
To thicken tomato soup, add cornstarch or flour to the soup. This can be done by mixing two tablespoons of flour with 1/4 cup of water, then adding it to the soup and simmering for a few minutes. For a creamier soup, mix 1 cup of heavy cream with two tablespoons of flour and 1/4 cup of water before simmering for 10 minutes in the soup.
Also, if your tomato soup is too thin, you can thicken it in a few different ways. You can whisk flour into the soup or mash up some of the potatoes with a fork. You can also make a slurry by combining water with cornstarch and whisking it into the soup until thickened.
In addition, you can also use milk or cream, sherry vinegar or sherry cooking wine, add diced potatoes or rice, or use crushed crackers. It all depends on what flavor you want to add and how you want the texture of your tomato soup to be in the end.
How to thicken spaghetti sauce?
Thickening spaghetti sauce need not be complicated. It can be done in different ways. The first thing to keep in mind is that a starch-based thickener should always be added after the sauce is fully cooked and before it is removed from heat. This is to avoid extensive cooking of the starch, which would result in an undesirable flavor and texture.
The most common starches are flour, cornstarch, rice flour, and potato starch. Adding them to cold liquids tends to clump, so they must be mixed with a small amount of cold water or milk so that they can be easily blended into the sauce by stirring.
Another way to thicken sauces is by using a roux, which consists of butter and flour, cooked over heat until it thickens and has a nutty aroma. A slurry is another method used for instant thickening purposes without overwhelming development of flavor; it consists of equal amounts of warm liquid (preferably the same as used in the sauce) and starch.
You can also reduce the liquid, sometimes by simmering with an uncovered pot during preparation or simmering on low heat towards the end of cooking for a longer period of time with a covered pot; just remember to stir occasionally.
How do you make sauce thicker?
The easiest way to make a sauce thicker is by simmering. The more you simmer, the more liquid will evaporate and the thicker the sauce will become. You may also reduce the liquid with a roux or beurre manié, which are flour and butter pastes. Other ways to thicken sauces include adding starches such as cornstarch or potato starch.
There are many ways to thicken the sauce, from using flour and water to create a slurry to cornstarch or xanthan gum. Sauce thickening can be achieved in a few different ways. Depending on the ingredients available, you can thicken a sauce with cornstarch or flour, with potato starch, by reducing the liquid, or even with pureed vegetables.
Can I add flour to thicken tomato sauce?
Yes. You can add flour to thicken tomato sauce. Tomato sauces can be thickened with a variety of starches, like flour, cornstarch, breadcrumbs, and egg yolk. Adding 1 tsp of flour to a hot saucepan with 1 tsp of fat (or oil) and whisking until the mixture turns golden brown will help thicken a tomato sauce. This method is called a roux and can be used for a plethora of different sauces and gravies.
Technically you can, not recommended. By coating the tomato pieces, the flour will cause it to lose its wonderful acidic taste and make it starch and bland, thus defeating the purpose of making the tomato sauce in the first place.
How do you reduce liquid in a sauce?
One way is to add some flour and whisk the mixture, letting it cook for one minute or until the desired consistency is reached. Another might be making sure your pan has adequate heat so that the water evaporates faster (this can be done by adding oil before cooking).
An even more effective method would take care of all three problems at once: adding vegetable stock instead of chicken broth would reduce the liquid in less time because its flavor concentrates more quickly than water does.
How can I thicken a sauce without flour or cornstarch?
Cornstarch is the most common thickening agent used in the industry. It’s great because it’s so effective: as little as two teaspoons can thicken a whole cup of liquid into a gel. However, there are some downsides to cornstarch.
If a recipe uses more than a tablespoon or two of cornstarch, it often bends sauce out of shape by giving it an odd flavor and slippery or mushy texture.
It depends on what sort of sauce you want to thicken. Sauces come in two basic types: Stock-based, such as soups and stews, and butter or cream-based sauces like tiny dot (white), bechamel, and bearnaise.
For stock-based sauces, one can reduce the sauce to thicken it; just simmer it on a very low heat for 20 to 60 minutes (depending on how thick you want it to get). You will lose some of your liquid this way, but that’s ok because you probably have too much liquid anyway.
For butter or cream-based sauces, try adding a roux (equal parts by weight butter and flour) or just try adding some heavy cream.
How to thicken pasta sauce?
The easiest way to thicken pasta sauce is by mixing cornstarch with some water and adding it to the sauce. Once added, let it sit for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. But make sure there’s enough liquid in the saucepan. If it’s dry, add more water or broth first.
Also, you can stir in flour if you have a few minutes or if you’re using a cream-based sauce. For example, if your sauce is an alfredo sauce that contains milk or heavy cream, you can add flour to help it thicken. Begin by adding one teaspoon (2.8 grams) of all-purpose flour to the sauce and stirring until it is well combined.
How do you thicken spaghetti sauce?
There are many ways to thicken your spaghetti sauce. The first is to simmer the sauce a bit longer. If you simmer the sauce uncovered, some of the liquid will evaporate, and the sauce will become thicker.
The second method is to add 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch by whisking it in some water (about 1/4 cup warm water for every tablespoon of cornstarch). Cornstarch is a very useful ingredient for thickening when heat is applied, but it should not boil in order to achieve its thickening power.
And, always make sure that when you add cornstarch or flour to your sauce, you allow it to cook for about 5 minutes before serving. Otherwise, it has an unpleasant starchy taste and mouthfeel.
Thick and zesty spaghetti sauce mix
The Thick and zesty spaghetti sauce mix is a delightfully zesty yet mild whole-grain spaghetti sauce. It is thick but not too heavy or bold and can be made in a matter of minutes with simple kitchen cupboard ingredients like tomato powder and spices.
Hearty and zesty with a touch of heat and a pinch of herbs, the Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix is your ticket to a great pasta sauce. Perfect for topping over spaghetti or as a filling for lasagna, ravioli, or other pasta dishes. You’ll savor the authentic Italian flavor in every tasty bite.
How to heat up pasta sauce?
Reheat in a saucepan over low heat, add a little extra water to thin it out as needed. Stovetop heating is more gentle than microwaving and preserves the bright red color of your pasta sauce better than microwaving will. How long does jar pasta sauce last after opening? Most pasta sauces are best within ten days of opening.
Also, you can microwave the sauce on medium heat for around 5 minutes or so, occasionally stirring to ensure an even temperature. You can also heat it up on the stovetop in a pot with a lid and some added water until bubbling hot.
Too much baking soda in tomato sauce
Will adding baking soda to tomato sauce make it thicken? Baking soda is an alkaline substance used in baking. It reacts with acidic substances, such as tomato sauce, to neutralize its acidity. Adding a small amount of baking soda when cooking tomato sauce will make it thicken without adding any flavor.
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is found in many recipes to provide a fizzy and fluffing effect. When the soda reacts with an acidic ingredient such as tomatoes, carbon dioxide gas is released, which will thicken tomato sauce. Test the results by adding more baking soda if needed.
How to make tomato sauce thicker without paste?
If you’re making tomato sauce and you don’t have tomato paste on hand, there are plenty of replacements that can help thicken the sauce. You can use fresh tomatoes, mashed carrots, pureed vegetables, even tomato-flavored bouillon.
Also, you can add a splash of milk when the sauce is nearing its finish. Milk is an effective thickening agent, especially for cream-based sauces. If you do use milk, be sure to cook the sauce on low heat, so the milk doesn’t curdle.
Yes, you can use breadcrumbs to thicken the sauce. Try using a simple roux, employing equal parts of butter and flour. Whisk these into the sauce, and you will have a delicious thickened sauce without having to open up a new package of flour that may sit in your pantry.
The secret is that breadcrumbs absorb liquid, making them excellent thickeners. They also enhance the texture of sauces. For best results, we recommend using toasted (panko) breadcrumbs.
In fact, you can toast any type of breadcrumb to improve its flavor and texture. To do so, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add ½ cup of fresh or thawed frozen breadcrumbs and stir until lightly browned.
How do you know when thickening is complete?
It is difficult to tell how thick a food will be after thickening. The thickness or hardness of starch varies with its granular size, the cooking method, and the amount of time cooking. The ratio of liquid is also very important.
In general, foods should be removed from heat before they are at their desired consistency because the food will continue to thicken after it is removed from heat. For example, stews and sauces will continue to thicken even as they cool.
Also, for most sauces and batters, the product is thick enough when it coats the back of a spoon. Another way to test for the thickness of a sauce or batter: Cut off a small piece of white bread and dip it in the pot.
Which is better for thickening flour or cornstarch?
Cornstarch is a better choice for thickening gravies, soups, and stews. In general, you want to avoid using long cooking times with roux, as a heavy flour taste will linger. Cornstarch is a great option for thickening liquids because it won’t change the flavor of a sauce or gravy, and it won’t separate as flour does in liquid.
However, the answer depends on what you’re making and your personal preference. Cornstarch thickens more quickly than flour and doesn’t clump up when slowly stirred into a liquid. But it’s also harder to dissolve. It should be mixed with cold water before being added to a hot liquid.
Also, flour makes a great thickener for sauces, soups, or other dishes that will cook for a while. It’s the best choice for gravy, and the result is a smooth sauce that won’t separate when reheated. Cornstarch is better for freezing since it tends not to break down like flour does during the freezing process.
Does boiling thicken sauce?
Yes, boiling a sauce will thicken it. It works because the sauce is a suspension of tiny bits of butterfat, egg white, and wheat flour particles. As you boil it, water boils away, and those particles get closer and closer together until they fuse and form a gel.
The boiling process of sauces has a major shrinking effect on foods, so it might seem logical that the reverse is true; boiling will thicken a sauce. However, boiling doesn’t actually thicken a sauce or give it body.
Should I stir while simmering?
No, stirring will make it hard for you to gauge the heat of your liquid, which is important when simmering.
Stirring often is necessary when sautéing, frying, and browning, but it can be unnecessary when making stovetop stews, chili, and risotto.
When searing meat for stew, you may want to turn the meat a few times. But once the liquid comes up to a simmer and you cover the pot, you do not have to stir until the food has cooked through.
Can you freeze tomato sauce?
Yes, you can freeze tomato sauce. If you want to freeze the sauce for longer than two months, go ahead and keep it in the freezer. The general rule of thumb is that you can store tomato sauce in the freezer for up to four months.
There are several reasons you might want to freeze tomato sauce. Perhaps you made a double batch of a recipe and have too much. Or maybe you returned from the grocery store with a few extra cans or jars of tomato sauce.
Frequently asked questions
Is onion paste a thickening agent?
Yes, onion paste is a thickening agent. It will give your soup a better body and is good for a creamy or silky appearance.
Why is my tomato sauce watery?
Some of the most common reasons tomato cooking sauces are watery are Too much liquid or juice in the tomatoes—a lack of quality time cooking, which usually results in watery sauce and unmelted, grainy cheese.
You can fix this problem by cooking it over low heat for a long time period. This helps water evaporate, and as a result, you’ll have a thicker sauce.
Can you use crackers to thicken soup?
Crackers are generally denser than bread crumbs and can be used to thicken soups. One way to do this is crumbling crackers over the surface of your soup, letting it rest for a few minutes, then stirring it in.
How do you thicken soup without a roux?
The secret to thickening a soup without a roux is cornstarch. Just mix a slurry, which is cornstarch whisked with water (about one tablespoon of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of water for every cup of liquid you want to thicken), add it to the soup, and boil for about two minutes.
Is honey a thickening agent?
Yes, honey is a thickening agent and can be used as a substitute for corn syrup in recipes. However, not everyone can use it, especially those with gluten allergies. Honey contains proteins and alpha-amylase enzymes that are used for their gelling and stabilizing properties.
Is lemon juice a thickening agent?
Lemon juice is not a thickening agent. Lemons are primarily composed of water and citric acid, which acts as a natural cleaning agent. Lemon juice is acidic in nature and helps in dissolving the grease and dirt, making it easy to rinse them out.
Does pasta water thicken sauce?
Yes, it does. Starchy pasta water is the perfect thing to add to thicken and season your sauce.
If you want to learn how to thicken tomato sauce, then you are just in the right place. You can learn how to thicken tomato sauce quickly, easily, and without losing any of the rich flavors of your sauce.
As long as you are using high-quality tomatoes and fresh aromatics, you may find that tomato sauces cooked without a roux or added fat often lack adequate body, leaving them thin and watery. These methods for how to thicken tomato sauce will help you achieve just the right consistency for your sauce every time.