7 Best Ways To Thicken Tomato Sauce

Sauces are becoming more and more popular, and everyone loves making them. However, it’s essential to achieve the right consistency when making sauces! Homemade sauces are often too thin, when in fact they should be thicker.

Specifically with tomato sauces, they often turn out watery.

So, what are the best ways to thicken tomato sauce? To reduce sauce to your desired consistency, heat it over low heat until it reaches a thick consistency. If you have leftover cornstarch and arrowroot powder already, you can add them, or you can add mashed vegetables or a roux.

To learn how to thicken your homemade tomato sauce, let’s take a look at the best methods.

Detailed directions will be given on how each method works, along with the pros and cons. The runny tomato sauce problem is finally over.

What is the Correct Consistency for Tomato Sauce?

Whatever you use a sauce for, it will have a certain consistency. Usually, a sauce has to be fairly thick in consistency.

If you spoon a dollop of sauce onto a plate, it shouldn’t run around too much, but not too thick either.

The consistency of many sauce recipes is already adequate for the purpose for which they are normally used.

When used for lasagna, or macaroni and cheese, béchamel sauces are thick and luscious, while spaghetti sauces are more runny.

Correct Consistency for Tomato Sauce

There are a wide variety of uses for tomato sauce, which explains its wide variety of consistency. The sauces can be thicker and used for dipping or they can be runnier and used for things like pizza sauces.

There is no perfect recipe that has a consistency that will provide the perfect consistency for your desired use, which is why it is difficult to find. Even when you do find one, there can be many environmental factors that lead to it not being consistent.

You will get a deeper flavor if your tomato sauce is thicker. To give it its deep, concentrated, and intense taste, tomato paste is extremely thick.

How to Thicken Tomato Sauce without Tomato Paste

So, you’ve tried making a recipe and it’s not as good as it should be! The difficulty of thickening sauces is greater than that of thinning them. 

Often, tomato paste is incorporated into runny sauce. It is a great method because it deepens the tomato flavors and thickens the sauce at the same time.

How to Thicken Tomato Sauce without Tomato Paste

When reheating your tomato sauce, add 1 tablespoon at a time of tomato paste and let it cook. Taste before adding more tomato paste. Amount to use depends on the amount of tomato sauce.

You’re out of tomato paste when you sorely need it, as life goes. Thickening your tomato sauce can be done in a variety of ways!

To thicken a sauce, you may choose between the following methods, depending on the amount of time you have available and the ingredients you have on hand.

Simmering / Reducing

There is no easier way to thicken any sauce, including tomato sauces, than by using this method. 

Water is released from tomatoes when they are cooked. Water is responsible for its runny consistency. The sauce is also diluted by excessive amounts of water.

Similarly, thicker sauce will have a deeper and more intense flavor.

It is simple to keep cooking the tomato sauce until the desired consistency is achieved, which indicates that there has been an adequate amount of evaporation of water during cooking.

Using this method is a bit of a hassle, especially if your consistency is very runny or if you desire a very thick consistency.

In any case, it’s a great method if you have the time since you just need to simmer the sauce for a while – no elaborate steps, no extra equipment, nothing else.

You can concentrate the natural flavor of the sauce by allowing it to reduce without affecting the other flavors.

Pros Cons
The tomato flavor is concentrated and reduced. The sauce will be thicker and more flavorful without affecting the flavor of other ingredients. Depending on how runny the blood is, this method can take from 10 minutes to an It depends on the consistency or thickness.
This recipe does not require any additional ingredients. Due to prolonged cooking, the sauce may burn at the bottom of the pot.
You don’t need any extra equipment.
The easiest way to thicken a sauce without having to exert much effort.

How to Reduce Tomato Sauce

  1. Make sure your tomato sauce is the right consistency and determine the desired thickness.
  2. Continue simmering the sauce uncovered on medium-low heat for a few minutes to allow excess moisture to evaporate and allow the sauce to thicken.
  3. Stir the sauce every 10 seconds until it achieves the desired consistency.
  4. Every 5-10 minutes, stir the sauce to avoid it burning on the bottom.

Add a Roux

Butter and flour are cooked together to form a roux. Many sauces start with roux as they help thicken with ease!

Aroux’s consistency can vary depending on the ratio used. The following ratios are used:

  • The 2:1 ratio of butter to flour is used in a thin roux (for thinner sauces).
  • Butter and flour are used in a 1:1 ratio for a medium roux (a medium consistency).
  • The proportion of butter to flour is 1: 2 when making thick sauces such as béchamel.

Our recommendation is to use a 1:1 ratio of butter to flour to thicken your tomato sauce. This will thicken it at any consistency without making it too thick. For each cup of sauce, you can add one tablespoon of each.

Adding roux to an already made sauce can be difficult, but making a roux is not difficult. To avoid lumps forming and incorrectly thickening, you must follow precise steps.

Pros Cons
The ratio can be adapted to suit different consistency needs when thickening tomato sauce. If you do not follow the steps correctly, you can create lumps.
Following the right steps makes it easy to make roux. Extra ingredients are required, as well as equipment.
Bring the sauce to a boil to eliminate any flour taste, and the flavor will remain the same.
Tomato sauce can be thickened in a very efficient manner.

How to Thicken Tomato Sauce with a Roux

  1. 1 part butter should be melted in a saucepan. Stir in 1 part flour to the pan, then remove it from the heat.
  2. Whisk the thin tomato sauce slowly in while the pan is still off the heat. Whisk well between each addition of 1/8 cup.

It is very difficult to remove lumps that form when you add too much liquid without properly incorporating it into the roux.

  1. Stirring continuously, bring the sauce back to a boil after it has been incorporated into all the ingredients.
  2. The sauce should be simmered until the desired consistency is reached, about 10 minutes.

Continually whisk the sauce to prevent it from burning.

Add Cornstarch

Thousand of recipes call for cornstarch as a thickener! This makes a good backup thickener, even though it is not necessarily added as the primary thickener.

Boiling the sauce will remove its taste since cornstarch has a very neutral flavor. The sauce doesn’t change in color, the texture isn’t changed, and it is very easy to incorporate.

The sauce will become almost grainy in texture if you overcook it.

Pros Cons
A very simple method. An extra ingredient is needed.
The process is extremely fast. When overcooked, a change in texture can occur.
Doesn’t affect the taste or color of the sauce.

How to Thicken Tomato Sauce with Corn Starch

  1. For every cup of tomato sauce, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. The cornstarch should be fully dissolved in the sauce when it is added.
  2. 5-10 minutes on low heat should be enough to thicken the sauce.

Add Arrowroot Powder

Despite being an ancient ingredient, arrowroot powder has gained popularity in recent years. Powdered root vegetables have thickening properties, like cornstarch.

As opposed to cornstarch, Arrowroot has no taste or odor. Your sauce won’t taste or smell different.

If the slurry mixture is added to a simmering sauce, the texture will be ruined. Please take all precautions to prevent your sauce from boiling!

Pros Cons
Easily incorporated into any system. It may be challenging to locate certain ingredients that are required.
Easy and quick to do. Cooked too long, the texture changes.
It is flavorless, colorless, and odorless.

How to Thicken Tomato Sauce with Arrowroot Powder

  1. One tablespoon of arrowroot powder and one tablespoon of water should be combined. Stir them till they form a thick slurry.
  2. Then add the arrowroot paste to the sauce and heat it over low heat.
  3. Mix both mixtures until thoroughly combined.
  4. Until the sauce is the right consistency, cook it until it is soft.

Add Mashed or Pureed Vegetables

This method is great for thickening tomato sauces, however, it only works when the sauce contains vegetables, otherwise, the sauce will taste different.

For example, if you mixed potatoes with your tomato sauce or added mashed potatoes to your recipe, you could thicken your sauce easily by adding 1-2 tablespoons of mashed potatoes.

How to Thicken Tomato Sauce with Arrowroot Powder

Vegetable purees of any consistency work well, so long as they’re thick. You can make the sauce thicker by using starchy vegetables. 

Also, you can add other vegetables to your tomato sauce to change its flavor, so instead of making a roasted pepper sauce, you could be making a carrot sauce. 

You may also wish to blend the mashed vegetables smooth before serving.

Despite a slight alteration in taste, texture and color, this method is still an effective thickening method, which makes a delicious sauce!

Pros Cons
It impacts flavour, texture, and color-which can be excellent if that’s the goal. This method requires extra equipment and ingredients.
You can use leftover vegetables and ingredients for this recipe. Time-consuming compared to other methods.
Depending on the vegetables you use, the texture, flavor, and color will change.

How to Thicken Tomato Sauce with Mashed Vegetables

  1. You can purée any vegetable you like. When using puree or mashed tomato in a sauce, make sure that you remove any excess liquid (water). To make 1 cup of tomato sauce, you will only need 1-2 tablespoons mashed potatoes.
  2. Add the mashed vegetables to the tomato sauce and heat over low heat.
  3. Combine the two mixtures and season to taste.

Add an Egg yolk

It will help thicken your sauce so much to add even one egg yolk! Despite the steps, this is an incredibly quick and easy way to use eggs – and, you probably have a few laying around constantly.

A white egg does not thicken, but has binding properties. As a result, adding whites to the hot sauce will make the sauce change texture. Despite this, it won’t thicken in the least!

Make tomato sauce thicker by using egg yolks only, as they enrich the sauce.

Pros Cons
You will almost always have an egg at home, so it is very convenient to use the yolk. Cooking the egg yolk and not incorporating it properly will result in a different texture, not thickening the sauce.
Adding thickener without altering flavors or textures is a very effective way to thicken sauce.
Sauce is enriched.

How to Thicken Tomato Sauce with Egg Yolks

  1. 1 egg yolk and 12 cups of warm tomato sauce should be blended.
  2. Combine the sauce and egg yolk and whisk until fully incorporated. Using heated sauce will cook your egg, thereby thickening it rather than creating scrambled eggs.
  3. Mix the egg yolks into the rest of the lukewarm tomato sauce.
  4. Combine the egg and tomato sauce together by stirring well.
  5. Continue whisking the sauce as it slowly simmers without boiling.

Related Questions

After discussing several of our favorite tomato sauce thickening methods, here are a few more questions you might have!

Why is my sauce watery?

Watery sauces are caused by excess moisture. A tomato sauce can have an extra juicy texture if the recipe ratios are incorrect or the cooking time is insufficient.

Can I use flour to thicken my sauce?

Thickening sauces with flour alone is not recommended. To make the sauce easier to incorporate, prepare a roux. It might cause lumps in the sauce, which might affect its taste.

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