How To Thicken Spaghetti Sauce

There’s nothing worse than pouring a delicious spaghetti sauce onto your favorite noodles, then noticing how watery it is.

Now, you’re stuck with an unsatisfying bowl of pasta where the sauce falls off during each bite. We have personal experience with this happening one too many times!

Don’t fret; we’re here to teach you how to thicken spaghetti sauce so you can avoid this frustrating experience next time you whip up a delicious bowl of spaghetti.

How To Thicken Spaghetti Sauce

What Is the Secret Ingredient in Spaghetti Sauce?

The best spaghetti sauce starts with vine-ripened tomatoes.

This helps create the base of the sauce and helps maintain its thickness. Without these tomatoes, you’ll have a sauce that is too thin or too thick.

You’ll find many companies use tomato paste instead as a base. While this can be a great replacement, it is much more challenging to find the perfect consistency.

Using fresh tomatoes offers an exquisite consistency and new flavor that can’t be beaten. Ultimately, they are the secret ingredient that makes spaghetti sauce delicious and the perfect noodle topping.

The Best Ways to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce

Below, you’ll find a list of six ways to thicken your spaghetti sauce to avoid a soupy pasta dish.

Now, you’ll have perfect, rich sauce every time. Plus, a thicker spaghetti sauce will stick to your noodles better, offering an even yummier bowl of pasta waiting to be eaten.

There are multiple reasons your pasta might be watery; perhaps not enough tomatoes have been added. Or, maybe you bought a jar that arrived, and it was already too liquid-like.

Whatever the case, the below tips will help you transform your sauce into a work of art. Let’s dive into what you can do to make the best spaghetti sauce ever!

How To Thicken Spaghetti Sauce

1. Reduce the Sauce Via Simmering

Simmering the sauce until it thickens is one of the best and easiest ways to create the perfect spaghetti sauce.

If you’re wondering how to thicken homemade spaghetti sauce, here’s your answer. To simmer, you’ll need to add your sauce to a pan. Then, bring the sauce to a boil. Next, turn the heat down low until it’s simmering.

There’s no exact timeframe for how long to simmer your sauce for the best consistency. It can take a few minutes up to 20 or 25 minutes.

This length of time depends on multiple factors including, how much sauce is in the pan, how watery it is, and how thick you want your sauce to be.

The best way to reduce the sauce is by monitoring it consistently and frequently stirring to avoid burnt sauce on the bottom of the pan.

This is the best solution as no additional ingredients are needed, just time and a spoon. Plus, the flavor will be the same, though more concentrated.

It’s important to avoid cooking spaghetti sauce too long as it can burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. Always keep an eye on your sauce to avoid this.

2. Add Tomato Sauce

Here’s another easy way to thicken your spaghetti sauce – by adding more tomato sauce. Even though adding another liquid, the tomato will help create a thicker consistency.

Keep in mind; you’ll need to add more seasoning when using this option to add more bulk to the sauce.

While this option sounds counterintuitive, it will add bulk and thickness to your sauce due to the consistency of tomato sauce. You will find that this option creates a larger amount of sauce than the initial recipe.

Spaghetti sauce is versatile to use the extra for dishes like homemade pizza and meatball sandwiches.

Freezing is also an option if you can’t use all the sauce within a few days. Ensure you freeze it in smaller containers for quicker thawing in the future. Plus, smaller containers allow you to use the sauce you want without having more leftovers.

3. Add Cornstarch Slurry

Have some cornstarch in your cupboard that you’re itching to use?

You can create a cornstarch slurry that aids in thickening any sauce. He must create his mixture instead of adding cornstarch directly into the sauce to form clumps.

For those wondering what a cornstarch slurry is, it’s a combination of cornstarch and water before being mixed slowly into a liquid. Cornstarch absorbs some of the liquid in the sauce, creating a thicker consistency.

You can easily make a slurry by mixing a 1:1 ratio of cornstarch and water. Ensure you whisk it to get any clumps out before including it in your sauce. It’s also important to add the slurry a little bit to better control the consistency.

An additional benefit of using a slurry is no change in the flavor of your recipe. So you can add it in without worrying about creating a different sauce.

4. Add a Roux

Is there a difference between a roux and a slurry?

Yes, absolutely. While they both offer a way to thicken sauces, they’re created from different ingredients. You’ll need flour, butter, and a separate pan to make a roux.

Roux needs to be cooked to eliminate the “raw flour” taste. You’ll need to heat the butter in a pan until it’s melted, then whisk in the flour.

Continue stirring until the roux forms a dough-like consistency. Use an equal amount of butter and flour for this thickening option.

As a note, there will be a difference in flavor when using roux due to the butter. This will create a creamier, richer sauce than you would typically have.

5. Add Mashed Potatoes

Don’t have cornstarch or flour on hand and still need to thicken your spaghetti sauce? You can also add leftover mashed potatoes.

The potatoes help soak up the extra moisture in your sauce, making it thick and creamy.

This option will also change the flavor of your sauce, though it works very well as a thickening agent. You can use homemade mashed potatoes, store-bought, or even powdered mashed potatoes for a thicker sauce.

Start by adding a spoonful of mashed potatoes, mixing, then repeating if necessary.

6. Add Egg Yolks

Egg yolks might seem like an odd option to thicken the spaghetti sauce.

However, they are often sauces for a creamy, rich texture (think hollandaise). To avoid a chunky, unappealing texture, you must temper the eggs before adding them to your sauce.

To do this, grab a bowl with the egg yolks and add a few spoonfuls of your hot sauce into the yolks.

Make sure to stir continuously during this process. Once the yolks have been incorporated with the sauce, you can add this slowly into your pot of spaghetti sauce. Make sure to continue stirring as you add the yolk mixture.

Now, you have a decadent spaghetti sauce that’s perfect for adding to any noodles you want.

How To Thicken Spaghetti Sauce

How To Thicken Spaghetti Sauce in A Crockpot?

Wondering how to thicken the sauce when it’s in a crockpot?

There are multiple methods that you can pursue when using this cooking method. Try adding in a cornstarch slurry. Once you add the slurry, whisk it in the sauce until you notice the texture becoming thicker.

You can also “simmer” your sauce. You will need to prop up the lid to let the moisture escape as you cook the sauce on low. While this is not the same as simmering, it creates a similar effect as it thickens the sauce.

Otherwise, a few spoonfuls of mashed potato powder or a roux will also work. Ensure you stir these options well.

If you still have not reached the preferred consistency, you can add another spoonful and combine. Repeat this process until necessary, though one or two rounds should be sufficient.

Can I Add Flour to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce?

Yes, you can add flour by itself to thicken your sauce.

However, adding it alone will change the flavor of your recipe. It also increases the likelihood of flour clumps in your sauce, which offers an unappealing consistency.

It’s best to use a roux for a creamier sauce instead of plain flour. Though, adding plain flour does work in a pinch.

Sift the flour before adding it in; this will aid in adding the flour more slowly, so you don’t add too much to the sauce.

How To Make Spaghetti Sauce Not Watery?

Don’t like the above options for thickening your pasta sauce? Here are some other ways to ensure your spaghetti sauce is not watery.

Use pasta water, which contains starch from the spaghetti you cooked. Starch absorbs water in recipes; this is why you can use mashed potatoes to create a thicker sauce.

You’ll only need a few spoonfuls of spaghetti water for this to work. Ensure you mix the sauce after adding in the pasta water.

This option will not work well if you make gluten-free pasta as there will not be enough starch in the water.

You can also add meat or a meat source into the sauce. This changes the balance of solids to liquids and creates a sauce that feels thicker. Ground beef, turkey, or chicken work well for this option. Remember to cook the ground meat before adding it to the sauce.

Adding cheese into the pasta sauce is another excellent way to create a thicker sauce.

Make sure to use shredded cheese that melts quickly for the best results. Not only will you have a thicker sauce, but you’ll also have a more decadent sauce. Parmesan, mozzarella, and cheddar work well for this purpose.

Though, you can use any melty cheese to create a unique flavor.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

You can also avoid a thin sauce by learning how to make spaghetti sauce at home. Now, you can save time doctoring up store-bought jars of sauce by making a version that is the perfect consistency.

Below, you’ll find a quick recipe that you can whip up in less than an hour!

How To Thicken Spaghetti Sauce

How To Thicken Spaghetti Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Below, you’ll find a quick recipe that you can whip up in less than an hour!


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes 28oz
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 ½ tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 c chicken broth or water
  • 1/4 c chopped basil
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 c shredded parmesan


  1. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet on medium-high heat, ensure you use a deeper skillet as you’ll need room for the sauce. Brown the ground beef for a few minutes until cooked through, then use a wooden spoon to separate and spread out the crumbles.
  2. Remove the ground beef and add to a plate with paper towels. Make sure to leave the remaining oil in the pan for the next step.
  3. Add the chopped onions to the skillet after turning the skillet down to medium heat.
  4. Cook for a few minutes until translucent, then add in the garlic. Cook the onion mixture for an additional minute, stirring consistently.
  5. Next, add the cooked beef back in with basil, oregano, tomato paste, chicken broth, and crushed tomatoes.
  6. Mix everything well, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Leave the sauce on the heat until it boils, then shift to low heat, so it simmers. Add a lid and cook until the onions are soft. This step should take about 20 minutes.
  8. After 20 minutes, check the consistency of the pasta sauce. If it’s too thin, you can continue letting it simmer to the correct thickness. Otherwise, use one of the above options to create the perfect pasta sauce.
  9. The final step is adding in parmesan, which helps thicken up the sauce. Add your homemade sauce onto your favorite pasta and serve with hot garlic bread. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Now, you can confidently create spaghetti sauce at home or alter any store-bought spaghetti sauce to your liking. Use any of the above methods for the best spaghetti sauce consistency.

The best part? The options to alter the consistency are easy, quick, and most people already have the ingredients in their cabinets.

No more watery spaghetti sauce for you! Remember, any extra spaghetti sauce you have can be frozen for future recipes.

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