Learn how to thicken spaghetti sauce! There’s nothing more disappointing than tucking into a big bowl of pasta and finding the sauce is thin and watery! Thin sauces won’t stick to your pasta properly, lack in flavor and texture, and are all around disappointing to eat. That’s why we created this handy guide to thickening your spaghetti sauce.
The best pasta sauce has a thick texture. This allows it to coat your pasta instead of staying at the bottom of your bowl. Thicker texture also allows the deep, robust flavor of your tomatoes and other ingredients to shine through. The best spaghetti sauce should have a balance between sweet and salty flavors, with a hint of acidity from the tomatoes. If you love spaghetti and want to make thick, delicious sauces at home, you’ve come to the right place.
Your choice of tomatoes is the first thing that affects your sauce. Fresh tomatoes have more water in them than canned, although many tinned tomatoes will need to be drained before cooking. Depending on your choice of tomatoes, you may find your sauce thinning out more than you’d like.
If you want pasta sauce, not spaghetti in a thin soup, read on.
6 Best Ways to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce
1. Reduce the Sauce Via Simmering
If you find your sauce is too thin while it’s still on the stove, don’t throw it out! You can easily thicken your sauce and boost its intensity of flavor with a little patience. All you need to do is keep your sauce simmering on the stove, checking every five minutes, to boil off your excess liquid. Be sure to stir frequently to keep it mobile and ensure it doesn’t burn. It won’t change your recipe, so with time up your sleeve this is the easiest and best way to thicken your sauce.
2. Add Tomato Sauce
Too much liquid in your pasta sauce? Balance it out with solids! Adding tomato sauce will quickly thicken your sauce in the pot. This will slightly change your flavor profile as you’re adding more of the main ingredient. Be sure to taste test your sauce, and add salt or seasoning if needed. The additional tomato sauce may increase the acidity of your pasta sauce, so you should be prepared to add a small amount of salt or sugar to balance the flavor out. You’ll also end up with more sauce than you planned, perfect for leftovers!
3. Add Cornstarch Slurry
A cornstarch slurry will quickly thicken your pasta sauce. It’s simple, effective, and straightforward. Mix one part cornstarch to one part water, and add slowly to your sauce. Don’t do too much at once in case you over-thicken your sauce. Stir your sauce upon the addition of each small amount of slurry to see if it still needs thickening.
4. Add Roux
A roux is equal parts flour and butter, but you can use oil. Often the roux is the base of a creamy sauce, but you can use it to thicken your pasta sauce. It will bring a creamy texture to your pasta sauce, not unlike the pink sauce often served in Italian restaurants. Be sure to heat this up in a separate pan instead of throwing flour and butter straight into your sauce. The flour can clump and the butter will just melt, and you’ll have unpleasant lumps.
5. Add Mashed Potatoes
This is an unorthodox, but effective, way of thickening sauce. As with other thickening agents, add mashed potatoes carefully in small amounts. The active thickener here is starch, which potatoes have in bucketloads. Add to your sauce a spoonful at a time, and stir thoroughly before deciding if you need more. Remember, you can always add to a sauce, but you can never take away.
6. Add Egg Yolks
Clean protein that will thicken your sauce! Egg yolk will change the taste of your pasta sauce, so be sure that the eggy flavor is something you actually want in the mix. Don’t just crack an egg into the sauce, either. It will cook almost immediately when applied to the hot sauce. Crack one or two eggs into a bowl, add a small amount (one or two spoonfuls should do it) of your pasta sauce, and mix that together. Add this slowly to your sauce and stir constantly to prevent your pasta sauce from turning into a tomato omelette.
Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients
You will need olive oil, ground beef, onion, garlic, tomato passata, bay leaf, paprika, beef broth, oregano, salt, pepper and basil leaves to make this delicious sauce.
How to make Spaghetti Sauce
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the ground beef , garlic and bay leaves and cook for a few minutes. Break down the beef, using a wooden spatula.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped onion and paprika. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato passata, beef broth, oregano, ground black pepper and salt. Mix everything together, bring to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
How to Make Spaghetti Sauce Not Watery
There are two schools of thought when it comes to the thickness of spaghetti sauce. You either add the water your pasta boiled in, or you don’t. To avoid watery sauce, keep that water away from your sauce! However, the addition of starch in the pasta water can help your sauce to stick to the spaghetti.
A way to thicken your pasta sauce is to bring it to the boil on high heat early in the cooking process, and then lower the heat to a simmer. This will cook off much of the excess liquid in your pasta sauce. Always thoroughly drain your spaghetti before serving, to make sure your sauce sticks to the pasta.
If you like to start your pasta sauce with aromatic vegetables, such as onion and carrot, make sure the pan is hot before you add them. A lukewarm pan will effectively steam them in their own juices, increasing the liquid content of your sauce.
How to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce in a Crockpot?
Any of the above tips will help to thicken crockpot spaghetti sauce. The cornstarch slurry is by far the quickest.
Can Flour Thicken Spaghetti Sauce?
Flour is a popular thickening agent, and is a major ingredient in pasta, so it’s not as if you won’t be consuming it anyway. However, depending on the type of flour you use, it can change both the flavor and texture of your pasta sauce, or even form unpleasant little clumps upon contact with the sauce. Best to use one of the above steps to thicken your sauce instead of adding raw flour.
More Delicious Pasta Sauces
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