How Can You Thicken Spaghetti Sauce Without Tomato Paste?

Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have any tomato paste on hand, but you still want to thicken your spaghetti sauce. Luckily, there are several alternatives you can use to achieve the desired consistency without compromising the flavor.

In this article, we will explore some creative ways to thicken spaghetti sauce without tomato paste.

1. Use Tomato Puree

If you don’t have tomato paste, tomato puree can be a great substitute. Tomato puree is made by cooking tomatoes for a longer period of time and then straining them to remove the seeds and skin.

It has a thicker consistency compared to canned diced or crushed tomatoes.

To use tomato puree as a thickening agent, simply add it to your spaghetti sauce and simmer it for a few minutes until it reaches your desired thickness. Remember to adjust the seasoning accordingly since tomato puree may have a more concentrated flavor than tomato paste.

2. Cook it Longer

One of the simplest ways to thicken spaghetti sauce without tomato paste is by cooking it for a longer period of time. As you simmer the sauce on low heat, the excess moisture will evaporate, leaving behind a thicker consistency.

To ensure that your sauce doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pot while cooking, stir it occasionally and keep an eye on the heat level. The longer you cook it, the thicker it will become.

3. Add Cornstarch Slurry

Cornstarch is a common thickening agent used in various recipes. To thicken your spaghetti sauce using cornstarch, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water to create a slurry.

Stir the slurry into your sauce and continue cooking it until it thickens.

Remember to add the cornstarch slurry gradually, as adding too much at once can cause clumping. If your sauce becomes too thick, you can always add a little water or broth to thin it out.

4. Incorporate Flour or Roux

Flour can also be used to thicken spaghetti sauce. To do this, create a roux by melting 1 tablespoon of butter in a separate pan and then adding 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour.

Cook the mixture over medium heat until it turns golden brown.

Once the roux is ready, add it gradually to your spaghetti sauce while stirring continuously. The roux will help thicken the sauce and give it a rich, creamy texture.

Keep in mind that using flour or roux may alter the taste slightly, so adjust the seasonings accordingly.

5. Simmer with Vegetables

Another creative way to thicken spaghetti sauce without tomato paste is by simmering it with vegetables that naturally release starch when cooked. Some vegetables that work well for this purpose include grated carrots, finely chopped mushrooms, and zucchini.

To incorporate vegetables into your sauce, simply sauté them before adding them to the pot. As they cook in the sauce, they will release their natural starches and help thicken it.

This method not only adds thickness but also enhances the flavor and nutritional value of your spaghetti sauce.


While tomato paste is commonly used to thicken spaghetti sauce, there are many alternatives available that can achieve similar results. Whether you choose tomato puree, cornstarch, flour/roux, or vegetables, each method offers a unique way to thicken your sauce without compromising taste.

Experiment with these techniques and find the one that suits your preferences best. Happy cooking!