Are you tired of watery spaghetti sauce? Do you long for a thick and rich sauce that clings to your pasta?

Look no further, because today we will explore different methods to thicken your spaghetti sauce to perfection. Whether you prefer a traditional marinara or a meaty ragù, these techniques will work wonders for any type of spaghetti sauce.

Why Thicken Spaghetti Sauce?

Before we dive into the methods, let’s understand why you might want to thicken your spaghetti sauce in the first place. A thickened sauce not only enhances the overall texture but also helps it adhere better to the pasta.

A watery sauce can dilute the flavors and make your dish feel incomplete. Thicker sauces also tend to have a richer mouthfeel, giving your taste buds a more satisfying experience.

1. Simmering

Simmering is perhaps the easiest and most common way to thicken spaghetti sauce. As the sauce simmers over low heat, it reduces in volume through evaporation, resulting in a thicker consistency.

  • Start by cooking your sauce on medium-high heat until it reaches a gentle boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer uncovered.
  • The longer you simmer, the thicker your sauce will become. Aim for at least 20-30 minutes of simmering time.
  • Remember to stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.

This method works particularly well for sauces that have high liquid content or are made with fresh tomatoes.

2. Tomato Paste

If you need a quick fix for thin spaghetti sauce, tomato paste is your secret ingredient. Tomato paste is highly concentrated and adds both thickness and intense tomato flavor to your sauce.

  • For every cup of sauce, mix in 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
  • Stir well to ensure the paste is fully incorporated into the sauce.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors meld together.

Remember, tomato paste is potent, so start with a small amount and taste as you go. You can always add more if needed.

3. Roux

A classic French technique, a roux is a mixture of equal parts fat and flour used to thicken sauces and soups. It adds body and richness to your spaghetti sauce while also enhancing its flavor profile.

  • Melt butter or heat oil in a separate pan over medium heat.
  • Add an equal amount of all-purpose flour to the melted fat (e.g., 1 tablespoon of butter or oil with 1 tablespoon of flour).
  • Cook the mixture for a few minutes, stirring constantly until it turns golden brown. This cooking process removes any raw taste from the flour.
  • Add the roux gradually to your simmering spaghetti sauce while whisking continuously. This helps prevent lumps from forming.
  • Continue cooking over low heat for an additional 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

Note that using a roux will alter the flavor profile of your sauce slightly, giving it a more complex taste.

4. Cornstarch Slurry

If you prefer gluten-free options or want an alternative to flour, a cornstarch slurry is an excellent option for thickening spaghetti sauce.

  • In a separate bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water.
  • Whisk the mixture until the cornstarch dissolves completely.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry gradually to your simmering sauce while stirring continuously.
  • Cook the sauce for an additional 5-7 minutes to allow it to thicken and lose any raw taste from the cornstarch.

Keep in mind that cornstarch can make your sauce slightly glossy, but it won’t affect the flavor significantly.


Thickening spaghetti sauce is easier than you might think. Whether you choose to simmer, add tomato paste, make a roux, or use a cornstarch slurry, these methods will transform your watery sauce into a delightful and hearty accompaniment to your favorite pasta dishes.

Experiment with different techniques and find the one that suits your taste best. Enjoy!