How to Thicken Pasta Sauce

There's nothing quite as comforting as a delicious, hearty plate of pasta topped with a rich and flavorful sauce. However, sometimes the pasta sauce turns out too watery, leaving you with a less-than-satisfying meal. Fear not! In this post, I will walk you through 5 effective methods to thicken pasta sauce and transform it into  a mouthwatering masterpiece.

Depending on how much time you have available and which ingredients you have in the pantry, there are a few different options to thicken up spaghetti sauce.

🤔 How do you fix liquidy pasta sauce?

Sometimes your pasta sauce simply needs a little more cooking time to allow the water to evaporate and the sauce to thicken. The reduction method is the best way to thicken tomato sauce, as no additional ingredients are needed. However, this method does require more cooking time than other methods.

Simmer and Reduce

Adding pasta water is the next easiest way to thicken pasta sauce. When you cook pasta, starch is released into the water. This starchy water not only helps to thicken your sauce, but it also helps your sauce stick to the pasta noodles.

Add Pasta Water

Adding tomato paste is a classic way of thickening tomato sauce while also intensifying the savory tomato flavor. Because of its concentrated flavor, I recommend starting by adding 1 tablespoon of tomato paste at a time.

Add Tomato Paste

Making a roux is a classic and easy way to thicken any pasta sauce. In general, you combine equal parts (1:1) flour and fat (usually butter), quickly creating a thick and creamy sauce.

Make a Roux

Making a cornstarch slurry is an easy way to make marinara sauce thicker. In general, you want to use a 2:1 ratio (water:cornstarch) to make a slurry.

Make a Cornstarch Slurry


I create easy recipes that are mainly vegetarian and vegan. And I have a huge sweet tooth, so dessert is never far behind!  Sign up to get recipes delivered to your inbox and get my FREE Guide on Money Saving Tips on Buying Groceries!