Home Articles How to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce (7 Simple Ways)

How to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce (7 Simple Ways)

Spaghetti Sauce

Want to thicken your spaghetti sauce? Here are 7 simple ways to do just that!

Whether you’ve just bought a jar from the store or you’ve cooked up your very own from scratch, these simple tricks will turn a watery mess into a thick and savory sauce.

We’ll be using simple methods with ingredients you likely already have at home.

So without further ado, here are seven ways to turn that soupy mess into rich, thick, and flavorful spaghetti sauce!

Woman Simmering Sauce

1. Simmer Your Sauce

This is the simplest way to thicken spaghetti sauce without altering its flavor. To do this, bring your sauce to a boil and then lower the heat for it to simmer.

When doing this, it’s important to be careful not to overcook or burn the sauce. Leave it uncovered while simmering and make sure you stir often.

Using this method to thicken your sauce might take a while, but it’s well worth it. Once all the excess moisture evaporates, you’ll have thick and delicious sauce ready to be added to your pasta!

Roux with Butter and Flour

2. Add a Roux

If simmering your sauce wasn’t enough to get that rich, thick consistency you’re looking for, you might need to add a thickening agent like roux.

If you’ve never made a roux before, it’s pretty easy! Roux is just a mixture of butter and flour and it’s most commonly used in French cooking.

To make your own roux to add to your spaghetti sauce, you’ll need equal parts butter and flour. Add your butter to a pan over medium heat and slowly sprinkle in the flour in small increments.

This ensures that the mixture turns out smooth. Continue whisking until the roux starts to bubble and you’re ready to add it to your sauce!

When adding a roux, be sure to add in small increments while the spaghetti sauce is still warm so the roux can fully incorporate into it.

This method does require a bit more effort than just simmering, but the change in flavor will be very mild.

Bowl of Cornstarch

3. Add Cornstarch

Making a roux sound like too much work? Try adding cornstarch instead.

What I like about this method of thickening spaghetti sauce is it’s quick and easy!

Unlike flour, cornstarch has a neutral flavor so it won’t affect the taste as much.

You can actually add the cornstarch straight into the sauce, but I like to mix it in with a bit of water first just to make sure it combines well. Then, simply pour it in small amounts into the spaghetti sauce.

The taste of cornstarch won’t be noticeable but it’s a pretty strong thickening agent. Adding too much can ruin the sauce’s consistency so make sure you add in just a little bit at a time. You don’t want a gooey mess!

Mashed Potatoes

4. Add Mashed Potatoes

You might be surprised or even hesitant to try this, but mashed potatoes are actually great for thickening spaghetti sauce!

Just like flour and cornstarch, potatoes are super starchy and they’ll thicken up your sauce in no time.

Plus, it adds a nice sweetness to the spaghetti sauce and makes it even more filling.

I’d only use this method if you actually have mashed potatoes lying around because it can be quite a bit of work to start from scratch!

This is also an excellent method to use if you’ve made the sauce a bit too salty. The potatoes will balance everything out.

Plus, you won’t be adding any more heat to the sauce, so there’s no risk of overcooking!

Spaghetti With Sauce

5. Cook Your Pasta in the Sauce

Here’s another way to thicken spaghetti sauce without altering its taste. Let’s hope you haven’t cooked your pasta all the way through yet! You want them to be just minutes shy of al dente.

When cooking your pasta, take it out of the boiling water early so it’s not fully ready yet. Drain thoroughly until it’s almost fully dry. Then, add it into the sauce.

The pasta will absorb any excess moisture and its starch will also help thicken your spaghetti sauce.

Aside from not having an effect on taste, I also like how this method ties all the flavors together for a richer, tastier dish!

Shredded Carrots

6. Add Vegetables

A great way to thicken and add texture to your soupy spaghetti sauce is by adding vegetables. This is also an excellent way to bring in additional layers of flavor to your dish.

Shredded carrots are an excellent option. If you’re hesitant, traditional Italian cooks actually do this when making a sauce so it must be worth a try!

Just make sure your carrots are soft and mushy. It will even balance out the acidity of the tomato.

Another veggie you can try adding is eggplant! If you love its creamy texture and flavor, eggplant makes a great addition to your sauce. Remember to remove the skin to keep the sauce smooth!

Pureed and sauteed onions work great too especially if you think your sauce is lacking in flavor. 

Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef

7. Add Ground Beef or Sausage

Add ground beef for a quick and easy way to add texture and flavor!

The best way to do this is to recook the sauce on very low heat. Add in your ground beef and allow the acidic and meaty flavors to combine. 

Depending on how your sauce tastes, you can add in seasoned or unseasoned ground beef. You can also try diced Italian sausage for another fun variation.

When adding these meaty ingredients, you’re going to need to cook your sauce for longer so be sure to keep it uncovered and stir regularly so it doesn’t burn!

How to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce (7 Simple Ways)


  • Spaghetti Sauce


  • Simmer Your Sauce
  • Add a Roux
  • Add Cornstarch
  • Add Mashed Potatoes
  • Cook Your Pasta in the Sauce
  • Add Vegetables
  • Add Ground Beef or Sausage
How To Thicken Spaghetti Sauce

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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