How To Thicken Marinara Sauce – 10 Methods

Keeping marinara sauce on hand is an excellent way to widen your cooking options. You may use it to make pizza, sandwiches, and baked pasta dishes. However, the thickening process, whether Marinara, spaghetti, pizza, or any other tomato-based sauce, remains the same.

marinara sauce

My collection of tried and true methods for thickening marinara sauce includes combining cheese or dairy products for pasta dishes. A corn starch slurry or mashed potatoes will thicken the marinara sauce beautifully. If you have some time, it is always better to let it reduce and thicken.

The following are some suggestions that can help you make Marinara sauce even more delicious than it already is. So check out my list of proven ways to thicken the marinara sauce.

How To Fix A Marinara Sause That Is Too Runny

Maintaining a supply of marinara sauce in your pantry enables you to elevate various recipes. On the other hand, if you already have a marinara sauce that is too thin for your taste, there is always a method to make it thicker and more flavorful. You may improve your Marinara sauce-making skills by following the recommendations that are provided here.

There is no doubt that you may experiment with many different ways to thicken your marinara sauce. For instance, using it on a pizza will be slightly different from using it on pasta. Likewise, adding meat to your spaghetti marinara sauce helps improve the taste and thickness.

Tip #1: By Reduction

Simmering the Marinara sauce over a stovetop burner set to medium-low heat is the easiest way to get the desired consistency of a reduced sauce. If you don’t want to add something additional to the sauce, this is a great method. To avoid scorching, stir regularly.

Boil the marinara sauce for a few more hours or until it has reached the required thickness and the liquid has mostly evaporated. It will result in a marinara sauce that is robust and concentrated. Keep in mind that the sauce will be thicker when cold.

This is great to keep in mind especially if you are making marinara from fresh tomatoes. Since tomatoes have a lot of liquid, do not panic if the sauce is very runny at first. It needs to reduce for a long time to turn into marinara.

See the photo below for an example of fresh marinara that still needs to reduce:

watery fresh marinara that needs to be reduced

Tip #2: With Corn Starch

Cornstarch is a common thickening ingredient in the food industry, but if you add it directly into the hot sauce you want to thicken, it will clump. Cornstarch is made up of molecules that look like miniature sponges. They swell up in size as they consume more water. Every type of starch goes through the same process.

To begin, put one tablespoon of cornstarch into a small dish, and stir in an equal amount of cold liquid (you can use stock, water, or wine). When the mixture has formed a smooth paste, It is a slurry. If you want the right consistency, you need to add in the hot, boiling liquid. Bring to a boil, then after it has cooked, reduce the heat and simmer for some time to remove any leftover starchy flavor.

You can add cornstarch to a sauce made with tomatoes to make it thicker, but the cornstarch will lose some of its effectiveness if the sauce has a high acidity level. In this situation, you might use either arrowroot or tapioca starch as an alternative. These two alternatives are preferable because cornstarch can take on a spongy texture when frozen, so if you create something you want to freeze, these are the better choices.

Tip #3: With Pasta Water

Any good chef will tell you not to waste any ingredients, and pasta water is no exception since pasta water contains starch which will thicken the marinara sauce like corn starch. The pasta water will also give it a nice creamy flavor and texture as a nice bonus.

Your marinara sauce won’t thicken just by adding pasta water. Instead, it would help if you let it simmer on low heat for all of the starch left by the pasta to thicken and give your sauce some body. Also, don’t salt your marinara sauce if you add pasta water to your sauce so as not to over-salt your pasta because when making pasta, you usually add salt to the water unless you like bland pasta.

Tip #4: Using Cheese Or Dairy Products

There are other dairy products besides butter that you may use to thicken your marinara sauce in addition to the butter. The topping of shredded parmesan or pecorino cheese is a favorite option for many people regarding sauce. It imparts a luscious smoothness and flavor to the sauce. Of course, any cream cheese will do in this situation.

Tip #5: Using Bread Crumbs

Adding bread crumbs to your marinara sauce will help to thicken the sauce and give it more structure. In addition, bread crumbs are a very cost-efficient option for thickening soup, which is why they frequently get used.

It will enable you to use any stale bread you would have thrown away. If you are in the mood for laziness and do not want to deal with breaking your bread, you may toss vast pieces of bread into the soup pot and let the boiling process break them down into smaller pieces.

Tip #6: Using Beurre Manié

You might not even be familiar with this method of thickening soup called Beurre Manié, which translates as kneaded butter in French. Although butter and flour are required for the preparation, you should use the same quantity of both ingredients. When they say kneading, they mean nothing more than mixing the two components with a fork or your fingers.

Scoop out little balls of the mixture the size of a teaspoon, drop them into your sauce, and heat for at least a minute after processing the ingredients until they resemble a smooth paste. At this point, the sauce should have reached the desired consistency, and the butter should have melted.

If it is too watery, add one more Beurre ball to the mixture. Beurre Manié can make even the worst things taste better is maybe its greatest asset. Ask any chef to tell you that including it in your sauce will create a sleek gloss.

Tip #7: With Mashed Potatoes

When making the Marinara sauce at home, if it seems like a giant pot of depressing food, add one spoonful of instant mashed potatoes. Then, all you have to do to make your sauce thicker is stir in a tiny quantity of instant mash, like Smash. It will work in a relatively short length of time.

If you don’t want to use quick mash, you may replace it with some leftover mashed potatoes. For those who don’t have access to pre-cooked mashed potatoes, you can substitute it with frozen hash browns, a sauce thickener you’ve never thought to use to its fullest potential.

It is because frozen hash browns are the best possible thickening you’ve ever imagined using in your sauce. When hash browns are warmed gently in a sauce, they transform into a tasty starch that does not form clumps and may be used to thicken a sauce, a chowder, or even a stew or chili. It is because hash browns have already been cooked and shredded before being reheated.

The addition of hash browns will give that sauce a more substantial flavor. You may use the frozen hash brown thickening technique on the stovetop, but you’ll find it works much better in the slow cooker. Because it takes some time for those hash browns to dissolve, you must be sure to cook them gently, at a moderate temperature, and for a considerable amount of time.

Tip #8: With Ground Meat

When I consider a method to thicken my Marinara sauce for spaghetti, the first thing that springs to mind is the addition of meat. It is because the ground meat must be cooked separately from the other ingredients in the cuisine.

I always brown my ground meat first. After that, pour in the marinara sauce, bring to a boil, and continue to cook while occasionally stirring for the maximum amount of time. If you do this, the flavor of your sauce will be at a new level.

After each bite, you’ll find that the robust taste and thick consistency remain on your tongue for some time after you swallow. Therefore, it is suggested that you use either ground beef, pulled pork, or bacon pieces when it comes to the kinds of meats most frequently utilized in this procedure.

Tip #9: Using Egg Yolk

There will be no change to the marinara sauce’s appearance, consistency, or flavor if egg yolks are used to thicken it. In a bowl, whisking continuously, add a couple of spoons’ worth of hot sauce to one or two egg yolks. Continue to add the sauce gently while whisking. It won’t end up overcooking the egg yolk due to this. In addition, you should continue to simmer the Marinara for a few more minutes while mixing it with the egg.

Tip #10: Using Tomato Paste

Your homemade marinara sauce can be thickened by adding a tiny amount of tomato paste, but the flavor won’t be dramatically affected. This highly concentrated tomato-based product has a viscosity similar to paste, and it can thicken any sauce while naturally increasing the taste of tomatoes.

One of the most beneficial uses for tomato paste is a natural thickening for tomato-based sauces. However, it is also one of its most widely used applications. This essential item in the pantry will help modify a sauce’s consistency while enhancing the deep, delicious scents already in tomato sauce.

You may get close to creating the perfect sauce by using one or two teaspoons, allowing it to simmer over low heat for an additional five minutes, and then serving it. Following these steps can increase the tomato taste in your sauce. Using less tomato paste than tomato puree (more watery tomato liquid) would be best.

This method is also great for thickening salsa and tomato soup.

More Questions About How To Thicken Marinara Sauce

What Distinguishes Spaghetti Sauce From The Marinara Sauce?

Marinara is easier than spaghetti sauce since it requires fewer ingredients and takes less time to make. Spaghetti sauce, on the other hand, is unique because it has a more robust flavor, more components, and a more substantial and complex structure.

In contrast to spaghetti sauce, which frequently contains ins meat, the marinara sauce does not. Therefore, it results in a more watery sauce. Also, in contrast to pasta sauce, Marinara is commonly used as a dipping sauce.

What Are The Ingredients For A Good Marinara Sauce?

  • Whole peeled tomatoes, the better the quality of tomatoes, the better the result
  • Finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • Coarse Black pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Can You Freeze Marinara Sauce To Use Later?

For future usage, the marinara sauce can get frozen. It won’t go bad if kept frozen for up to six months. Divide the sauce into servings after it has had time to cool, and then put each dish in a freezer-safe bag or another container. Then you can put the sauce in the freezer after labeling it.


There are so many ways to make delicious marinara at home. You can use fresh tomatoes, or canned. You can add a variety of ingredients for flavor and texture. One of the greatest things about marinara is how much better it tastes after simmering for a long period of time. If your marinara is too runny, you can always reduce it more! If that’s not good enough, you can also try other methods like cornstarch, pasta water, and more. Good luck!

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