how to thicken marinara sauce

Ever since my mum taught me how to thicken Marinara Sauce I’m not frightened if it turns out watery.

Maybe you just finished preparing this sauce and you find out it is too watery for your liking.

You don’t have to throw it away or make another one. I’m sure you are looking for how to thicken your marinara sauce. 

Well, you only need to read this piece article to the end and I will show you how to.

Marinara sauce is a very popular and relished sauce for pasta found in other Italian-American cuisines.

It is made from plum tomatoes and a blend of different Italian herbs and spices.  The sauce is best enjoyed while thick.

This is why we have to prepare our marinara sauce thick.

You can make it thick while preparing by draining the tomatoes in cases of canned tomatoes. Or you bring it to a rapid boil before simmering when you use fresh tomatoes.

Uses Of Thickened Marinara Sauce

use of thickened sauce

There are different ways to eat and enjoy your sauce.

  • Use it as a sauce for any cooked plain pasta.
  • Prepare it as a dip for breadsticks, fries, jalapeno pepper, or mozzarella sticks.
  • It can be used as the sauce for your next homemade pizza.
  • It can be used as the sauce for your baked spaghetti.
  • It can be used as fillings or stuffings for calzones. Calzones are Italian oven-baked bread.
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How To Thicken Marinara Sauce

how thicken marinara sauce

In case you find yourself with a homemade watery marinara sauce and you would like to know how to make Marinara sauce thicker, you’re in luck.

You should follow my simple and quick proven methods below:

Simmer the Sauce

This will boil out the liquid and make it thicker. You only need to put your pot of sauce on low heat for  10-15 minutes.

Make sure to stir it frequently as you boil so it does not start to burn. This would not change the taste of your sauce in any way.

This is how you simmer.

  1. Put the sauce on a pan.
  2. Simmer it on a stovetop at low heat
  3. Stir regularly for between 10 to 60 minutes

Add Corn-Starch Slurry

add cornstarch

This is achieved by mixing one part corn-starch with one part water to make a slurry. After which you then add it to your sauce.

Corn starch is a well-known thickener and you can as well maximize this function in thickening your sauce.

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Here are the basic steps to follow.

  1. Mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with another of cold water
  2. Stir the mixture too well until it turns out thick
  3. Empty into your sauce
  4. Let it boil at low heat
Note: Adding cornstarch would not affect the taste of your sauce in any way. It rather helps to thicken it.

Add Flour Roux

add a flour roux

You can make this by mixing one part of the flour with one part of the oil in a pan. hen you heat it up for a few minutes until it gets thick.

You can then add this mixture to your sauce to make it thicker. It adds creaminess and a finer scent to your dish.

The downside is that you might not have the original taste of the sauce anymore.  The flour would definitely change the taste.

But if you don’t mind, then you can adopt this method in thickening your marinara sauce.

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Add More Tomato Paste

Adding more tomato paste to your sauce will help thicken it. It will even add more tomato flavor to your sauce.

This might actually increase the quantity of your sauce but it would definitely make it thicker.

You can use either canned or fresh tomatoes.

Add Mashed Irish Potatoes

mashed potatoes

You can also use mashed Irish potatoes to thicken your sauce. Potatoes are starchy foods and most starchy foods get thick when cooked.

You need some potatoes based on the quantity of your sauce. Boil these potatoes, put them in a bowl, and mash them with water until you get a thick paste.

Then you can add your mixture in a small spoonful to the sauce to make it thicker. 

Add Egg Yolk

This method will alter the taste of your sauce but if you do not mind, you can try this out.

Separate the yolk from the white and beat it separately. Then mix it with a little flour and pour it inside your sauce.

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It’ll give the sauce a thicker consistency automatically.

What Are Other Options?

other options

The water drained from boiled pasta can also be used to thicken your sauce.

This water is starchy in nature and you can add it in moderate quantities to your sauce. Heavy Whipped cream can also be used to thicken your sauce.

Get a small quantity of heavy cream and whip it until it is very fluffy. Then add it to your sauce, stirring constantly as you add.

You can also thicken your sauce by adding ground beef. If you are not a vegetarian you may not mind having some beef in your dish.

This is a good method of thickening your marinara sauce.

Note: Most likely when you think of sauces for your pasta, the sauce that comes to mind is the marinara sauce.

Substitutes For Marinara Sauce

the substitutes

Marinara sauce is a flavorful sauce that can be used as a dipping sauce or in a pasta dish.

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Nonetheless, it might not be available in the instance you need to make use of it.

Do not worry as I have four sauces that can be used to act as a backup for your sauce. These sauces have been tried, tested, and approved.

They will make your dish and the broth as thicker as you wanted.

Option #1. Pizza Sauce

Pizza sauce is also made from tomatoes and seasoning. Tomatoes are always thick and healthy for consumption.

It can also be used as a fine substitute for marinara sauce.

Option #2. Alfredo Sauce

an alfredo sauce

This alfredo sauce is made from cheese, parmesan butter, and salt. It is thickened with pasta cooking water, known for its heavy cream.

It is a very nice sauce for your pasta and it can very well act as a substitute.

Option #3. Pesto Sauce

This sauce is made from a fresh mix of basil, garlic, nuts, and olive oil with plenty of cheese.

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This will make a quick sauce for your pizza or for your pasta as well.

So, it is okay to use Alfredo sauce as a substitute for thickening your marinara sauce.

Option #4. Bolognese sauce

a bolognese sauce

Bolognese is made from tomato sauce and ground beef. This sauce has more beef than tomatoes as its ingredient.

Bolognese sauce is highly nutritious and is a great option for meat lovers.

So, bolognese sauce is a great substitute to thicken your Marinara sauce


Your marinara sauce plays a crucial role in you enjoying your pasta or any dish that you prefer, so that is why you must learn how to thicken Marinara sauce.

It is common knowledge that it is best enjoyed and super satisfying while thick. 

Sometimes you may not be able to get it to be thick while preparing. But you can still thicken it later with any of the methods listed in this blog post.

The goal is to enjoy a plate of delicious and lustrous marinara sauce instead of a thin bowl of tomato soup.

Cornstarch is known to be a leading thickener and the most embraced.

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You just need to do it correctly, using the right quantities while making the thickener, then continue heating at a low temperature.

In the blink of an eye, it should be thicker and thank me later.

Don’t forget to invite me for dinner whenever you make that thick delicious dish of Marinara sauce and pasta.

Till then, thank you for stopping by. We do hope to see you next time.