How annoying it can be! You are cooking dinner, everything is almost ready, only your pasta sauce is still too watery. Fortunately, we are going to cover how to thicken pasta sauce six easy ways.
The best way, if time allows, is of course to let the sauce simmer for a while allowing some water to evaporate, causing the sauce to slowly thicken.
Those who do not have time to spare, or are simply impatient may be better off with the several tricks I’ve listed below to thicken their sauce!
6 Simple Ways to Thicken Pasta Sauce
How to Thicken Pasta Sauce with Cornstarch
Our first way is by adding a cornstarch binder to the sauce, just be careful how you add the cornstarch as you don’t want it to clump.
Start small, as you don’t want to over-thicken (this can be easily done). Rule of thumb is 1tbsp per 2 cups of sauce.
The best way is to take some of your sauce out into a bowl and mix it with the cornstarch until you have a smooth mix, then return and mix it into the sauce.
Another method is to make a slurry by mixing your cornstarch with a small amount of water, then blending it into the pasta sauce until its the right consistency.
Once you add your cornstarch mix into the sauce, it will reach full thickening within a minute. Repeat steps until you have the desired thickeness!
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How to Thicken Pasta Sauce with Flour
Our second trick is similar to the first. It is slightly more complicated, but a great option if you don’t have any cornstarch on-hand. It also runs the risk of clumping up your sauce, so attention should be payed to consistent stirring.
We can make a traditional flour roux by taking equal parts of all-purpose flour and butter.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan, careful not to overheat and burn it.
Add your flour, immediately whisking it to a smooth consistency.
Cook the roux for a minute, then add it to your pasta sauce. The sauce will thicken gradually as it simmers, remember to stir it regularly! The sauce will get fully thickened within 1 minute at simmer. Enjoy!
Additonal Reading: How to Reheat Biscuits for Perfect Results
How to Thicken Pasta Sauce with Egg Yolks
My third method is less effective than the first two, and will likely require 2 or more eggs.
Crack your eggs and separate your yolks from the egg whites.
Mix yolks in bowl until creamy smooth.
Slowly pour your blended yolks into pasta sauce while stirring constantly.
Your pasta sauce will thicken up gradually as it simmers. This method adds a slight taste of egg, and in certain light flavored sauces it may be noticeable.
How to Thicken Pasta Sauce with Potatoes
Our fourth way to thicken up your sauce is by using potato! This is the longest method, as you must cook the potatoes first.
If you’ve never used this method, you might be surprised to hear it works, but potatoes are a great natural source of starch and work really well.
Pro tip; You can also use instant mash potato!
First you must wash, peel, cube and boil your potatoes.
Mash the potato, or blend it with a mixer to get a nice creamy texture. Essentially you want a very loose mashed potato!
Take this and add it to your sauce, stirring as you add.
Potatoes have a lot of starch, so 1 large potato should be enough to thicken even the thinnest sauce, just be sure to give it a few minutes to simmer and thicken up!
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How to Thicken Pasta Sauce with Pasta Water
Our fifth way to thicken your sauce is by using the pasta water you’re preparing already. Its a method that’s as old as the hills, and it works great!
Pasta is very high in starches, and when it is prepared, it releases these starches into the water. Usually these get poured down the drain, but you can use it to very quickly thicken up your pasta sauce.
Collect the pasta water when straining your pasta.
Mix a couple tablespoons of the pasta water into your sauce.
Give it a minute or two, and your sauce will thicken up gradually as it simmers.
Be patient and add more pasta water until you get the desired thickeness.
How to Thicken Pasta Sauce with Cheese
Our last way to is to use cheese to thicken up your sauce. Probably the most expensive way but easily the most delicious!
This method depends on what type of sauce you need to thicken, and if your cheese will work, I’ll let you decide.
Grate the cheese or use a food processor to get a nice fine grated texture.
Any cheese will work, but the firmer the cheese the better as it will thicken your sauce more, with less cheese needed.
Simply mix this grated cheese into your sauce while stirring constantly.
You will see the sauce thicken right away, and get the added bonus of extra cheese flavor. Win. Win!