How can I thicken my spaghetti sauce, it has been cooking for 12 hours and still very runny? Thank you!

Anne Minton


lamange February 10, 2017
Here's a trick I discovered. In two enamel covered Pots or a Stainless Steel pots, I separate the Peeled tomatoes into two pots. In both Pots, I create my Italian “Soffritto”: Cold Press Extra Virgin Kalamata Olive Oil, Minced Fresh Garlic and a small amount of Fresh Onion or Shallots. I put the the Peeled tomatoes in one pot and put the watery tomato sauce in the other pot. I add my fresh Basil Salt and any other spices later.

The watery sauce Simmers or reduces while I'm cooking the thicker sauce in the other. When the watery pot of sauce has reduced to my desired thickness, I simply combine the two pots into one.

I have reduced the watery sauce to a much thicker sauce in the same amount of time I was cooking the thicker sauce. If I need more time for the watery sauce to reduce, I simply put the peeled tomatoes on simmer or off until I have reduced the watery sauce to my desired thickness.
Ru P. August 2, 2016
Because we're making thick Italian American sauce not Roman sauce.
Shuna L. December 2, 2012
I cook my tomato sauce in the oven. The bigger & the flatter the pan is, the faster the sauce will evaporate. I tend to set short timers, like 15-20 minutes, and stir when the timers go off. This way I can keep an eye pn my sauce and take it to the exact thickness I want, and also I can keep the edges from getting too burnt. My stove stays cleaner and I don't have to worry about the bottom of my sauce pot burning! This is great advice for making chutney and quick berry jam too.
Nancy December 22, 2017
Came across this thread long after it started, but (late) thanks Shuna - I love the idea of oven baking for both tomato sauce and preserves. Nancy
Anne M. December 2, 2012
Pierino! I would love to have one of your sauce recipes!?? I am making the sauce as my Mother used to make it but am always looking for a better way! Thank you!
pierino November 28, 2012
Speaking as a hard core Roman cook I can't imagine why anyone would want to cook a "spaghetti sauce" for twelve hours. Or even four hours. In Italy a sauce for pasta is usually pretty loose. Even a rich bolognese style sauce shouldn't take that long.
CindiB December 12, 2015
I just learned this from Bobby Dean. I can't believe I have never heard such a thing. I've been cooking spaghetti sauce for hours, if not days. :/ I feel like I should apologize to all those tomatoes. THANK YOU!
Ru P. August 2, 2016
Because we're making thick Italian American sauce not Roman sauce.
Nikki H. December 22, 2017
Overnight cooking in a slow cooker isn't that uncommon or odd.
babytiger November 28, 2012
Chicken wing tips! I know that is kind of weird, but the gelatin released from the wing tips thicken the sauce nicely, and also add some flavor.
Kristen W. November 27, 2012
In addition to what big pan said, a pinch of sugar can help balance the acidity of the tomato paste.
Sam1148 November 28, 2012
If your sauce super acid..a pinch of baking soda mellows it out better than sugar. But just a pinch. Too much will neutralize all the flavor.
bigpan November 26, 2012
A bit if extra fine bread crumbs can help. As you boil it down the flavors will intensify, so you might have to add some liquid ... sounds counter productive, but you want it to taste good and not like a tin of tomato paste.
Anne M. November 25, 2012
Thank you all! I cooked it low and covered overnight. It added 2 cans of paste and a handful of grated parm reggiano and ii am leaving it uncovered and it seems to be doing to trick!! Thank you!
gt9 November 25, 2012
I agree with Monita. Have you been cooking covered this whole time?
candacemay November 25, 2012
I would add a 8oz brick of cream cheese it would help thicken. Also some grated parmesan cheese. only other option tomato paste might help

Voted the Best Reply!

Monita November 25, 2012
Has it been covered and at a low temp? Sounds like ti needed to reduce more. A higher temp and uncovered would make that happen
Recommended by Food52