Nobody likes watery pizza sauce. Besides, it makes a pizza wet and that’s just not good. But how can you go about thickening the sauce before you even transfer it to the pizza base? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Here is what you can do.
So, how do you thicken Pizza sauce? You can thicken pizza sauce by either reducing the water content (simmering some of the water off or draining the water out) or by adding an additional thickening ingredient. Passata, tomato paste, flour, cornstarch, or butter work well. Just consider that some thickening ingredients may change the original taste of the pizza sauce.
So several options.
Each with its pros and cons.
But each one can be used to safely salvage a pizza sauce.
Whether its store-bought or a homemade recipe.
Besides, they are generally worth a try if it means your pizza sauce, or worse – pizza would otherwise go to waste.
But I’m not going to leave you here.
Instead, I’d like to run you through the options in a little more detail.
So without further ado, let’s get into it!
How Do You Make Pizza Sauce Less Watery?
You can make pizza sauce less watery by either reducing the water content of the sauce or adding an ingredient to thicken it up.
A lot will depend on your pizza sauce and your preferences.
For instance, reducing the water content is better if you have a little time and like the flavor of your sauce as it is.
Adding ingredients however is usually much quicker and can be used to add additional flavor or new tastes to the existing sauce.
You may or may not want to do that.
Use Tomato Puree/Passata Instead of Chopped Tomatoes
First and foremost, have you considered using passata instead of chopped tomatoes?
Well, you should.
Passata is just a tomato that’s already been pureed and passed through a sieve to strain out the water.
The result, a much thicker and richer form of tomatoes.
Just consider that tomato puree is the name it generally goes by in the US, passata is what is often referred to in Italy/the rest of Europe.
Reduce The Water
One of the key ingredients of pizza sauce, tomatoes, naturally contain a lot of water.
So much so that your sauce may be quite runny, even if you follow a recipe to a tee.
This is increasingly likely if you use chopped tomatoes, for instance.
So, perhaps the first thing to do, preferably even before you start making your sauce, is to drain your tomatoes with a sieve or a colander.
This will enable you to take a lot of the unnecessary water out and will make the sauce much thicker when you add the remaining ingredients.
Secondly, you can always simmer off the sauce for longer once the sauce has been created/put together.
This is ideal just before you intend to put the sauce on your pizza, or if you have a jarred pizza sauce that you are cannot proceed with the above tip.
If you do decide to heat the sauce, just be sure it has a chance to cool before you transfer it to your pizza base.
And you may need to boil it for some time on high heat.
This will naturally boil off the water found in the sauce.
Just consider it may also thicken on cooling too – there is that too.
When it comes to adding ingredients you have plenty of options.
First and foremost, and perhaps the best place to start is with tomato paste.
This will provide an instant thicker consistency to your pizza sauce.
Just be mindful that tomato paste sometimes includes herbs and spices – and this will therefore alter the flavor of your pizza sauce.
Perhaps for the better. Maybe for the worse.
It comes down to personal preference.
Either way, know what you are adding before you do so. Not everyone may like it.
Plain tomato paste is generally best.
In regards to other potential ingredients to add, consider using:
A great instant thickener that does not generally alter the flavor of your pizza sauce.
A little goes a long way with cornstarch.
Start small and add a little more if you need to.
Generally, a teaspoon is a good place to start.
And mix it first into a little water first to make a paste before adding and stirring into the pizza sauce.
You will need to cook the cornstarch through however or otherwise your sauce will become lumpy.
Perhaps a little more time-consuming here but an excellent solution nevertheless.
Also ideal if you’re not consuming gluten or just want to boost the vitamin/mineral profile of the sauce and add some fiber.
All you need to do is boil potatoes until they start to fall apart, mash them up and then add them to your pizza sauce slowly, a spoon at a time.
Do this until you get the right consistency.
The result, a thicker, creamier pizza sauce!
Butter is a great one, but do consider it will add a considerable amount of calories/fat to the sauce.
Because you need to use quite a lot of butter for a thickening effect.
You’ll need to melt it too into a paste, before mixing and stirring it throughout your pizza sauce.
You may need a cup of butter for this so it’s not for everyone or for the faint-hearted!
White flour is another good option – so long as you are willing to stir it through.
Otherwise, just like cornstarch, you can end up with lumpy sauce.
So, use a little flour at a time and mix it in properly. Be patient and continue string.
Stir, stir, stir.
These are all good and tested options, but you could be a little creative here too.
Have a gluten sensitivity or do not want to work with wheat flour, why not try coconut flour, rice flour, or even almond flour?
You can even consider tapioca starch, potato starch, or gelatin.
Pizza sauce is supposed to be thick. And it is almost always better when it is.
Besides, if it’s wet and sloppy, it’s not particularly flavorsome or appetizing.
And it may even evaporate while in the oven, making your pizza dry when it’s ready.
So, do ensure that your pizza sauce is sufficiently thick before adding to your pizza bases.
Thankfully, the ways in which to do so are cheap, quick, and relatively easy.
And there are dozens of ways to do so.
You can really get creative here or introduce new flavors to your pizza sauce too.
Perhaps even create a new signature recipe in the process.
Before you know it, you could be the next Papa John!
You should only add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to pizza sauce at a time to thicken it, adding more slowly and over time to achieve the consistency you desire. Be sure to only add a cornstarch slurry to your sauce – a pre-blended paste of cornstarch and water in a 1:1 ratio of each. Stir frequently and be sure to wait several minutes in between each teaspoon of cornstarch slurry added.
Want to learn how to thicken other sauces? Then go ahead and check out my other related guides:
- How To Thicken Spaghetti Sauce
- How To Thicken Marinara Sauce
- How To Thicken Hot Sauce
- How To Thicken Buffalo Sauce
Hi there. I’m Jeremy – a passionate food technologist with several decades in the food industry. With a love for sauces, food, and nutrition, I decided to create WeWantTheSauce. Here I share my experience, knowledge, and recommendations; from ingredients and recipes to storage all the way through to nutrition for every sauce imaginable.