I am making spaghetti sauce from home-grown tomatoes. They were standard garden tomatoes - not Romas or anything you'd traditionally use for sauce, but hey, they're what I had.

The sauce has been simmering for a few hours and is reducing nicely. To stir, it has a lovely consistency, but when it sits, water collects at the bottom and the sauce becomes almost mealy until I stir it all up again.

In other words, it's not just thin and "watery," but the liquid (virtually clear by itself) is actually separating out.

The sauce doesn't necessarily need to be "thickened" (although it could be), but I'd like to stop it from separating like this. I'd rather avoid using canned tomato paste if possible. Any other ideas?

  • You need to cook the sauce a bit more; especially if water sit at the bottom.
    – Max
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 19:24
  • Thanks for a quick reply! :) The problem is that cooking it longer is what I've always done before, and the sauce gets really thick and chunky - almost like a chutney or something. And there's always still some water that runs out as it sits anyway, so I'd really like to find a way to "bind" it somehow so the moisture is still there, but just not separating out.
    – Matthew
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 19:29
  • 1
    How did you prepare the tomatoes?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 20:23
  • related : cooking.stackexchange.com/q/32164/67 ; cooking.stackexchange.com/q/63780/67
    – Joe
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 21:10
  • and cooking.stackexchange.com/q/14821/67 (lower answers mention tomato paste & dried mushrooms)
    – Joe
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 21:13

2 Answers 2


Par-blending the sauce (eg with a stick blender) could thicken/emulsify it just enough to stop it from separating but without adding any thickener.


I would recommend adding some oil (like extra virgin olive oil), and an emulsifier, like a little ground mustard, to help the water and oil mix together, so that it gets thicker and mixes with the sauce evenly. I don't recommend adding oil if you're going to can the sauce afterward, though (due to the botulism risk with oil).

I do recommend looking at rackandboneman's answer, too.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.