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How to Fix Watery Tomato Sauce

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Sometimes no matter how long I cook the sauce down, I discover it is watery when I open a jar.

Watery sauce not only looks unappealing, but it fails to adhere to pasta and makes pizza crust soggy.

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In the past I would heat it up on the stove and add a little tomato paste to thicken it up. Now that I know about BPA in canned foods, I don’t do this anymore. Instead I drain the extra liquid in the sauce through a coffee filter.


It takes only a few seconds to fix watery tomato sauce and the drained liquid can be added to the pasta water for some extra flavor.


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  1. I’ve noticed that too I just cooked down a pint to a cup, still water in it, so odd. It’s like the water just separates, from the paste the paste is very thick however. Hard to win. I remember cooking down sauce on cookie sheet in the oven, but totally avoiding more cooking surfaces, cast iron and stainless is about it for me these days.

  2. I do this with my salsa. No matter how thick it is when I can it, it always turns a bit watery. I hate it when it makes my tortilla chips soggy! I recently bought a permanent filter for the coffee pot, so I have a good (probably lifetime) supply of paper filters for the sauce and salsa!

    1. One of us purchased the wrong coffee filters for our machine a while back so these are extras. They do come in handy for filtering other liquids. I still have about 200 to use up.

  3. What a great idea! I’ve had my fair share of watery tomato sauce. When I scald my tomatoes, I usually cover them with plastic wrap and let them sit for a hour or two before putting them through a food mill. It’s amazing how much water comes out. And even though, sometimes that’s not enough.

    1. I found that frozen tomatoes usually result in a watery sauce no matter how long I simmer. Usually a lot of liquid drains if I allow the frozen tomatoes to thaw out in the fridge before sending through a food mill.

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