How To Thicken Stewed Tomatoes

Today, we’re going to look at how to thicken stewed tomatoes. Stewed tomatoes are perhaps one of the most underrated foods in existence because they’re so good but so simple at the same time. 

To make them thicker, we need to understand what it means to thicken stewed tomatoes and how you go about doing it. And if you do it right, your stewed tomatoes won’t just be good. They’ll be great. The best ingredients used to thicken stewed tomatoes are cornstarch, flour, or arrowroot powder. You can also add breadcrumbs as an alternative.

In this brief guide, we’ll explain how to thicken stewed tomatoes at home so that you can make the perfect sauce every time.

What are Stewed Tomatoes?

The word “stew” refers to a combination of vegetables and spices cooked in a liquid medium. 

The stewed tomatoes recipe is trendy in the United States, especially during summer and fall when fresh tomatoes are available in plenty. The dish is prepared using fresh tomatoes, garlic, and herbs and is typically consumed with bread or meat.

Canned stewed tomatoes are relatively cheap and have a long shelf life. As such, they are often used to make sauces in various dishes.

Ways to Thicken Stewed Tomatoes

When making stewed tomatoes, it’s good to know how to thicken them so they won’t be watery. This way, they’ll last longer and have more substance. Keep reading if you want more information on preparing stewed tomatoes properly.

Using Cornstarch to Thicken Stewed Tomatoes

Cornstarch is a common thickener for tomato-based sauces and stews. But it works best when you prepare it before adding it to your sauce.

You can use cornstarch to thicken a wide variety of liquids: soups, sauces, gravies, stews, and stir-fries. And you don’t need much in most cases. Just one or two teaspoons per cup of liquid will do the trick. Your sauce will become goopy and flavorless if you dump in too much.

There are three steps to adding cornstarch to stewed tomatoes:

  1. Dissolve the cornstarch in water before adding it to the stewed tomatoes. To ensure no lumps in your sauce, mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with one tablespoon of cold water. 
  2. Stir gently right away so that the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
  3. Once you stop stirring, let the mixture come back to a simmer and cook for two minutes more before serving.

Using Flour to Thicken Stewed Tomatoes

Instead of adding more tomatoes to the stew, you can add flour to thicken stewed tomatoes. However, you don’t want the taste and flavor of the flour in your stew. Remember, a little goes a long way. 

Here’s how to thicken tomato stew using flour:

  1. Use one teaspoon of all-purpose flour for every cup of liquid in your stew.
  2. Whisk in the flour until it is completely dissolved into the liquid. If you use a soup spoon, stir very slowly to ensure that the flour doesn’t clump up. 
  3. Make sure there are no lumps on the surface of the stew or at the bottom of your cooking pot before putting it back on the stove.
  4. Add more flour if needed. If your stew still looks too thin after adding a teaspoon of flour, then you will have to use more and repeat steps 2 and 3 above.

Use Arrowroot Powder (or another Starch)

Arrowroot powder is a starchy ingredient that is a good thickener for tomato-based sauces and soups. Simply adding it to your stew will give you a more decadent, thicker sauce in no time.

For example, if you wanted to thicken 8 cups of stewed tomatoes, simply boil 1 tablespoon of arrowroot with 2 cups of water. You’d do this in a separate pot until the arrowroot is dissolved and add it to your stew. This way, you’ll have thicker sauce in just 10 minutes. 

Just be aware of the amount of arrowroot you use. Following the above ratio as a guide is recommended to achieve your desired thickness.

Add Breadcrumbs

The easiest way to thicken stews is to add breadcrumbs. Simply top your finished stew with a layer of seasoned breadcrumbs, allowing them to soak up any excess, unwanted liquid. You can then choose to serve your dish with or without the breadcrumbs. 

If you’re planning to remove the layer of breadcrumbs before serving, you can even use day-old bread. 


There you have it. You should now be able to thicken stewed tomatoes correctly. Always test your sauce before serving and make sure that it is thick enough for your tastes. 

Remember, different dishes require different consistency, so always prepare your recipes with a tiny sample first and make any needed adjustments.