Should Tomato Sauce Be Covered When Cooking Or Not?

This is a question that has been debated for years.

Many chefs say it should be covered, while others insist the lid should remain off. The controversy stems from the belief that covering the sauce traps moisture and prevents evaporation of liquid, which can lead to a dryer product.

However, we’re going to look at this belief more closely and figure out what you need to know about how covering your sauce affects its flavor.

Now, let’s talk about it.

Should tomato sauce be covered with a lid while cooking?

You should simmer your tomato sauces without a lid if you really want to thicken them. Put the lid on after it starts to boil. Reduce the heat then simmer the sauce after that. When it is finished, you can take the lid off.

To make tomato sauce, heat the ingredients. It’s the easiest method for doing it. Store-bought sauces are especially easy to make this way.

But if you can also try something else if you’re really adventurous with your recipe.

should tomato sauce be covered when cooking

Will the sauce thicken with or without the lid?

If you want to thicken your sauce, then your best bet is to reduce the water. There are many ways to do this. You can heat up the sauce until there is no more water.

This technique is what people refer to as reducing.

Because it reduces the amount of liquid in the pan. If you have a lid on, then you will get rid of all of the water that sits on top of it and falls down into the mix every time you stir it.

The lid should be off the pot if you want to thicken your sauces faster. If you try doing it with a cover on, it might bring other problems to you.

For example, water might rise up and separate from the sauce resulting in a thickened sauce at the bottom of your pot that you might overcook without noticing.

The simmering technique is when you cook food on a gentle level of heat. This helps to reduce the sauce and get the best flavor. You don’t want to have it cooking on too high of a heat or else it will become too hot.

This can be avoided by keeping the lid off, which will trap less heat.

How long should tomato sauces stay simmering?

How long should you cook your tomato sauce? There is no one answer for this. You can make it quickly. Or you can slowly simmer it.

But the most common time is from one to six hours.

If you find that the sauce is too dry or too sweet, then add more liquid such as water during cooking. Or taste the sauce while cooking and see if you must cook the mix longer.

If you want a fresh flavor, then simmer everything with high heat only for a short period instead of simmering for long periods. The sweeter your sauce would become if you cook it for a longer duration.

If you are making a meat sauce, it will taste better if you cook for a longer time. Some cooks pointed out that after four hours of cooking, there is no more flavor to be gained.

But others might say otherwise. Personally, I would cook the meat sauce for two to three hours and make sure to taste it while cooking so you can decide how long to keep cooking.

Will a high heat or a low heat would thicken the sauce better?

Tomato sauces will thicken much faster when cooked at a high temperature.

One thing to remember is even when the heat source is off, your pan will often remain hot for quite some time before it cools down. And that would continue thickening the sauce without you noticing.

So, you need to take the pan off the stove or turn the heat down before it cools down too much so that it doesn’t get scorched.

Cooking tomato sauces at a high temperature will require less time but if you’re not careful, then the sauces will be burnt quickly and have a very bad taste.

Best ways to stop the annoying splattering

When you boil down tomatoes, the sauce can splatter. That’s not always bad because it means that the sauce is cooking and getting thicker.

But sometimes it can make a lot of mess and stains. The cleanup can be tough too. You don’t want to waste time on the clean-up, so we need to avoid tomato sauce from splattering all over your pots and pans.

The most efficient way to do this is with simmering because when you simmer there’s less chance for major splattering in your pot or pan since it’s a gentle boil instead of a hard one like in boiling water.

A splatter screen can be used while cooking the tomato sauce if you don’t like it splattering. Put it on top of a pot and start cooking. After a while, reduce the heat to simmer and keep cooking until it is done.

These screens are metal mesh covers that you put over your pan while cooking. They fend off the splatters and let heat escape as well as steam. There are different sizes of splatter screens. Most of them are round.

Place a splatter screen on top of your pan when you cook to avoid making big messes from the splatters. Also, use a large pan to allow for more evaporation in order to reduce sauces quickly without causing a mess.

Can tomato sauce be overcooked?

Yes, and if you overcook tomato sauce, it may taste burnt. And you might accidentally do it by continuing simmering when most liquid is gone. When this happens, your sauce would stick to the pan and burn easily.

Besides burning, cooking for too long can make your sauce have a harsh flavor that you do not like.

The way that you cook tomato sauce is important because there are natural acids in tomatoes that can make them bitter if they are heated up too much.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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