Will Flour Thicken Sauce?

Flour is the most widely accessible sauce thickening. Try adding a beurre manie (equal parts softened butter and flour, kneaded together to produce a paste) or a slurry (equal parts flour and water, whisked together) to a too-thin sauce. Both are excellent thickeners for rich and creamy sauces, such as steak sauce recipes. (We also employ this technique to thicken stew!) Two tablespoons of flour should be used for every cup of liquid as a basic rule of thumb. Start by adding a small amount, then heat it while stirring for a few minutes to give the sauce time to thicken and cook off the taste of raw flour; if the results are insufficient, add more. Another flour-based thickener is a roux, which is equal parts flour and butter whisked and cooked together over heat. However, roux is typically used as a building block in the early stages of sauce-making, so if your sauce is already prepared, it’s not a fantastic cure.

Can you thicken sauce using regular flour?

Since all-purpose flour, also known as plain flour, is widely available and most people keep some on hand in their kitchen cabinets, it’s useful to understand how to thicken sauces using this common ingredient.

How it thickens:

Starch makes up the majority of gluten flours; in fact, starch makes up 75% of the average plain flour. This starch’s ability to absorb water and expand and burst under the appropriate conditions of heat, generating a gel-like substance is what makes it such an effective thickener. Once the water and flour have joined together and gelatinized, the process is irreversible.

The flour above (middle spoon) looks so creamier than the cornflour and arrowroot on either side because it is illegal to use bleaching agents in flour in the UK. For my US readers, who will need to use extra flour if using a bleached type because to the gluten that the procedure removes, I thought I’d make that point.

You will need to add a little bit extra starch if you plan to use wholewheat flour rather than plain because it contains less starch per tablespoon than plain white flour.

Texture, appearance, flavour:

Flour is perfect for rich or cream-based recipes like my creamy chicken soup because it gives them a silky, creamy texture and more substance. Uncooked flour can give sauces an unappealing raw flavor, but when cooked (as per the procedures below), flour becomes nutty and rich.

How to and how much?

The usual rule is 2 teaspoons of flour to thicken 1 liter of liquid, however this obviously varies depending on how thick the sauce is already and how thick you’d like it to be.

Making a flour slurry is the simplest approach to thicken a sauce with ordinary flour. Simply combine equal amounts of cold water and flour in a cup, whisk until smooth, and then add into the sauce. To remove the taste of raw flour, boil the mixture for 5 minutes. The starch granules are separated by combining the flour and cold water first, which reduces the likelihood that they will clump when they come into contact with the hot liquid.

The second choice is a Beure marnie, which is a dough made of equal parts butter and flour. For thickening little amounts of liquid, such as a pan sauce, it works best. A tiny amount should be added to a hot sauce pan and whisked in to mix. To cook and thicken the flour, simmer for three minutes.

You can start a dish with a roux or the dusting technique to thicken the sauce if you’ve previously found it to be too thin.

Similar to the beure marnie, a roux is produced with an equal amount of fat and flour, with the exception that it is cooked before the sauce is made. The flour should simply be added to a pot with the specified fat or oil, stirred to blend, and let to melt until it turns a light golden color. It’s crucial to keep in mind that this color will transfer to the finished sauce, making it inappropriate for all recipes. Of course, you can continue to cook a roux after it turns golden to get a richer color in your sauce, but the overcooked flour loses its capacity to thicken. After creating the roux, add the liquid and carry out the next steps of the recipe as usual, adding a 3-minute simmer to thicken.

If you’ve cooked casseroles and stews, you’ll be familiar with the dusting technique. Before cooking, the meat, vegetables, or other components are tossed in flour. Essentially, this accomplishes the same thing as a roux: the flour is cooked when the oil in the pan and the fat from the meat (or other ingredients) combine. Personally, I believe that this approach is simpler than creating a roux. It eliminates the unnecessary step and reduces the likelihood that the flour may burn.

It’s important to note that neither the slurry nor the dusting methods contain additional fats, so if you’re managing your fat intake, those might be your best options.

The majority of flour-thickened sauces and casseroles reheat and store well. The sauce will thicken and become more opaque as it cools, but once it is cooked again, it should regain its original consistency.

What are three methods for thickening a sauce?

Even the greatest of us have experienced this: Despite your meticulous attention to detail, the dish didn’t come out as you had hoped. A gravy should have enough thickness to coat the back of a spoon, right? Why shouldn’t Alfredo sauce adhere to the pasta strands’ sides?

Professional recipe developers (like the people in our Test Kitchen) make an effort to foresee everything, but occasionally extraneous variables interfere. Perhaps you like your gravy a little thicker than they do, or perhaps the humidity level in your kitchen hindered the flour’s ability to thicken things up.

Use these techniques to easily mend sloppy, thin soups and underwhelming gravies.


Adding flour is a great technique to thicken dairy-based sauces, thick soups, and gravies if avoiding gluten is not an issue. My preferred technique is to prepare a roux (a mixture of all-purpose flour and fat in equal parts) and whisk in 2 ounces for each cup of liquid. You won’t have to worry about your family getting sick or the food tasting like raw flour because the flour is already cooked throughout the roux-making procedure.

As an alternative, you can mix some water right into the uncooked flour; use roughly 2 tablespoons for every cup of liquid in your recipe. When the sauce has thickened and the flavor of the flour has been cooked off, whisk the slurry into the pot and simmer it for a few minutes.

The next thickening is preferable if you need to keep clarity while increasing viscosity because flour will obscure your sauce.

Cornstarch or arrowroot

The gluten-free alternatives to thickening with flour are cornstarch and arrowroot. Additionally, they’ll keep the sauce pure and free of clouds. In the recipe, 1 tablespoon is required for every cup of liquid. Cornstarch and water are combined to make a slurry, which is then added to the saucepan. Until the cornstarch is thoroughly integrated and the sauce begins to thicken, whisk continuously over high heat. (Find out when it’s okay to eat cornstarch.)

What makes the two different from one another? In a nutshell, arrowroot freezes better than cornstarch and is naturally free of GMOs. However, it does turn slimy when mixed with dairy, so avoid using it as a gravy thickening.

Tomato paste

The beginning of the preparation is the ideal moment to add tomato paste. When heated, the sugars caramelize and the essential oils are released, but you may whisk it in at the end to help tomato-based soups and sauces bind. It can also be used to brown sauces or beef stews, though we wouldn’t suggest it for dairy-based sauces because it gives a splash of color and tomato flavor.

Reduce the liquid

Reducing the liquid is a fantastic method to thicken things up if you have a lot of additional time. The other flavors will concentrate when the liquid evaporates, which may or may not be a good thing. You might transfer some of the sauce to a large saute pan to speed up the process because boiling a large stockpot of sauce can take some time. When it’s nice and thick, simply stir it back into the main pot.

Swirl in a pat of butter

If you’re almost there but not quite, this technique will give you an extra boost even if it won’t add much thickness. Just be sure to incorporate the butter into your sauce right before serving. High heat will cause the butter-infused sauce to crack, undermining the purpose of its thickening ability.

Add an egg yolk

Egg yolks are a traditional method for thickening custards and salad dressings, but they also excel at thickening rich cream sauces. Place the egg yolk in a bowl and gradually whisk in about a cup of the hot sauce to prevent the egg from scrambling. Then, while whisking constantly, pour the tempered yolk mixture into the saucepan.

Puree some vegetables

When pureed, starchy vegetables like potatoes, winter squash, or celeriac make great thickening agents. These vegetables can be easily roasted, boiled, and then processed in a food processor until smooth. The sauce will rapidly thicken once you whisk it into it. You may also include cooked beans or lentils of any kind, steamed and mashed cauliflower, or other vegetables, but keep in mind that the latter would give the dish more flavor.

You could also be able to purée half or more of your soup or sauce to thicken it up, depending on the type of recipe you’re cooking. It would thicken things up without adding any additional ingredients, but it would also lessen the dish’s lumpy consistency.

Try these fixes the next time your sauce seems a little thin. You’ll undoubtedly discover one that suits your recipe.

Which is better for thickening sauce, flour or cornstarch?

It’s crucial to remember that cornstarch has twice the thickening power of flour, whether you ran out of flour or need a gluten-free thickener for your soup recipe because someone in your household has an allergy restriction or you ran out of flour.

Does simmering make sauce thicker?

In slow-simmered ragus or pan sauces, the simplest method to thicken a sauce is to decrease the liquid in a pot on the stove.

A ragu is often made by simmering browned meat in wine or stock to bring out the flavors. The liquid starts out weak and watery, but as the water evaporates, it thickens up and coats each piece of meat perfectly.

The same idea can be used for any sauce reduction:

  • Until the sauce has the consistency you prefer, simmer it in a sauce pot.
  • Keep the saucepan uncovered so that any extra liquid can evaporate.
  • To avoid curdling or sauce separation, don’t boil the liquid.
  • Remember that simmering brings out the flavors of the sauce. You may wish to use less salt (or low-sodium broth) depending on how long the sauce is reduced in order to prevent the mixture from tasting overly salty.
  • To stop sauces from splattering everywhere, you may buy a spatter guard.

In a sauce pot, simmer the sauce until it has the consistency you prefer.

To allow extra liquids to evaporate, make sure to keep the pot uncovered.

To prevent any curdling or sauce separation, avoid boiling the liquid.

Remember that simmering brings out the sauce’s flavors. Depending on how long the sauce is reduced, you might want to reduce the salt (or use low-sodium broth) to prevent the mixture from tasting overly salty.

Purchase a splatter guard if you want to avoid sauce spills all over the place.

  • Tomato-based sauces, such as curry, meat sauces, and marinara
  • Braising liquids and pan sauces
  • BBQ sauces and glazes (balsamic or honey soy).
  • lowering the amount of heavy cream to make a thicker base sauce for pizza or spaghetti

How may a creamy sauce be thickened?

First, cream cheese

When the cream cheese is smooth, cube it and stir it into the Alfredo Sauce in a pot over heat. Be patient as it could take a short while for the cream cheese to melt and become creamy. Unless you don’t mind a heavier cream cheese flavor, start out with a small amount at a time.

Parmesan cheese, 2.

Add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese of a high caliber to the sauce. Your best bet in this case is freshly grated full-fat Parmesan cheese. I enjoy purchasing a large block of Parmesan from Costco and grating it by hand. If you understand what I mean, it works MUCH better than anything you would find already grated in the spaghetti section of the grocery store shelf.

3. Diced Cheese

It can also be effective to whisk in some high-quality cheese that you have grated yourself. If necessary, you could utilize pre-shredded meat, but pre-shredded meat doesn’t often melt well in sauces, so stick with a name brand. If possible, use a box grater or food processor to shred your own cheese. Depending on your preferences, you should try mozzarella, provolone, or even white cheddar.

4. Cream of Heavy

In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk a small amount of heavy cream into the sauce and cook until it simmers or thickens slightly. Though it can take a lot of cream to thicken a lot of sauce, it’s not always the best solution.

Fifth, cornstarch (or Arrowroot)

Make a slurry by combining a little amount of cornstarch with some cold water (or another liquid) in a small bowl. Pour the slurry into the boiling sauce in a skillet over medium-high heat and stir slowly. Until the spicy sauce has the correct thickness, slowly whisk in the slurry.

6. Flour

In a small bowl, combine some flour with a little water and whisk until smooth, just as you would with cornstarch. While the sauce is cooking in a pan, gradually whisk the flour mixture into the sauce.

Seven. Egg yolks

Be careful with this one so your sauce doesn’t contain scrambled eggs! In a small bowl, place one or more egg yolks (or more, depending on how much sauce you have…). Add a little spicy sauce to the eggs while you whisk them. More hot sauce should be whisked into the yolks until they have absorbed a sizable amount of the sauce and the eggs are heated. The yolks are then incorporated into the spicy sauce-filled skillet. You won’t get smooth curdled eggs if you simply whisk cold egg yolks into hot sauce. Done that, been there, not good.

8. Produce

You read that correctly; Some veggies can be pureed and then added to the sauce. Cauliflower that has been cooked and pureed (like by steaming…) would be fantastic! So long as you don’t mind the flavor of vegetables in your sauce.

9. Roux

Over medium heat, melt some butter; after it has melted, stir in the same amount of flour. Butter and flour should be smoothed out by whisking. In a pan over medium heat, whisk a small amount of the roux into the sauce that is simmering.

Butter 10.

Similar to the roux, add equal quantities of softened butter and flour in a small bowl and stir until the mixture resembles paste. To thicken a simmering sauce, whisk in a small amount at a time.

Which one do I prefer then? If I had to choose one, I would start by trying to add more grated Parmesan cheese. I think it would taste the nicest and be quick and simple.