When it comes to cooking, a few things can be more frustrating than a thin sauce. A thin sauce can ruin even the most carefully prepared dish, whether a watery marinara or a sad-looking gravy.
Similar techniques can be used when thickening a yogurt-based sauce.
The good news is that a few simple tricks can help thicken up a sauce without using flour. With these simple tips, you’ll never have to suffer through a thin sauce again.
10 Ways to Thicken a Sauce Without Flour
Whether you’re looking to avoid gluten or simply don’t have any flour on hand, there are plenty of ways to thicken a sauce without using flour. Here are 10 of the best options.
One easy method is to add one tablespoon of cornstarch to one cup of liquid as a rule of thumb. This will help absorb excess liquid and give the sauce a thicker consistency. Cook the sauce down until some of the water has evaporated. This will take some time, but it will produce a much thicker and more flavorful sauce. Some people eat cornstarch straight up here’s why.
Gelatin is derived from animal collagen and is a great thickening agent for sauces, gravies, and stews.
To use, simply sprinkle gelatin over the liquid you wish to thicken and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, whisk the mixture until the gelatin has dissolved completely.
See how much gelatin is in a packet.
Cashew cream is a dairy-free alternative to traditional cream that can be used for thickening sauces, soups, and gravies. To make cashew cream, simply blend 1 cup of raw cashews with 1 cup of water until smooth. Then, add it to your pot of sauce recipes and cook as usual.
A vegetable puree is a great way to add flavor and thickness to a sauce. To make a vegetable puree, simply cook your vegetables until soft, then blend them until smooth. You can then add the puree to your sauce.
Arrowroot is a type of flour made from the arrowroot plant. It’s a great gluten-free thickener for sauces (except for dairy-based sauces) and can be used in place of cornstarch or flour. To use arrowroot, whisk it with an equal amount of cold water, then add it to your sauce.
Egg yolks are a great thickening agent for sauces and can be used in many different ways. To thicken a sauce with egg yolks, whisk them with an equal amount of cold water, then add them to the sauce.
Allow the sauce to simmer until it has reached your desired consistency. You can also use egg yolks to make a slurry, a mixture of flour and water used to thicken sauces. To make a slurry, whisk together egg yolks and water, then add the mixture to the sauce on medium heat. Allow the sauce to simmer until it has reached your desired consistency.
Oat Flour is made from ground oats, which makes it a great gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. Oat flour can be used as a thickener by whisking it with an equal amount of cold water, then adding it to your sauce. This will help to thicken and add body to your sauce without changing the flavor.
Tapioca flour is made from cassava root; tapioca flour has a variety of uses. It’s commonly used as a thickener in soups and sauces and can also be used in baking.
When using tapioca flour as a thickener, simply whisk it with an equal amount of cold water before adding it to your pan.
Keep in mind that tapioca flour is very starchy, so you may need to use less than you would with wheat flour. With its neutral flavor and versatility, tapioca flour is a great gluten-free option for anyone with dietary restrictions. There are of course, many alternatives also to tapioca flour.
Tomato paste is a concentrated form of tomato puree and makes an excellent thickener for sauces, soups, and stews.
Simply add tomato paste to your dish during the cooking process. You can find tomato paste in various forms, including canned, bottled, or tube.
Tomato paste is also available in different concentrations, depending on how thick you want your sauce or soup.
For example, double concentrate tomato paste is twice as thick as regular tomato paste and will add more body to your dish.
Reduce the Liquid
The simplest way to thicken a sauce is by reducing the hot liquid, so there is less of it overall. This will concentrate the flavors while also giving you a thicker consistency.
Simply cook your sauce over low heat until some liquid evaporates. This method will take longer than others but will give you more control over how thick or thin your final product is.
There are plenty of ways to thicken your favorite sauces without using flour; you just need to know what ingredients to use!
Cornstarch, gelatin, cashew cream, vegetable puree, arrowroot powder, egg yolks, oat flour, tapioca flour, tomato paste, or reducing the liquid are all great options that will give you delicious and creamy sauces every time!