Does sauce thicken with the lid on or off? (5+ tips)

In this article, we will answer the following question: Does sauce thicken with the lid on or off? We will give you 4 alternative methods to thicken a sauce and also some great tips to make a delicious sauce for any dish!

Does sauce thicken with the lid on or off?

The sauce will thicken with the lid off.  When we boil food sometimes we do it with the lid on and other times uncovered. When we cook with the lid on to prevent the water from evaporating, it would be cooking with reflux, while when we do not care that at the end of cooking there is less liquid left and we leave it uncovered, it is cooking with controlled evaporation.

Simmering can thicken a sauce by removing the lid on your pot or skillet to allow moisture to evaporate, instead of pouring into the sauce. This method is called “reduction” and is an excellent way to thicken a sauce without changing the flavor.

If your sauce is too runny, it has too much water. To remedy this, the first technique is to reduce it (decrease in volume) by bringing it to a boil so that the water it contains partly evaporates. This will also help to concentrate its flavors. The downside is that you will have less sauce, so it may not be for everyone. In this case, and if the recipe is suitable, you can add a little fresh cream, for example.

In any traditional cooking, whatever it may be, if we cover the pans with their corresponding lids:

  • We will shorten the time while also achieving significant energy savings,
  •  We will have to add fewer liquids,
  • The flavors and smells will be concentrated,
  • Fewer vapors will be produced that impregnate clothes, hair … and make the kitchen dirty,
  • We also manage to have to reduce the heat source,
  •  And we avoid the harmful action of air, light, and temperature, which are the three factors that most negatively influence the conservation of “thermolabile” vitamins such as C.

Alternative ways to thicken a sauce

Here we present four easy and effective options to thicken your sauces:

With butter – The first thing you have to do is reduce your broth or soup, that is, let it boil for a few minutes or until it goes down a little in the pot. For example, if it is a beef broth, reduce and clean the fat from the surface, then add a small stick of butter (this depends on the amount of soup or sauce you are making) and stir very well with a pastry balloon, the texture will be much more velvety and thick.

With cornstarch – Cornstarch is a great option since its texture is not that different from flour. A good trick is to use 1 teaspoon of cornstarch per 1 liter of liquid, from there you have to see the texture and add more as the mixture requires. It is recommended that you add it in creamy sauces and soups that do not contain much acid.

With egg – If you are making a sweet dessert or cream, the egg works perfectly for thickening. With your mixture cold or “raw”, add an egg yolk and then cook or bake. Be careful, the yolk or whole egg must be perfectly well beaten before incorporating and it has to be all cold or at room temperature when you do it, you don’t want a scrambled egg for dessert. When adding heat be careful, lower the temperature, and beat vigorously to dissolve any lumps.

Reduce to simmer – It’s the slowest way to thicken a sauce, so if you’re going for this option, be patient. First, remove the lid and let it bubble over low heat, very slowly pay close attention during this process because it modifies the flavor of your sauce (surely everything will be more concentrated), finally stir vigorously preferably with a balloon, taste, and serve.

Do you simmer with the lid on or off? 

It is better to simmer with the lid off. This is because simmering is a controlled process just before the liquid reaches its boiling point. Placing a lid on top will increase the pressure and cause the liquid to boil quickly before you even know it.

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

Does oregano go in spaghetti sauce?

Is bechamel sauce the same as lasagne white sauce?

What can be substituted for tomato sauce?

Tips for making a perfect sauce

Generally, a sauce is made up of fat (oil, butter) and a liquid (vegetable or meat juice, diluted broth, fruit juice, etc.). Consistency is given by the addition of flour or mashed vegetables and cooking time.

• Soak the flour with cold water, so that the sauce does not have lumps.

• There are only a few varieties of wines that go very well with the basic sauces.

• Some sauces include 2-3 wines; only true chefs know what they are.

The water in which they cooked the food (meat, fish, vegetables) is not thrown away but is used to prepare sauces.

• To improve the sauce’s nutritional value, it is advisable to add spices, greens, butter, or sour cream, as appropriate.


In this article, we answered the following question: Does sauce thicken with the lid on or off? We gave you 4 alternative methods to thicken a sauce and also some great tips to make a delicious sauce for any dish!

Simmering a sauce with the lid off is perhaps the greatest option to thicken it. However, you should be aware that the sauce will be reduced in quantity by the process itself. Keep this in mind in case you want to serve more than 2 people.