Does simmering thicken a sauce? (5+ tips)

In this article, we answer the following question: Does simmering thicken a sauce? We give you 6 alternatives for thickening a sauce, and the best tips to make a perfect sauce for whatever dish. 

Does simmering thicken a sauce?

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.

6 tips for thickening a sauce that is too liquid

You love good sauces, mouth-watering juices, and gourmet stews … The only problem: when you prepare them yourself, your sauces are often much too fluid and sorely lacking inconsistency. Don’t panic: we have found 6 great tips for thickening a sauce that is too liquid.

  1. Use cornstarch

To thicken a too fluid sauce with cornstarch (cornstarch), it’s simple: in a bowl, put 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, then pour a little cold water to dilute. Once the mixture is ready, we will incorporate it into the sauce, place on low heat, and stir well until the batter thickens.

Note: this tip is also valid with flour.

  1. With handled butter

In cooking, handled butter is a mixture of butter and flour. To thicken a sauce or a stew that has not set enough with handled butter, you must therefore mix 1 tablespoon of butter (at room temperature) and 1 tablespoon of flour with your fingers, so as to obtain a relatively smooth and homogeneous paste. 

Dough that we will add to the sauce during cooking, before mixing and cooking for a few minutes until the sauce takes on the desired consistency.

  1. With a roux

Roux is a culinary mixture composed of flour and fat (butter, oil, etc.). To make a sauce thicker with a roux, just brown the chosen fat in a saucepan, then add the flour (1 tablespoon of each) and mix for about 2 minutes. Once the roux is obtained, let it cool on the side before adding it to the too liquid sauce and mix until it is thick enough for our taste.

  1.  With mashed flakes

When you have prepared a sauce, and it is too fluid and too liquid, you can thicken it by adding a tablespoon of potato flakes (found in instant mash sachets): it just pours the potato flakes into the sauce (placed on low heat) and mixes until it sets well.

  1. With breadcrumbs

In the kitchen, breadcrumbs are not only used to make breadcrumbs or to prevent stuffing from absorbing water: it can also help us thicken a sauce. How? ‘Or’ What? It’s straightforward: just sprinkle a little on the sauce during cooking, and mix while allowing it to cook. If the texture becomes thick enough, that’s fine; if not, we start again by adding little breadcrumbs!

  1. With instant thickeners

Today in the trade, we can easily find thickeners for white or brown sauces: it is a powder a little similar to breadcrumbs that is poured into the sauce during cooking and which allows it to be given a thicker consistency … or even to save a sauce that is too liquid at the last minute!

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

Can expired hot sauce make you sick?

Can hot sauce kill you?

Can old pasta sauce make you sick?

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.

Final thoughts

In this article, we answered the following question: Does simmering thicken a sauce? We gave you 6 alternatives for thickening a sauce, and the best tips to make a perfect sauce for whatever dish. 

Simmering a sauce 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. 

Other options to thicken a sauce mentioned in this article are: adding cornstarch, dairy products, breadcrumbs, or instant thickeners. 

If you have any comments or questions on the content, please let us know!