How can I substitute cornstarch to thicken gravy? 

In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “How can I substitute cornstarch to thicken gravy?” and discuss the differences between gravy and sauce. We will also share a recipe for a delicious Turkey Gravy.

How can I substitute cornstarch to thicken gravy? 

You can thicken gravy with other ingredients besides cornstarch, like arrowroot, tapioca, potato starch, pureed vegetables, and flour.

Adding arrowroot

It is an excellent natural gluten-free gravy thickening replacement. 

To thicken gravy, produce a slurry with your arrowroot powder by combining 2 to 3 teaspoons with an equivalent quantity of water, just like you would with cornstarch. With a whisk or wooden spoon, mix in 1 cup hot liquid until integrated and the gravy thickens.

The distinction is that it is mostly employed to thicken black sauces.

Reducing it 

Remove the pan’s cover and combine the ingredients over low heat. It is critical to perform it at low heats so that the gravy does not burn. The extra liquid will evaporate and thicken the gravy.

Adding polenta

Adding polenta to your gravy can help to absorb the excess liquid, which will make it thicker. 

Adding tapioca

Add 1 teaspoon tapioca starch, stir into the hot liquid until completely mixed and the gravy thickens.

Adding Potato Starch

To make a slurry for this gluten-free gravy thickener, combine 1 tablespoon of starch with 2 tablespoons of water. In 1 cup of hot liquid, whisk or mix until the gravy thickens, stirring frequently.

Adding Vegetable Puree

This clever method for thickening gravy allows you to utilize any vegetables you have on hand. Besides thickening, you will also make your gravy healthier.

Roast any type of potato, parsnip, beet, or carrot, purée in a blender or food processor, and mix into gravy until well combined. 


This is a method called Roux. 

Melt butter, oil, or lard in a small saucepan over low heat.

Whisk in an equal quantity of rice flour until it forms a paste and turns a light-to-golden brown hue.

Pour in the gravy, stirring slowly to mix. Raise the heat to medium-high and continue to stir until the sauce thickens.

Beurre manié

The beurre manié, like the roux, is made using butter and flour. The difference is that you will combine the flour and butter at room temperature in a separate container, away from the heat. 

Flour and butter measurements are the same as for the roux. Mix thoroughly, using a fork or your hands, until smooth.

When the mixture is done, whisk it into the liquid in the pan until it dissolves and thickens the sauce.

What is the difference between gravy and sauce?

Gravy is a sauce produced from meat juices. It is typically blended with a liquid such as chicken or beef broth, wine, or milk and thickened with flour, cornstarch, or another thickening agent. 

A gravy can simply be the basic liquids left in the pan after cooking meat, fowl, or fish. 

Sauce: is a relish used to make our meal more palatable.

Sauces are liquid or semi-liquid meals used to improve the appearance, fragrance, and taste of other foods, making them easier to digest. 

What is the recipe for turkey gravy?


3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons liquid (juices and prepared turkey giblet stock) 

3 tablespoons turkey fat

Salt and pepper to seasoning

Preparation mode

After removing the turkey from the oven and setting it aside to rest, put the roasting pan (with the drippings and 3 tablespoons of fat) over two medium-high burners on your stove (always make the gravy in the same roasting pan you used to roast the turkey).

Heat the liquid (juices) until just boiling, then lower heat to low to keep the liquid warm.

Other FAQs about Cornstarch that you may be interested in.

Can you substitute cornstarch for baking soda?

Can cornstarch thicken cold liquids?

Does cornstarch tenderize meat?


In this brief article, we provided you with the answer to the question: “How can I substitute cornstarch to thicken gravy?” and discussed the differences between gravy and sauce. We also shared a recipe for a delicious Turkey gravy.


July 02, Amy Zavatto Updated and 2021. “6 Genius Ways to Thicken Gravy with Whatever You Have in Your Pantry.” Real Simple. Accessed January 10, 2022.

wikiHow. “How to Thicken Sauce Without Cornstarch.” Accessed January 10, 2022.

Stradley, Linda. “Gravy vs. Sauce.” What’s Cooking America, April 3, 2016.

Stradley, Linda. “Perfect Turkey Gravy Recipe.” What’s Cooking America, April 30, 2015.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.