How can I thicken sauce without cornstarch?

This article will aim to help give options on how to thicken any sauce without using cornstarch, as well as which sauce is preferred with a thicker consistency, and what method would be best to concentrate that type of sauce.

How can I thicken sauce without cornstarch?

Multiple techniques can help condense your existing sauce, including the following:

  • Adding a roux mixture
  • Adding pureed vegetables
  • Adding in beurre manié
  • Using egg yolks
  • Adding Arrowroot or Tapioca starch
  • Using Oat Flour

Let’s look at each of these methods in detail.

How to thicken a sauce with a roux mixture?

Roux is a mixture of equal parts butter and flour that has been slightly browned in a pan. This mixture can then be added to any sauce, stew, or even french style sauces like bechamel or Velouté. 

It is important to first melt the butter, and then cook the flour until lightly brown, to get rid of the taste of the flour.

How to thicken a sauce by adding pureed vegetables?

Using vegetable purees such as those made from cauliflower or carrots is not only a good way to add thickness to your sauce, but also to add more nutritional benefits.

To begin, boil the vegetable of your choice until it is soft, then place it in a processor and puree it until it forms a paste. This paste can then be added to whichever sauce you need to thicken. 

Carrots are naturally sweet and so adding pureed carrots into tomato-based pasta sauces is a great option, because their natural sweetness will neutralize the acidic taste of the tomatoes, and the orange color can blend into the already red sauce.

Mashed potatoes are also added to sauces to instantly add more thickness to any sauce, but this is a less healthier option as potatoes are starchy and contain carbohydrates.

How to thicken a sauce by adding in beurre manié?

Beurre Manié is a traditional french method used to thicken sauces like gravy or cream-based sauces. It consists of melted unsalted butter and flour, which are blended together to create a paste thick enough to be rolled into little one-inch balls. These can be stored in the fridge or frozen and used whenever needed.

How to thicken a sauce by adding egg yolks?

Adding egg yolks gives extra protein to the sauce you want to thicken. To incorporate it into your sauce, first, whisk a few egg yolks in a bowl. Then temper it by adding a little bit of the hot sauce into the bowl and mix with the egg yolks. This will create a hot, pasty liquid, that can then be added to the rest of the sauce.

How to thicken a sauce with Arrowroot or Tapioca starch?

Both of these starches are derived from the roots of the arrowroot and the cassava plants, making both of these ingredients grain-free, gluten-free, and do not have any distinct taste. Hence, they are essential ingredients in gluten-free cooking.

They can be used exactly how cornstarch is used to thicken sauces, but also work for desserts, puddings, cookie dough, and so on. However, arrowroot flour is known to retain its thickness even after the sauce it was added to has been frozen and thawed, giving it a wider range of uses.

Tapioca also has a wide range of uses, but it loses some thickening ability when added to acidic mixtures. Both types of starch are also not recommended for meat sauces, as they will develop an unusual texture. 

How to thicken a sauce by adding oat flour?

Oats are packed with minerals like magnesium and potassium, as well as containing soluble fiber. It is a complex carbohydrate, and raw oats are ground to form oat flour, which is a gluten-free alternative to regular white flour.

Oat flour can be used to make roux like regular flour or mixed with a little water to make a liquid that can be added to your sauce while it simmers. However, oat flour gives a slightly nutty, whole flour taste to your sauce, so it is important to add it slowly and taste your sauce at intervals.

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Cornstarch is high in simple carbohydrates that add sugars and calories to your diet, which can leave health-conscious people wanting an alternative.

With that said, we hope this article gives ideas for some healthier ways to add body to your sauce while keeping it nutrient-packed and low on carbohydrates and caloric intake.