How to Thicken Gravy, According to Our Test Kitchen (2024)

Learn how to make the perfect gravy to accompany turkey, chicken and more.

By

Alex Loh

How to Thicken Gravy, According to Our Test Kitchen (1)

Alex Loh isEatingWell's associate food editor. As part of the food team, she creates healthy, delicious recipes for theEatingWellaudience. Alex also writes informative food and cooking articles that range from how to store ground beef to the best picks from Trader Joe's. Alex conducts product and taste tests to find the best options, from salad spinners to salsas.

Updated on July 21, 2023

A good gravy is a delicious complement to roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and more. However, getting the perfect consistency for gravy can be a little tricky. Luckily, you can learn how to thicken gravy using these tips from our Test Kitchen. From cornstarch to flour, these methods will help make your gravy thicker in a few easy steps. And if your end product doesn't turn out quite right, learn how to fix common gravy mistakes.

How to Thicken Gravy with Flour

If you find yourself with runny gravy, flour is an easy solution. Flour is a natural thickening agent and can be incorporated into your sauce with a few different methods (for a gluten-free option, you can also use arrowroot flour or a gluten-free flour blend like Bob's Red Mill's 1 to 1 or King Arthur's Measure for Measure). One way to thicken gravy with flour is by making a slurry. A slurry is made by whisking 2 tablespoons of flour with cold water, which then gets whisked into the gravy. With this method, you'll want to add the slurry in gradually, allowing the gravy to cook and thicken for one to two minutes before adding more (you might not need the entire slurry or you might need more, depending on the consistency).

Another way to thicken gravy with flour is by making a roux. A roux is a mixture of fat and flour, and it's an easy way to thicken a sauce. If you make a roux, it should also be added incrementally.

A final option is making a beurre manié, which is made by rubbing flour into butter to create a dough or paste. These methods for thickening gravy with flour prevent the flour from clumping (because no one likes lumpy gravy).

How to Thicken Gravy with Cornstarch

Similar to flour, cornstarch is another ingredient that can be used to make gravy thicker. With cornstarch, making a slurry is also an option, but with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch whisked into cold water. Again, you'll want to add the slurry in increments so you don't over-thicken the gravy. You can also use this method with alternatives like potato starch and rice starch.

How to Thicken Gravy Without Flour or Cornstarch

It is possible to thicken gravy without flour or cornstarch, and it's as simple as keeping it on the heat. When gravy is left to simmer or reduce, it naturally thickens, so be patient with your gravy. One downside to reducing gravy, though, is that it can become too salty. If the seasoning in your gravy is where you would like it, your best option is to use cornstarch or flour to keep the salt levels in check while still thickening the gravy.

Was this page helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Tell us why!

How to Thicken Gravy, According to Our Test Kitchen (2024)

FAQs

How to Thicken Gravy, According to Our Test Kitchen? ›

Similar to flour, cornstarch is another ingredient that can be used to make gravy thicker. With cornstarch, making a slurry is also an option, but with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch whisked into cold water. Again, you'll want to add the slurry in increments so you don't over-thicken the gravy.

How do I get my gravy to thicken? ›

If your gravy is on the skimpy side, you can thicken it quickly with flour or cornstarch. But don't add your thickener directly to the gravy, which will create lumps. Instead, try stirring in three or four tablespoons of flour or cornstarch into a small amount of cold water until you have a smooth paste.

Is it better to thicken gravy with cornstarch or flour? ›

Browning adds more flavor to the gravy and gets rid of the raw flour taste. You're basically making a roux. We find that a flour-based gravy holds up better and reheats better later, which is why we tend to prefer using flour over cornstarch to make gravy unless we have a guest who is eating gluten-free.

What is the ratio of flour to water to thicken gravy? ›

To use flour as a thickening agent: Use two tablespoons flour mixed with ¼ cup cold water for each cup of medium-thick sauce. Thoroughly mix in the water to prevent lumps. After stirring the combined flour and water into the sauce, cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

How to make gravy thicker without flour or cornstarch? ›

Mix 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder with 3 tablespoons water until dissolved for every 1 cup of gravy. While whisking the gravy constantly over medium heat, add the arrowroot mixture a little bit at a time. Cook, whisking often, until the gravy thickens.

Do you boil or simmer gravy to thicken it? ›

One easy way to thicken gravy is to simply reduce the liquid. Add any pan drippings you have to a small or medium-sized saucepan. Then, add in 1 cup of liquid, and simmer on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces by at least a third and the flavors are more concentrated.

What happens if you put too much cornstarch in gravy? ›

It should look like gravy. So if you added too much cornstarch, you can always dilute it. with a little bit more chicken stock or water. If you're thinking it too much, it looks like pudding.

What is the healthiest thickening agent? ›

Easy-to-access alternatives are wheat flour, arrowroot flour, and rice flour. These are good alternatives to cornstarch because they are more nutritious and contain fewer carbohydrates and calories. Xanthan and guar gum are much stronger thickeners than cornstarch, but they can be harder to obtain and use.

What thickens better than cornstarch? ›

Here are five of the best cornstarch substitutes for all your thickening needs.
  • All-Purpose Flour. Yep, that's right — all-purpose flour is a very stable thickener. ...
  • Arrowroot Powder. ...
  • Potato Starch. ...
  • Rice Flour. ...
  • Tapioca Starch.
Jun 23, 2023

What do chefs use to thicken gravy? ›

A roux is a mixture of fat and flour, and it's an easy way to thicken a sauce. If you make a roux, it should also be added incrementally. A final option is making a beurre manié, which is made by rubbing flour into butter to create a dough or paste.

Why won't my gravy thicken? ›

Add More Flour

Instead, you need to make a paste of roughly equal parts flour and softened butter, mashing them together until completely smooth, then whisk this paste into the gravy a tablespoon or two at a time, until the gravy has thickened appropriately.

Why is my homemade gravy so thick? ›

When it's hot, gravy should be thick enough to just coat the back of a spoon, but not so thick that it sticks to the spoon like glue. If your gravy is hot and still too thick, add broth a little at a time to thin it out. Remember to check the seasoning when you're done and adjust if needed.

What can I use in place of flour for gravy? ›

Cornstarch and potato starch are the best options for gravy. Avoid arrowroot and tapioca starches because they can get "stringy" and look artificial in gravy. Cornstarch gravy is more translucent than flour based sauces. Potato starch gravy is more opaque than cornstarch, but less opaque than flour.

How to thicken gravy with plain flour? ›

Use Flour and Water

Combine 2 tablespoons flour with every 1/4 cup cold water and whisk until smooth. Add the mixture to your sauce over medium heat, and continue to stir and cook until you've reached your desired consistency.

Will gravy thicken as it sits? ›

Another mistake is not taking into account the fact that gravy tends to thicken as it cools. When it's hot, gravy should be thick enough to just coat the back of a spoon, but not so thick that it sticks to the spoon like glue. If your gravy is hot and still too thick, add broth a little at a time to thin it out.

Can you thicken gravy without cornstarch? ›

Use Flour and Water

Combine 2 tablespoons flour with every 1/4 cup cold water and whisk until smooth. Add the mixture to your sauce over medium heat, and continue to stir and cook until you've reached your desired consistency. Test with a spoon.

How to stop flour clumping in gravy? ›

If you just dump dry flour into the pot, it'll form stubborn lumps. Instead, you need to make a paste of roughly equal parts flour and softened butter, mashing them together until completely smooth, then whisk this paste into the gravy a tablespoon or two at a time, until the gravy has thickened appropriately.

Why isn't cornstarch thickening my gravy? ›

In other words, if you don't heat your cornstarch to a high enough temperature, your mixture will never thicken. But once your liquid has boiled, lower the heat and don't return it to a simmer—you'll risk destroying the starch molecules and ending up with a thin mixture yet again.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jonah Leffler

Last Updated:

Views: 5549

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jonah Leffler

Birthday: 1997-10-27

Address: 8987 Kieth Ports, Luettgenland, CT 54657-9808

Phone: +2611128251586

Job: Mining Supervisor

Hobby: Worldbuilding, Electronics, Amateur radio, Skiing, Cycling, Jogging, Taxidermy

Introduction: My name is Jonah Leffler, I am a determined, faithful, outstanding, inexpensive, cheerful, determined, smiling person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.