How to thicken a sauce
A thick, rich sauce sticks nicely to your meat and veges which helps protect it during storage and ensure a great flavour when reheated.
That's why during the 'finishing off' stage we always thicken the sauce with flour.
Why flour? Flour maintains its thickening properties after freezing far better than cornflour. It's as simple as that. Why thicken at the end? For consistency. Once cooked it is easier to judge how much thickener to add - sometimes you'll need a little and sometimes a little more.
Here's how we do it:
- Combine 1 TBS plain flour and 2 TBS cold water in a container
- Mix well to form a paste.
- While your cooked dish is still hot, stir through the paste, a little at a time - you may only need to add little bit so watch closely.
- As the flour cooks the sauce will thicken nicely.
If your dish is particularly watery, you may need to add a little more thickener, but first remove any excess fat just to be sure it's actually excess water!
You can prepare your thickening paste ahead of time, just make sure you give it a vigorous stir again before adding it to your dish.
Other ways to thicken a sauce
- Thicken with cornflour(gluten-free)
- Cook uncovered for longer
- Skim off excess fat before thickening
- Reduce the amount of liquid when preparing
1. Thicken with cornflour (gluten-free)
Cornflour can be used to thicken your sauce in the same manner described above (use the same proportions) and is a good choice for anyone who is gluten-free.
This is a good choice if you are storing meals in the fridge, however, because cornflower loses its thickening properties once frozen an alternative is to add it just before serving.
- defrost your serve and assess the water situation
- then **sprinkle ½-1 teaspoon cornflour over the top of your defrosted serve
- mix through then heat.** Now as your dish is reheating your sauce will magically thicken!
2. Cook uncovered for longer
Another solution to a watery sauce is to cook your dish a little longer with the lid off. We've allowed 20-30 minutes at the end of every recipe but you may need a little longer – but no more than an extra 15-20 minutes or your final dish may be very chewy indeed! It's important you don't reduce the length of time cooked with the lid on or your meat will not have a chance to soften properly.
3. Skim off excess fat before thickening
Our dishes are made using fattier cuts of meat, and of course every piece is different. If there appears to be too much liquid in your dish, and the surface is glistening with oil, it's a good idea to skim off the excess fat before you thicken the sauce.
4. Reduce the amount of liquid when preparing
For whatever reason, some ovens are more moist than others. If you find your dishes are consistently coming out with runny sauce, try reducing the amount of water added at the start of your recipe by a quarter cup.