How to Thicken Gravy Without Cornstarch: Tasty Tips & Tricks

If you’re making gravy at home, you may be wondering how to thicken it without using cornstarch. Cornstarch is a common thickener for gravy, but it may not be readily available or suitable for certain diets. Fortunately, there are several other ways to thicken gravy that can produce tasty results.

Why Avoid Cornstarch?

There may be several reasons why you may want to avoid using cornstarch as a thickener for your gravy, including:

  • You are on a gluten-free diet
  • You want to avoid processed foods or additives
  • You don’t have cornstarch available in your pantry

If any of these reasons apply to you, don’t worry! There are plenty of other options available to thicken your gravy.

Flour

Flour is a common alternative to cornstarch as a thickener for gravy. It’s typically used as a roux, which is a mixture of equal parts flour and fat (such as butter or oil) that is cooked until golden brown.

How to Make a Roux

  1. Melt butter or heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add flour and whisk until it forms a paste.
  3. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add your liquid slowly, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
  5. Cook for a few minutes until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency.

You can also use a slurry of flour and water or stock to thicken your gravy. This method involves mixing equal parts flour and cold water or stock until it forms a smooth paste, then slowly adding it to your hot gravy while whisking constantly. Cook for a few minutes until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency.

Cornmeal or Polenta

Cornmeal or polenta can be used to thicken gravy while also adding a slightly sweet and savory flavor. To use cornmeal or polenta as a thickener, simply add a tablespoon or two at a time while whisking continuously until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency.

Bread Crumbs

Bread crumbs are a simple and easy way to thicken gravy. Simply add a handful of breadcrumbs to your gravy while whisking continuously until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency. This method works particularly well for meat gravies, as the breadcrumbs can absorb some of the juices and flavors from the meat.

Pureed Vegetables

Pureed vegetables can also be used as a thickener for gravy. Potatoes, cauliflower, squash, and carrots are all good options, and can also add a subtle flavor and color to your gravy. Simply puree your chosen vegetable until it’s smooth, then add it to your hot gravy while whisking continuously. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency.

Gelatin

Gelatin can be used to thicken gravy while also adding a slightly gelatinous texture. Simply dissolve a tablespoon or two of gelatin powder in cold water, then add it to your hot gravy while whisking continuously. Cook for a few minutes until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency.

Egg Yolk

Egg yolk is a rich and flavorful way to thicken gravy. Simply beat a few egg yolks in a bowl, then slowly add some of your hot gravy while whisking continuously to temper the eggs. Once the yolks are tempered, slowly pour the mixture back into your hot gravy while whisking continuously. Cook for a few minutes until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency.

Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder is a fine white powder made from the root of the arrowroot plant. It’s similar to cornstarch in its thickening properties and can be used as a one-to-one substitute in recipes. To thicken gravy with arrowroot powder, simply mix it with a bit of cold water to form a slurry, then slowly add it to your hot gravy while whisking continuously. Cook for a few minutes until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency.

Tapioca Starch

Tapioca starch is a common thickener for Asian cuisine but can also be used as an alternative to cornstarch in gravy. Similar to arrowroot powder, simply mix it with a bit of cold water to form a slurry, then slowly add it to your hot gravy while whisking continuously. Cook for a few minutes until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency.

Conclusion

There are plenty of ways to thicken gravy without using cornstarch. Whether you prefer flour, cornmeal, bread crumbs, pureed vegetables, gelatin, egg yolk, arrowroot powder or tapioca starch, these tasty tips and tricks will help you achieve a delicious, flavorful gravy every time.

Common Questions and Answers

Here are some frequently asked questions about how to thicken gravy without cornstarch:

  • What are some other thickeners for gravy besides cornstarch? Some other thickeners for gravy include flour, cornmeal, bread crumbs, pureed vegetables, gelatin, egg yolk, arrowroot powder, and tapioca starch.
  • Can I use gluten-free flour to thicken gravy? Yes, gluten-free flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in a roux or as a slurry.
  • How do I prevent lumps when using flour as a thickener? Whisking constantly and adding the liquid slowly can help prevent lumps when using flour as a thickener.
  • Can I use any type of gravy with these thickeners? Yes, these thickeners can be used with any type of gravy, whether it’s meat-based, vegetable-based, or dairy-based.
  • How much of each thickener should I use? The amount of thickener needed will depend on the amount of liquid in your gravy and the desired consistency. It’s best to add the thickener slowly and in small amounts until the desired consistency is reached.

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