How to Thicken Sauces with Cornstarch

How to Thicken Sauces with Cornstarch

Learning how to thicken sauces is one of the basic cooking skills any home cook should know about because liquids like soups and gravies often need to be thickened to get the desired consistency. This article will be a guide on how to thicken sauces with cornstarch — one of the easiest and fastest methods.

Learn how to thicken a sauce or any other liquid food mixture with cornstarch. Also, learn how to alter and bring back the flavors of a recipe after adding in cornstarch. 

To start learning how to thicken sauces with cornstarch, follow the steps below.

Mixing Uncooked Cornstarch and Water to the Sauce

If your sauce ended up being a bit too runny the quickest solution is adding uncooked cornstarch mixture to sauces and other types of liquids to immediately thicken the sauce.

It is best to add the cornstarch mixture to a liquid that is only a few minutes away from being finished to get the right consistency. As the dish simmers the thicker it will get, by adding the cornstarch at the end, you can get a better idea of how much to add based on the sauce’s final consistency.


  1. Prepare 1 tbsp of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of cold water
  2. In a cup or bowl, pour in the tbsp of cornstarch in ¼ cup worth of cold water
  3. Add in the cornstarch and water mixture to the sauce or soup

Pro Tips on How to Thicken Sauces with Cornstarch

  • Cornstarch mixes the best with cold water.
  • If you want your sauce to be thicker, add in a little bit more of cornstarch to the cooking mixture.
  • To properly integrate the liquid cornstarch mixture to the sauce, use a whisk to thoroughly smoothen the ingredients together.
  • To make sure that the liquid cornstarch and sauce are combined properly, you can use a spoon to test the texture of the sauce. Spoon out some of the sauce and pour it back slowly into the bowl. If there are any small lumps left on the spoon, whisk again.

Cooking the Cornstarch Mixture

Cooking the cornstarch mixture alone is essentially the same thing as cooking it with the mixture. Like the first method, follow the same first steps to prepping the cornstarch mixture.

  1. Prepare 1 tbsp of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of cold water.
  2. In a cup or bowl, pour in the tbsp of cornstarch in ¼ cup worth of cold water.
  3. In a pot place over medium-heat, add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce that has been thoroughly stirred and simmering.
  4. Keep a close eye on the simmering sauce because when using too much heat, the sauce can immediately thin out and break down.
  5. Let the cornstarch and sauce mixture simmer to a light boil for about 5 to 10 minutes and stir often.
  6. Once the mixture is mixed thoroughly and begins to bubble let it cook for a bit longer if it doesn’t appear to have thickened. 
  7. Turn off the heat and give the sauce one last stir. Set it aside to cool down.

Pro Tips on Cooking Cornstarch Mixture

  • Adding cooked cornstarch mixture gives you better control over your sauce while cooking. By cooking the cornstarch first and then adding it to the mixture is an easy way to thicken a sauce or soup.
  • You have more control over the cooking process because it is more forgiving and allows you to add a little more or a little less as you go.

Alterations to the Sauce

Once you have added the cornstarch mixture into the cooking mixture, there are a few alterations that you might have to do in regards to the flavor and texture of the sauce.

Check the consistency of the cornstarch and liquid mixture

  1. But before doing so, let the sauce cool down for a few minutes to get to its accurate consistency.
  2. After a few minutes of cooling down, grab a spoon, scoop out the sauce and let it drop back to the bowl. By doing so, you’ll be able to see whether you have achieved the right thickness of the sauce.
  3. If you still aren’t happy with the sauce’s consistency you can easily thin it out with some water or thicken it with a bit more cornstarch.
  4. Once you have made a few more alterations, do the spoon test one—or a few more—time until you get your desired consistency.

Check If Sauce Still Tastes the Same

  1. The most important element of a sauce is its taste. After letting the sauce cool down for a few minutes, give the sauce a taste to see if it still has kept the same flavor.
  2. When you add cornstarch to a sauce the flavor will be altered depending on the amount you mixed. You need to add on more seasoning or other ingredients to bring flavor back.
  3. You can add seasonings like salt, pepper, paprika, sage, cumin, and many more onto the sauce. Remember, as you add in the following spice keeping tasting to make sure you reach that sweet spot.

When it comes to cooking there are a lot of hacks that you can do to save or elevated a dish. Learning how to thicken sauces with cornstarch comes in very handy in a lot of recipes. With this helpful guide on thickening sauces, you’ll be able to perfect the right consistency in almost any dish out there.

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