Are your recipes asking for flour-based thickening agents for sauces, but you have a gluten sensitivity? You’ve got options!
5 Gluten Free Thickening Agents
Not everyone can enjoy flour in their sauces and stews, so here’s a quick list of our Top 5 favorite gluten free thickening staples:
Cornstarch is a staple in gluten free households – it’s cheap, it’s efficient and it will get your sauces thick in no time! Dense and powdery, cornstarch is used widely in many cake and cookie recipes and can be added to your soup or stew as a gluten free soup thickener for that extra missing umph. Derived from the endosperm of the corn kernel, it doesn’t mix well with acidic ingredients like wine or sour cream. We recommend mixing it with cold water before adding it to your sauce, as it tends to clump when added to warm water.
If you’re looking to avoid dairy, arrowroot is an excellent choice! It has a virtually undetectable taste and works well as a gluten free thickener in soups, breads and puddings! It thickens sauces quickly and works wonderfully when it comes to make ahead recipes. Arrowroot freezes well and thaws easily while maintaining the integrity of the recipe, so it can be used in organic frozen meals. One note: arrowroot should never be cooked at high heat, if it gets too hot it will lose it’s thickening properties. Cook your arrowroot-thickened sauce on low and make sure to take it off the heat as soon as its finished!
A bit sweet, tapioca starch and flour are used primarily in baking, but can easily be incorporated into more savory sauces. Tapioca starch (also known as tapioca flour) thickens quickly, and at a relatively low temperature, so if it’s a good choice if you want to fix a sauce just before serving it.
We see this one in quite a few baked goods, its a food thickening agent and helps bind your ingredients. Made by fermenting corn sugar with Xanthomonas campestris, xanthan gum needs to be measured very precisely, as it can create a very gummy, slimy baked good. If used correctly, you’ll see extremely good results – and its just about the closest you can get to a gluten filled baked good or pasta dish!
We’ve used this flour in so many gravies and sauces – we’ve lost count. Made from a special mix, our flour can be used to bake cookies, create a roux, or as a gluten free sauce thickener for your favorite mother sauces, like almond milk bechamel. We’ve used it in our zucchini tempura recipe and love it in mushroom sauce and a thick Thanksgiving gravy!