Cooking Time Journal may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. This comes at no additional cost to you, and all the prices and availability are accurate at the time of publishing.
Beef stew in sauce is a very tasty and inexpensive dish. There are countless cuts of meat to make this stew, both beef, pork, chicken or lamb. The traditional vegetables in this stew are carrots and potatoes, but you can choose the ones you like the most or are in season.
Many people find it difficult to make a meat stew but in reality, it is very simple with the help of a slow cooker, which prevents the liquids from evaporating completely as it happens when cooking on a stove; since slow cookers help keep added liquids from thickening. But if you are looking for the opposite effect and want to know how to thicken curry in a slow cooker, read on.
How to Thicken Stew in 4 Easy Ways
1. How to Thicken Sauces with Flour
All-purpose flour is a staple that most people have on hand. Note, thickening a sauce with flour will make it cloudy.
- Dredge your meat in flour. If you aren’t following a gluten-free diet, then an easy technique to help thicken a sauce in the slow cooker is to dredge your meat in flour before browning it. With this method, your sauce may not need any additional thickener at the end.
- Make a slurry. If a dish is still too soupy, you can try another method using flour. Scoop out a bit of the cooking liquid, whisk in some flour, then whisk this slurry back into your pot and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens and the taste of raw flour is gone. You will need about 2 tablespoons of flour per cup of liquid in your recipe.
2. How to Thicken Sauces with Cornstarch
Wondering how to thicken stew in slow cooker without flour? Cornstarch is a gluten-free thickener. And unlike flour, cornstarch will produce a clear, glossy sauce.
- Make a slurry. Just whisk together equal parts cornstarch and water to make a slurry — using about 1 tablespoon cornstarch per cup of liquid in your recipe — then whisk this into your pot. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken.
3. How to Thicken Sauces Without Cornstarch or Flour
- Vegetables that have cooked for hours in a crock pot are often overcooked. But these can come in handy — just puree them to thicken the sauce. You can do this with an immersion blender directly in the slow cooker, or use a regular blender then stir the veggies back into your gravy.
- Arrowroot is gluten-free thickener and it is GMO-free. Follow the same steps as with cornstarch above. Note, arrowroot’s texture becomes slimy when mixed with dairy products.
- Potatoes can be used in dishes that already have potato in them. Grate a raw potato into the slow cooker 30 minutes before you want to eat (giving the potato time to cook). Or try instant potato flakes, stirring in a very small amount at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
4. How to Reduce Liquid in Your Slow Cooker
Simply reducing the amount of liquid in your slow cooker is also a good way to thicken things up. If your dish is soupier than you prefer, then you have a couple of options:
- Remove the lid. If you have time at the end of cooking, remove the cover, turn up the heat and allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
- Prop the lid open. If you’ve previously cooked a recipe with watery results, then next time experiment with propping the lid open with a toothpick. Steam will escape as your food is cooking, which will reduce the liquid and result in a thicker sauce. Note, this will also increase cooking time, so allow for the time difference.
- Use less liquid. Remember, if you are adapting regular recipes to the slow cooker, then you will want to reduce the amount of liquid called for in the original recipe.
Best Programmable Slow Cooker
Cooking for your family after a long day of working, looking after the kids, or running errands is a chore that many of us could do without. Having a slow cooker, however, allows you the luxury of having a freshly cooked meal ready for your love ones when you get home.
If you have not decided what is the best programmable slow cooker with delay start and narrowed, please check out our buyers guide the choices down to the top five, which we’ve featured here: https://cookingtimejournal.com/best-programmable-slow-cooker-with-delay-start/
Slow Cooker Problems You Must Deal With
- Why are my slow cooker meals watery?
For slow cookers, you need about half the amount of liquid that a traditional recipe (for the oven or stovetop). If the recipe isn’t optimized for a slow cooker, cut the amount of liquid by about 50%.
- Does sauce thicken with the lid on or off?
Sauces will thicken more effectively with the pan lid off. Having lid on will trap the evaporated water. This water usually collects onto the lid and then drips back into the sauce.
- Will sauce thicken as it simmers?
As you saucesimmers over heat the water has nowhere to go but into the air as steam. Keep cooking long enough and the saucewillthicken nicely.