People have so many dietary preferences these days, and flour often gets put on the chopping block. Keep scrolling for my favorite alternatives to thickening gravy without flour.
How to Thicken Gravy Without Flour
Arrowroot is my go-to for thickening gravies, soups, and sauces. It has a slightly different texture and thickening quality than cornstarch, and I love it. Arrowroot comes from a root vegetable, and is naturally vegan and gluten-free.
Arrowroot powder is tasteless, and is a compliant thickener in programs that otherwise don’t allow flours or starches, such as Bright Line Eating, Whole30, and Paleo. Compared to more traditional thickeners like cornstarch, arrowroot is new on the scene and becoming increasingly trendy as a flour alternative.
How much to use: A little goes a long way. I usually start with 1/2 tsp to a recipe and add more as needed.
Cornstarch is an excellent, tried-and-true thickener. It is made from corn (obviously) and is also naturally vegan and gluten-free, although it’s less acceptable in brand-name diet programs. It can withstand longer cooking times, unlike potato starch and tapioca starch, which are more delicate.
How much to use: Start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch per 1 cup of liquid for thick sauces and gravies. You can always add more.
Tapioca is a derivative of cassava root, a plant-based thickener and also naturally gluten-free.
How much to use: Start with 1.5 teaspoons of tapioca starch into a batch of gravy, and whisk until thickened to your liking.
Potato starch works well as a thickener, and it’s popular in gluten-free baking. It can tolerate higher temperatures than cornstarch, but if you heat it too much, it will lose it’s thickening properties. Be sure to add it to a warm recipe, and don’t boil it.
How much to use: Start with 1 tablespoon of starch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water. Whisk into the gravy and gently heat it to thicken.
Tips for Thickening Gravy Without Flour
- Start with less than you think you’ll need. You can always add more.
- Before adding your starch to the gravy, mix it with 2 or 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl to make a paste, so that it will be evenly mixed into the gravy. You don’t want to bite into those dreaded white lumps.
- The thickening properties of most starches are activated by heat, so be sure to continue warming and stirring your gravy after adding your starch slurry.
- Don’t boil your gravy, as starches can break down and lose their thickening properties at too high of temperatures, leaving you with a runny mess.
- Use a whisk to make sure your thickener is well incorporated.
My Favorite Flourless Gravy Recipe
Below is my go-to thanksgiving recipe for allergy-friendly gravy. Even though I don’t have any dietary restrictions, this gravy recipe is always my favorite one on the table.
I hope you found this post helpful!
Flourless Mushroom Gravy
- 2 cups crimini mushrooms, diced, 6 oz
- 1 cup onion, diced, 6 oz
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp dried rosemary
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1 ¾ cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup red wine, optional, sub vegetable broth
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce, or tamari (gf)
- 1 ½ Tbsp arrowroot powder, or cornstarch
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onions, mushrooms, and garlic, cook for about 10 min, or until well browned.
- Stir in the herbs and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
- If using wine, add it, stir for a minute, and then add the broth.
- Stir the arrowroot powder and soy sauce together in a small bowl to make a paste.
- Stir into the pan, and simmer for a few minutes to thicken.
- For a little extra savory flavor, add in a teaspoon or two of nutritional yeast.