How to Thicken Stew: Look at These 2 Effective Ways to Thicken Beef Stew

How to Thicken Stew: Look at These 2 Effective Ways to Thicken Beef Stew
Pixabay - Photo by Jumi Kang
SHARE - When you finish cooking casserole, stew, or other gravy-based food such as pie filling, you may see that it’s still runny. It occurred more frequently with dishes cooked in slow cookers as the water is not allowed to evaporate.

At this point, you have an option: you can boil off some of the liquid. But, it will also concentrate on the flavor that you probably don’t want, and you can overcook the ingredients. Or, you can put an ingredient that will not impact the flavor but be able to thicken the liquid for a creamier texture.

For detailed information, here’s how to thicken stew you should know. Here we go!

1. How to Thicken Beef Stew: Making a Flour Roux

Pexels - Photo by Buenosia Carol

Probably, you have planned beef stew for your dinner. The problem is your stew is a bit thin and soup-like. Well, you don’t need to worry. Follow these steps of how to thicken stew by making a flour roux you can use.

Step 1: Brown (cover) the beef with flour before you put it in the stew

The first step of how to thicken stew is to cover the beef with flour in advance before putting it in the stew. When you brown the beef, you need to coat the meat in flour before you put it to the braising liquid.

This way is not only useful to help caramelize the meat for better flavor, but it will also help to how to thicken stew later the starch from the flour combines with the liquid.

When you have browned the meat, you need to deglaze the pot by pouring beer, red wine, or stock for extra flavor.

Step 2: Mix the flour with water to make the flour roux

The second step of how to thicken stew is to mix the flour and water to make the flour roux. This is one of the most typical techniques used to thicken beef stew. The main protein in flour is gluten. Once the flour is combined with water, the protein chains link end to end. It forms a web that helps to thicken the sauce.

To make the roux, you need to reduce the heat on the stew. After that, remove a number of the stewing liquid. Heat some fat in a hot pan on medium heat. Remember that butter works best. It’s generally about two tablespoons for a good-sized stew. Afterward, you need to add an equal amount of white flour. Shake the flour around to keep it from burning.

In some recipes, add six tablespoons of flour as well as four tablespoons of butter or meat drippings to make the roux. Finally, you will meet a white-ish yellow paste that melts at the bubble and edges.

Note to keep stirring paste around. Let it darken gradually. The darker your flour roux, the more flavor it will add (flour gains nutty flavor when it cooks). But, the less thickening power it will have.

Step 3: Add the flour roux to the stew

The third step of how to thicken stew is to add the flour roux into the stew. When the paste has been thickened, it can be stirred into your stew. It is necessary to cook the stew for another five until ten minutes.
It will make sure that the flour doesn’t add a “raw” taste.

But, it should not be cooked much longer than it needs. It’s because the thickening power of the roux will be crushed by the prolonged cooking time.

Note that the roux will decrease the intensity of the spices a bit. Hence, you need to make sure to taste the stew in order to inspect the seasoning balance before you serve it.

You can use milk rather than water to create the flour roux. But, milk is quite easy to be sticky and burned. As your information, rice flour or oatmeal can be used rather than white flour.

2. How to Thicken Beef Stew: Creating Beurre Manié Flour Roux to Thicken Stew

Flickr - Photo by Roger Johnson

Here’s how to thicken stew using Beurre Manie flour roux.
Step 1: Take the same parts butter and flour. Squeeze them together.
Step 2: The butter should be a bit soft before mixing it with the flour. For about 3 quarts of stew, use 2-3 tablespoons of butter as well as an equal amount of flour.
Step 3: Immediately before you serve it, move the liquid to a strong simmer.
Step 4: Shake a little dob of the beurre manié into the stew. Then, you need to return the liquid to a simmer, while you whisk it constantly.


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