Why Is My Gravy Not Thickening? (Explained)

Gravy can be fickle.  It took me many years to get it just right.  It was either too thick, too thin, or had those pesky lumps.  My husband prefers his gravy a little on the thick side whereas I prefer mine just a little thinner.  It took many tries to get where we were both satisfied.   Many have difficulty with gravy not thickening.  Read on to find out why.

Why Is My Gravy Not Thickening

Gravy not thickening comes down to 2 main reasons. 1. You are not using enough flour or corn starch. Both of these ingredients are thickening agents. And 2. You are using too much liquid.  If the liquid to flour /corn starch ratio is too low your gravy will be thin. 

Flour Vs Corn Starch

Flour and corn starch are thickening bases for gravy.  When they are added to liquid the starches expand helping to thicken whatever you are adding it to.  If you are on a gluten-free diet then your best bet is to use corn starch.  Corn starch does have more thickening power than flour because it is pure starch whereas flour has some protein in it. 

You will need less corn starch than flour for equal thickening and corn starch will not clump when added to liquid. It will thicken very quickly and if you add too much you will end up with a gel-style gravy.  

Flour has a tendency to clump.  And then you end up with those ugly lumps in your gravy.  The trick is to whisk the flour in and constantly stir the gravy after all the flour is added. You may still have a few lumps but hey that’s ok  I don’t mind a few small lumps I’m only human after all:)

 Roux 

Sausage gravy is a perfect example of using a roux.  Not sure what a roux is?  Check this out.

I have to admit that I don’t do any measuring when making sausage gravy.  I don’t drain my grease from the sausage either.  Too much work:)  

I add my flour slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir stir stir until the sausage and the grease have absorbed the flour and I get a roux. 

It is important to cook your flour for a few minutes to cook out that raw flour taste. Then I slowly add my liquid(milk) 1 cup at a time until the gravy is at the thickness I want. My dad always told me that once the gravy begins to bubble, it is as thick as it’s gonna be.

So when the gravy begins to bubble and the mixture is too thick I just add a little more milk.  I do this process over and over again until I get the gravy to the thickness I want.

But for the ones that want measurements.  Drain your sausage and set it aside.  Measure the grease back into your skillet.  To make the roux, the ratio is 2 tablespoons flour for every 2 tablespoons of sausage grease.  Cook for a few minutes then start adding your milk,1 cup at a time, stirring constantly.  Keep adding your milk a little at a time until you achieve the thickness you want.

Slurry

A slurry is most commonly made with corn starch added to water and mixed.  Then added to the mixture you want to thicken. This method is mainly used to thicken soups and stews. But I use this method to make gravy with the broth from my roast. Why is Corn starch used instead of flour? Because it does not clump as bad as flour when added to the water 

The usual ratio is for every cup of liquid/broth you will need to make a slurry of 2 tablespoons of flour/corn starch in a 1/4 cup of water. Watch the video below on how to make a slurry.

A Fix For Gravy Not Thickening

A great way to thicken your gravy is to take equal parts of softened butter and flour/corn starch and mash this into a paste. Then slowly whish this into your gravy. 

gravy ot thickening

Make sure to whisk/stir constantly.  If you are using cornstarch make sure and add a little at a time. If your gravy ends up too thick, no problem.  Just add more liquid. 

Final Thoughts

Everyone has their own preference for the thickness of their gravy.  Some like it more on the thick side and then there are the ones who like it just a bit thinner. But no one wants a runny gravy.  Gravy not thickening is a problem for many.  

The reason? You are either not using enough flour/corn starch or too much liquid. The ratio to remember is: when using a roux for the base of your gravy, for each cup of gravy it is 2 tablespoons of flour to 2 tablespoons of fat/drippings and 1 cup of liquid.

When using a slurry, the ratio is 2 tablespoons of flour/corn starch in 1/4 cup of cold water for each 1 cup of liquid. Be aware that corn starch has more thickening power than flour so you may need less for equal thickening.  

A great way to fix gravy not thickening is to take equal parts of flour and butter made into a paste and slowly whisked into your gravy. 

To keep your gravy free of lumps just remember to stir it constantly.  Movement and heat will help to break up those lumps.

I hope you found this article helpful when it comes to making gravy. Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts. I love hearing from you.

And Has Always

Have A Wonderful Day!

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