7 Ways To Thicken BBQ Sauce

It is one of life’s greatest pleasures to cook your favorite food on the grill in summer and smother it with BBQ sauce. Whenever I cook, I like to use delicious sauces to complement all the best foods. 

As summer fast approaches, you may be interested in learning how to make delicious homemade BBQ sauce. It’s always a highlight of any barbecue to have the perfect sauce, and it can make or break the entire meal.

In order to achieve the best results when making sauce, it’s essential to learn some of the basics. It can be difficult to make thick and sticky sauce from store-bought sauces, since most of them are way too thin.

Sauces must have a certain thickness in order to properly coat whatever you have prepared. Otherwise, they will slide right off after you put them on.

It’s inevitable that BBQ sauce will make a mess when it’s involved (part of the fun), but it should stay on your food as much as possible.

So, what is the best way to thicken your BBQ sauce? The best way to thicken your sauce is to reduce it, add cornstarch or white flour, add fat, such as butter, and use gelatin, tomato paste, or xantham gum. 

You can learn how to make sauces like a pro by following these simple methods, complete with measurements and recipes.

The 7 Best Ways To Thicken BBQ Sauce

Depending on what you have on hand, there are many great ways to thicken BBQ sauce. The final flavor of your sauce will also be affected by the different methods you use. 

Ways To Thicken BBQ Sauce

It is always a good idea to add some salt at the very end of the cooking process to help bring out all of the flavors.

Depending on your taste, you may want to start with a 1/4 teaspoon, stir it in, and add small amounts until you reach the flavor you like. 

Reducing Your BBQ Sauce

You don’t need to make any additional BBQ sauce to reduce your BBQ sauce.

Additionally, it’s a good option if the taste doesn’t quite live up to your expectations. When you reduce a sauce, the flavors are concentrated and the consistency becomes thick and sticky. 

Step 1: 

In a medium saucepan, combine the BBQ sauce and the water. 

Step 2: 

Start forming small bubbles on the surface of the sauce as you bring it to a gentle boil. Be sure to stir your sauce periodically to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. 

Step 3:

When the mixture has boiled, turn the heat down to medium. 

In other words, letting it simmer for a longer period of time will result in a thicker sauce, because the steam evaporating off the sauce is the excess liquid. It will also become thicker as it cools, so don’t let it get too thick.

Every couple of minutes, check the consistency with a spoon.

Step 4: 

Allow to cool after removing from heat. Serve with food of your choice. 

In the above example, you can see how simple it is to thicken a sauce using this method. This will, however, make the flavors stronger. When saucing your food, less is more. 

Thicken BBQ Sauce With Cornstarch

Adding cornstarch is also an option for thickening BBQ sauce. Activating the thickening process still requires you to heat the sauce, but it will take less time than reducing it.

Thicken BBQ Sauce With Cornstarch

Making a slurry out of cornstarch and water and stirring it into your sauce is the most important step in this process.

The cornstarch will become clumpy and unappetizing if it is added directly to the saucepan. 

Step 1: 

Calculate the amount of BBQ sauce you will thicken. 

Step 2: 

You will need one tablespoon of cornstarch to every 250 ml of BBQ sauce and 1/4 cup of warm water to thin it out.

Step 3: 

Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until smooth. Make sure there are no clumps left, otherwise the sauce will be contaminated. 

Step 4:

Bring the BBQ sauce to a boil in a small saucepan. 

Step 5: 

Combine the cornstarch mixture with the BBQ sauce by stirring until it is thoroughly blended. 

Step 6:

Occasionally stir the BBQ sauce as it comes to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat once it is boiling. 

Step 7: 

As the sauce thickens, stir it for two minutes. As you heat it longer, it will become thicker. 

Step 8:

Place the sauce in a bowl or container after it has been removed from the stove top. Enjoy! 

Thicken BBQ Sauce With Regular Flour

Regular flour can be used to thicken BBQ sauces in the same way as cornstarch. However, the measurements are slightly different.

Because it has more starch, white flour is recommended over whole wheat for thickening sauces.

To avoid clumpiness in your sauce, combine the flour with water in a slurry before stirring it in.

Step 1: 

To thicken the BBQ sauce, measure the amount needed. 

Step 2: 

Each 250 ml of BBQ sauce should be mixed with two tablespoons of flour and half a cup of warm water.

Step 3: 

In a small bowl, combine flour and water until smooth. Be sure to thoroughly mix to avoid lumps.

Step 4:

In a small saucepan, heat the BBQ sauce over medium heat.

Step 5: 

Flour and BBQ sauce should be combined. 

Step 6:

During the simmering process, stir occasionally. As soon as the sauce is simmering, lower the heat. 

Step 7: 

Stir the mixture for two minutes. The longer you cook it, the thicker the sauce will become.

Step 8:

After your sauce has been prepared, pour it into a container and enjoy! 

Thicken BBQ Sauce By Adding Butter

Thicken BBQ Sauce By Adding Butter

I like to add butter to sauces to thicken them. The sauce becomes luscious and the flavors are rounded out.

If you have unsalted butter on hand, feel free to substitute it for the salted butter. 

Step 1: 

Before making your barbecue sauce, measure out the amount. 

Step 2: 

Prepare at least one tablespoon of butter for every 250 ml of BBQ sauce. For good measure, I always use one heaping tablespoon.

Step 3: 

Slowly heat the BBQ sauce in a small saucepan after adding it. 

Step 4: 

As you stir, add a tablespoon of butter at a time, until all of it has melted. 

Step 5:

Bring the BBQ sauce to a gentle boil while stirring continuously. Reduce the heat as soon as it has begun to boil. 

Step 6: 

Stir the sauce as it slowly reduces for two minutes. Your BBQ sauce will become thicker the longer you cook it. A little more butter will also ensure the desired thickness.

Step 7:

Cool your sauce by pouring it into a bowl or container. Enjoy! 

Thicken BBQ Sauce With Gelatin

As another option for thickening sauces of any kind, gelatin can be used. Because it is flavorless, it shouldn’t significantly affect the taste of your sauce. Additionally, it creates a really lovely texture when thickened. 

Thicken BBQ Sauce With Gelatin

As with thickening your sauce with cornstarch or flour, you must dissolve the gelatin in water before adding it, or unappetizing clumps will result. 

Step 1: 

To thicken BBQ sauce, figure out how much you need. 

Step 2: 

For every 250 ml BBQ sauce, measure out 1 tablespoon gelatin and 1/4 cup cold water. 

Step 3: 

Gelatin and water should be mixed in a separate bowl until no clumps remain.

After it has bloomed for a couple of minutes, the gelatin is activated. The final sauce won’t be smooth if you skip this step.

Step 4:

Place your BBQ sauce on a medium heat in a small saucepan. 

Step 5: 

Heat the BBQ sauce and add the gelatin mixture. 

Step 6:

Stir the BBQ sauce occasionally while bringing it to a gentle boil. Then turn the heat down to a low setting. 

Step 7: 

The sauce will thicken further after two minutes of stirring.

Step 8:

After you’re finished cooking, pour your sauce into a bowl or container and enjoy! 

Thicken BBQ Sauce With Tomato Paste

Thicken BBQ Sauce With Tomato Paste

You can use this method to thicken BBQ sauce that has a tomato base. To avoid thinning your BBQ sauce even more, use tomato paste rather than tomato sauce.

Step 1: 

In a saucepan, heat your BBQ sauce over medium heat. 

Step 2:

For each cup of BBQ sauce, stir in about 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. There is a little less precision in measurements for this method, as well as more flexibility. 

Step 3: 

As you stir the BBQ sauce, begin to gently simmer it. Turn the heat to low once it begins to boil. 

Step 4: 

As the sauce reduces, continue stirring for two minutes.

Step 5:

Before eating, turn off the heat and let the food cool. 

Thicken BBQ Sauce With Xantham Gum 

It is great to thicken with xantham gum because a little bit goes a long way. Adding it to your sauce does not require you to make a slurry, so you are saving time.

You can dissolve it in hot or cold liquids and the result will be a creamy mouthfeel. 

Step 1: 

In a small saucepan, bring your BBQ sauce to a simmer and reduce it. 

Step 2:

For every cup of BBQ sauce, add 1/4 teaspoon of xantham gum. 

Step 3: 

Stirring the BBQ sauce, bring it to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat once it has boiled. 

Step 4: 

As you stir your sauce, continue to do so for two minutes. Cooking it longer will result in a thicker sauce. 

Step 5:

Take a small bowl and pour your sauce into it. 

Related Questions

You may have other questions now that you know how to thicken your own BBQ sauce in order to grill and sauté like a pro. 

How do I make my sauce stick to my food?

There are two ways to make your BBQ sauce stick to your grilled food. Your food should be generously salted and peppered before serving it.

In addition to improving the flavor, these seasonings also add texture to the sauce.

You should also wait about 2-4 minutes before adding your sauce to your meat or veggies.

During cooking, your food sweats moisture, which can cause your sauce to slide right off your grill and into it! 

Which thickener is best for a keto or low carb diet?

You will want to use the following methods to thicken your sauce without adding additional carbs: 

  • Sauces should be reduced
  • Butter or gelatin can be used to thicken
  • Tomato paste can be used to thicken 
  • Thicken with xantham gum

You will add more carbohydrates to your sauce by thickening it with cornstarch, flour, or any other starch. Therefore, if you want the low-carb option, these are the best methods. 

How do I thicken BBQ sauce in a slow cooker?

You can use any of the above ingredients to thicken your sauce in the slow cooker. Ensure that the thickener is properly incorporated into the sauce.

Afterward, you can turn the slow cooker to high and let it reduce with the lid off until you achieve the consistency you desire. 

It will take longer to reach a sticky consistency if you decide to leave the lid on, but still should be ready after some time. 

There are a variety of options for thickening your barbecue sauce, as you can see. You should not be afraid to try out different methods in your kitchen until you find your favorite.

Don’t forget to add salt at the end, unless you’re reducing.

How do you thicken your barbecue sauce? Comment below if you do. Happy cooking!

If you’re interested in making a deliciously thick BBQ sauce at home, check out this video by the Kitchen Sanctuary.

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