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How to make a Cornstarch Slurry

Is your gravy, sauce, or soup a little thin and need to thicken it up? Whisk up a cornstarch slurry in a hurry and make a glossy, thick sauce or stew!

spoon spilling cornstarch

What is a slurry?

Have you heard the term slurry before and wonder what it means? It’s a cooking technique that is easy to use and can save you cooking time in certain recipes. Making you a professional home cook!

It’s a simple combination of a liquid, usually water or broth, and cornstarch that is added to liquid that is cooking. Typically 1 part cornstarch to 2 parts water. Sometimes equal parts are used.

You can also make one with flour or potato starch which is popular in Japanese cooking.

What is the purpose of a cornstarch slurry?

The purpose of a slurry is to thicken soups or other liquids that is too thin without the time needed to reduce the volume. Cornstarch is like a sponge and absorbs the liquid around it. This is great when you need to thicken up sauces and gravies.

Think of it as a miracle concentrated liquid that will help you make silky sauce or add it to pan drippings and make a delicious gravy for mashed potatoes!

Cornstarch thickens in a silky way making it a great thickening agent for fruit fillings like this apple pie filling and cherry pie filling.

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two bowls with cornstarch and water

Ingredients Needed

  • Cornstarch
  • Water

Cornstarch – Also known as corn flour. It is very silky and powdery.

Water – This is the easiest thing to mix with it but you can also use broth or juice. Some prefer cold water but I like to use warm water as I find it mixes better.

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How to make a cornstarch slurry

First: Measure out the cornstarch and water. You need a 2:1 ratio water to cornstarch. The perfect ratio of liquid to starch is 2:1 but if you are more seasoned, you can use equal parts.

Second: Whisk together until smooth.

Third: Pour into your dish and stir. Continue to heat until it reaches the desired consistency.

Be sure to use a cornstarch slurry when you are near the end of the cooking process. If you cook a sauce thickened with cornstarch too long after it is added, the cornstarch can break down and you will end up with a loose sauce again.

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

spoon drizzling cornstarch slurry

What is the difference between a slurry and a roux?

Depending on the recipe, some directions call for making a roux. A roux is a combination of fat and flour that are cooked in a pan before adding the rest of the liquid.

Roux is used as a thickening agent in the beginning of the recipe typically, where as a slurry is used to finish a sauce. This sweet and sour sauce is a great example.

I prefer a roux when making gumbo or gravy as you can brown the flour mixture and get a deep color and extra flavor.

What is better to thicken with, flour or cornstarch slurry?

It all depends on the recipe. A flour thickener needs longer to cook and will make the dish opaque.

A cornstarch slurry delivers results much faster and keeps any soups or sauces clearer. I use one in this Chicken Stir Fry recipe.

Don’t get too eager and toss a tablespoon of cornstarch into the soup thinking you don’t need to mix it with hot liquid first. It will just lump up.

cornstarch slurry pouring into a pot

Tips for No Leftovers

  • Add the liquid to the dry cornstarch to keep lumps down.
  • Whisk the ingredients together until smooth to avoid lumps. If you have some you can always strain it through a sieve if needed.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry a small amount at a time to allow the sauce to thicken. You don’t want to overdo it.
  • Whisk Constantly once added to the sauce to ensure even mixing and thickening.
  • You can also use arrowroot powder or tapioca starch.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

cornstarch slurry with spoon

Whether you are making special stew or if you need to thicken up a sauce at the last minute, a cornstarch slurry is the kitchen technique you need to make professional style recipes!

More Easy Recipes

Printable Recipe Card

spoon and a bowl with white liquid

How to make a Cornstarch Slurry

Yield: 2 tablespoons
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

Whisk up a cornstarch slurry in a hurry and make a glossy, thick sauce or stew!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Whisk the water into the cornstarch.
  2. Continue whisking until smooth.
  3. Slowly pour the cornstarch slurry into your hot liquid or sauce that you are thickening.
  4. Whisk constantly until it reaches the desired consistency.

Notes

  • Add the liquid to the dry cornstarch to keep lumps down.
  • Whisk the ingredients together until smooth to avoid lumps. If you have some you can always strain it through a sieve if needed.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry a small amount at a time to allow the sauce to thicken. You don’t want to overdo it.
  • Whisk Constantly once added to the sauce to ensure even mixing and thickening.
  • You can also use arrowroot powder or tapioca starch.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 2 tablespons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 30Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and we can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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MICHAELA KENKEL

Wednesday 30th of March 2022

Thank you for the very helpful hints!! Bookmarking this one right now!

Susannah

Tuesday 29th of March 2022

My mom used to add a cornstarch slurry to my homemade mac & cheese to make that sauce super silky. Thank you for this reminder!

Min

Monday 28th of March 2022

This is super helpful and I use this to thicken my sauces all the time! Thank you!

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