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How to thicken beef stock

Updated April 17, 2017

Thickening beef stock is typically done to create a gravy, sauce or thick stew. The idea of thickening a sauce without creating lumps or a gummy mess is a daunting task for many. To make a thickened sauce from beef stock, you have several options, depending on your dietary preferences. Follow a few basic steps to make a thickened sauce that is just as good, or even better, than the ones you have tried in restaurants.

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Thickened stock

  1. Heat 2 cups of beef stock to boiling. Use a jar of stock or your own homemade variety.

  2. Stir 2 tbsp of cornstarch into 1/4 cup of cold water. Dissolve the cornstarch thoroughly.

  3. Slowly pour the cornstarch liquid into the simmering beef stock.

  4. Cook and stir until blended and of desired consistency.

Kneaded butter

  1. Heat beef stock to a simmer over a medium heat.

  2. Knead together 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour with your fingers. Shape the mixture into small balls.

  3. Drop the kneaded butter balls into the hot beef stock.

  4. Stir the mixture constantly over a medium heat until the ingredients are well blended and the sauce is thickened.

  5. Do not allow the sauce to boil. Use this method only for recipes that do not require long simmering.

Roux recipe

  1. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan over low heat.

  2. Stir 2 tbsp flour into the butter gradually, maintaining low heat. Continue to heat and stir for three to five minutes. If the flour begins to burn, throw the mixture out and begin again.

  3. Stir in 1 cup of warm beef stock, stirring constantly. Continue to heat and stir until the stock is the desired consistency.

  4. Tip

    Add flour or cornstarch slowly to get the ideal consistency.

    Cornstarch is a more powerful thickener and creates a clearer, shinier sauce than flour.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • Saucepan
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cup
  • Wire whisk
  • Wooden spoon

About the Author

Michele Norfleet is a freelance writer who writes on travel, home and garden and education topics. She has coauthored a handbook for teachers on school-wide discipline and has contributed tips for special-needs students in the basal curriculum for RCL Benziger. Norfleet holds a master's degree from Southern Illinois University and has experience as a special-needs teacher and speech pathologist.

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