How To Thicken Alfredo Sauce: Five Everyday Kitchen Ingredients You Can Use
Sauces are a big part of Italian cuisine. They give flavor and life to different forms of pasta dishes and other starchy recipes. Creamy sauces such as Alfredo must retain a signature richness to create the perfect meal, otherwise, the quality won’t be the same. With this in mind, the biggest thing to make sure of when cooking your own Alfredo sauce is to create a rich and thick sauce.
In order to achieve this, you must be successful in reduction. This is simply simmering the liquid enough so that excess moisture will evaporate, and hopefully, you will end up with a nice, thick sauce. In some cases, however, the reduction is not enough. If this is your situation, you may have to learn how to thicken Alfredo sauce by adding “thickeners”.
There are different thickening agents that you can use. Luckily, most of these are all readily available in your pantry and kitchen.
How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce Using Eggs
Eggs are very effective sauce thickeners, especially if the sauces already have eggs in them. One issue is curdling, which happens when yolks come into contact with hot liquids. You can address this by carefully warming the yolk separately instead, a process known as tempering. This prepares it for the sauce.
1. To temper, whisk the yolk with a splash of milk or cream. This buffer the delicate yolk from the hot liquid sauce.
2. Whisk a few spoonfuls of the Alfredo sauce into the tempered yolk at a time. Keep doing so until you have about 1/3 or 1/4 cup of mixture.
3. Add the yolk mixture to the rest of the sauce. Now you can simmer, but only on LOW heat.
How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce Using Flour
Every kitchen is stocked with flour. It’s one of the most staple ingredients in the world. So it presents itself as the easiest and most convenient thickening agent for our purpose. You can use whichever variant you prefer.
Instant flour is one that has gone through a more elaborate milling process, which means it has really fine low-protein grains that dissolve quickly. Using this kind of flour usually, eliminates having to deal with lumps because it is naturally refined.
You can also use regular, all-purpose flour. This may clump more often, but you should be able to resolve this by some thorough whisking of the sauce.
1. Add 1 tbsp of flour to your sauce.
2. Simmer for about five minutes, more or less. This also eliminates the raw taste of flour.
3. Check the sauce while simmering before deciding to add more thickening flour, depending on your desired consistency.
How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce Using Roux
Roux is popular in the sauce-thickening world. It is a mixture of flour and fat (meat drippings or butter) that is cooked together. Many love using bacon fat, although butter is pretty commonly used, too.
1. Place a pan over LOW heat. Pour in the fat.
2. Add an equal amount of flour.
3. Cook the mixture for 5-15 minutes.
4. Keep whisking until you get a golden hue or a whitish color. (If it turns brown, lower the heat immediately!)
5. Once the roux is done, add 1 tbsp to your already simmering Alfredo sauce.
6. Stir every now and then to remove any lumps.
7. Reduce the heat even lower if you have gotten your desired consistency. Cook for a few more minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste.
How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce Using Beurre Manié
Beurre manié is simply kneaded butter in plain English. It is a good thickener that is comprised of 50% flour and 50% cold butter. If you’re making your own beurre manié, do not use margarine - only real butter will work.
1. Mix the flour and cold butter together in a bowl. Make sure they are equal parts.
2. Keep mashing until you form a thick paste, almost like a dough.
3. Take out about 1 tbsp of the kneaded butter and roll it into a ball using your hands.
4. Add this ball of kneaded butter onto your Alfredo sauce.
5. Stir occasionally until you achieve the desired consistency of the sauce.
6. As soon as you are happy with the sauce, remove the saucepan from the heat to avoid getting an overly starchy flavor.
How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce Using Cornstarch
Compared to other thickeners, cornstarch is a lot milder in taste. The problem is that it clumps up as soon as it contacts any hot liquid. In order to avoid this, follow these steps instead:
1. Whisk an equal amount of cornstarch with milk or cold water. Make a slurry.
2. Once ready, add this mixture to the hot sauce - it won’t clump anymore.
3. Do not over-stir, however, because this can lead to thinning of the sauce.
4. Add the cornstarch slurry when you are about to serve the sauce, because if left for too long to cool down at room temperature, it will become gelatinous.
Pro chefs and seasoned cooks will have no problem using cornstarch for thickening sauces. But if the process is too complicated, use other forms of thickeners instead.
Feel free to experiment with these thickening agents the next time you come up with a sauce that just isn’t thick enough. Share your results with us!
Which one was your most effective way on how to thicken Alfredo sauce?