how to thicken gravy in a crockpot

Creating the perfect crockpot gravy can be tricky, especially when it comes to getting that ideal thickness. A common challenge is ending up with a sauce that’s too thin and lacks that rich consistency we all love.

Luckily, this post offers simple solutions for thickening your crockpot creations to velvety perfection using ingredients you likely have on hand. Dive in to transform your runny gravy into the star of your meal!

Key Takeaways

  • You can use a slurry of cornstarch and water or milk to thicken gravy in a crockpot. Mix it smooth, add some hot liquid from the pot, then put it all back in and stir.
  • Making a roux with flour and fat is another way to get thick gravy. Cook them together in a pan first, then slowly whisk into your crockpot.
  • Instant mashed potato flakes are quick for thickening too. Just sprinkle them in and wait until your gravy’s as thick as you like.
  • If you need gluten – free options, xanthan gum works well. Make sure to mix it with water before adding so there are no lumps.
  • To make sure your gravy isn’t lumpy, always whisk the thickener into cold liquid first and pour it into the crockpot slowly while mixing. Adjust how much you use based on how thick you want your sauce.

Methods for Thickening Gravy in a Crockpot

To achieve the perfect consistency for your gravy in a crockpot, there are several methods you can use, such as creating a slurry with cornstarch and water or milk, making a roux with flour and fat, using instant mashed potato flakes, or opting for xanthan gum as a gluten-free thickening option.

Each method offers its own unique benefits and can be tailored to suit your specific dietary needs.

Using a Slurry (mix of cornstarch and water/milk)

You can thicken gravy in your crockpot by making a slurry with cornstarch and water or milk. This is a simple way to get your gravy to the perfect thickness.

  • Get some cornstarch and cold water or milk. Make sure they are both ready to use.
  • Mix them together in a small bowl. You want no lumps, so stir until it’s smooth.
  • Take some of the hot liquid from your crockpot. Slowly pour it into the bowl with your cornstarch mixture.
  • Stir this mix well. It helps blend everything without clumps forming.
  • Pour the smooth mixture back into your crockpot. Do this gently to avoid splashing.
  • Stir everything in the crockpot together. Keep going until you see it mix well with the rest.
  • Turn up the heat if you can. Letting the gravy boil for a short time helps it thicken.
  • Watch closely as your gravy gets thicker. Give it a few minutes but don’t wander off too far.
  • If the gravy isn’t as thick as you want, you can repeat these steps. Just add small amounts each time.

Using a Roux (flour and fat mixture)

To thicken gravy in a crockpot, you can use a roux, which is a simple mixture of flour and fat. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by melting butter or heating oil in a separate pan.
  2. Add an equal amount of flour to the melted fat and stir continuously until it forms a smooth paste.
  3. Let the roux cook for a few minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.
  4. Gradually whisk in some hot liquid from your crockpot to create a smooth mixture.
  5. Once combined, pour the roux mixture back into your crockpot and stir well to incorporate it with the existing liquid.
  6. Allow the gravy to simmer for some time, stirring occasionally, until it reaches your desired thickness.

Using Instant Mashed Potato Flakes

You can use instant mashed potato flakes to thicken gravy in a crockpot. Here’s how:

  1. Stir in small amounts of instant mashed potato flakes at a time.
  2. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes before adding more flakes, as they will continue to thicken the gravy.
  3. Continue this process until the desired consistency is reached.
  4. Taste the gravy and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Using Xanthan Gum (gluten-free option)

Xanthan gum is a gluten-free thickening agent that can be used to thicken gravy in a crockpot. It is a tasteless and odorless powder derived from corn, soy, or wheat. Here’s how to use xanthan gum as a thickening agent for your gravy:

  1. Start by mixing a small amount of xanthan gum with water or another liquid until it forms a smooth slurry.
  2. Gradually whisk the slurry into your crockpot containing the hot liquid, such as broth or meat juices, stirring constantly to prevent clumping.
  3. Allow the gravy to simmer for a few minutes to activate the thickening power of xanthan gum.
  4. Adjust the amount of xanthan gum based on the desired thickness, keeping in mind that a little goes a long way due to its strong thickening properties.
  5. Avoid adding xanthan gum directly into hot liquids as it can form lumps; instead, always create a slurry first before incorporating it into the gravy.

Tips for Achieving the Perfect Gravy Consistency

Whisk the thickening agent into cold liquid first, gradually add the mixture to the crockpot, and adjust the liquid to thickening agent ratio based on desired consistency. Learn more about achieving the perfect gravy consistency by reading our full blog post!

Whisking the thickening agent into cold liquid first

Start by pouring the cold liquid into a bowl. Then, add the cornstarch or flour to the bowl with the cold liquid. Use a whisk to blend them together until smooth and free of lumps.

After that, gradually pour this mixture into your crockpot while stirring continuously to prevent clumping. Allow it to simmer for some time before checking the consistency.

Gradually adding the mixture to the crockpot

Slowly pour the slurry, roux, or any thickening agent into the crockpot while stirring continuously. This helps to prevent clumps and ensures even distribution of the thickening agent throughout the gravy or stew.

By adding it gradually, you can gauge the consistency and stop when it reaches your desired thickness without overdoing it.

To avoid lumps, do not dump all the mixture in at once; this gives you better control over achieving just the right texture for your gravy. Gradually incorporating allows for adjustments based on how much thickening is needed.

Adjusting the liquid to thickening agent ratio based on desired consistency

To achieve the perfect gravy consistency, adjust the ratio between the liquid and thickening agent. Start with a small amount of thickening agent, like cornstarch or flour, mixed into cold water or broth.

Then gradually add this mixture to the crockpot while whisking constantly until reaching your desired thickness. If the gravy is still too thin, repeat this process with a little more thickening agent until it’s just right.

By adjusting the liquid to thickening agent ratio based on your preferred consistency, you can customize your gravy to suit your taste and ensure it complements your dish perfectly without being too runny or overly thick.

Common Questions or Concerns About Thickening Gravy

How to thin gravy if it becomes too thick or lumpy, how to thicken gravy without using flour or cornstarch, and tips for making gluten-free gravy will be addressed in this section.

How to thin gravy if it becomes too thick

If your gravy becomes too thick, here are some easy ways to thin it out:

  1. Add more liquid: Slowly pour in some broth or water while whisking until it reaches the desired consistency.
  2. Adjust seasoning: Taste the gravy and add more seasoning if diluting it affects the flavor.
  3. Use a fat separator: If the gravy is too greasy, use a fat separator to remove excess fat before thinning it with more liquid.
  4. Strain the gravy: If there are lumps or bits in the gravy, strain it to achieve a smoother consistency.
  5. Heat and stir: Place the crockpot on low heat and stir continuously as you add small amounts of liquid until the gravy thins out evenly.

How to thicken gravy without flour or cornstarch

If you want to thicken gravy without flour or cornstarch, here are some options:

  1. Use Arrowroot Powder: This gluten-free thickener works well for sauces and gravies. Mix it with a small amount of cold water before adding it to the crockpot.
  2. Try Tapioca Starch: Another gluten-free alternative that can be used to thicken gravy in a crockpot. Mix it with cold liquid before adding it to the slow cooker.
  3. Experiment with Potato Starch: This starch is versatile and effective for thickening gravies in a crockpot. Blend it with cold liquid before incorporating it into the dish.
  4. Consider Using Agar-Agar: A plant-based thickening agent derived from seaweed, agar-agar can be used to thicken gravy in a crockpot by dissolving it in cold water first.
  5. Explore the Option of ClearJel: This modified food starch is often used for canning fruit but also serves as an effective thickening agent for gravy in a crockpot when combined with cold liquid before adding it to the dish.

How to make gluten-free gravy

To make gluten-free gravy, you can use xanthan gum as a thickening agent. Xanthan gum is a common alternative to flour or cornstarch and works well in crockpot recipes. Simply whisk a small amount of xanthan gum into cold liquid before gradually adding it to the crockpot.

This will help create a smooth and gluten-free gravy that pairs perfectly with your favorite dishes.

When making gluten-free gravy, it’s important to consider alternatives like using xanthan gum instead of traditional flour or cornstarch. By incorporating this simple substitution into your cooking routine, you can enjoy flavorful and satisfying meals without compromising on dietary restrictions or preferences.

Inspiration for Pairing Gravy with Other Foods

Pairing gravy with mashed potatoes and roast beef is a classic combination that never fails to satisfy. However, you can also get creative by trying out different pairings such as serving gravy over breakfast dishes or using it as a savory sauce for sandwiches.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to finding new and exciting ways to enjoy gravy with your favorite foods.

Classic combinations (mashed potatoes, roast beef, etc.)

Gravy is great with mashed potatoes, roast beef, and other foods. Here are some classic pairings to inspire you:

  • Mashed potatoes and gravy: A classic comfort food combination that everyone loves.
  • Roast beef and gravy: The rich flavor of the roast beef complements the savory taste of the gravy.
  • Biscuits and gravy: This hearty and satisfying dish is perfect for breakfast or brunch.
  • Fried chicken and gravy: The crispy chicken paired with creamy gravy creates a delicious contrast in texture and flavor.
  • Meatloaf and gravy: The flavorful meatloaf becomes even more delicious when topped with savory gravy.

Unique and creative pairings (breakfast dishes, sandwiches, etc.)

Many creative ways to serve gravy:

  1. Pour over biscuits for a savory breakfast treat.
  2. Drizzle on top of a breakfast burrito or breakfast sandwich for added flavor.
  3. Use as a dipping sauce for crispy bacon or sausage links.
  4. Spread on toast before adding eggs and bacon for an extra burst of flavor.
  5. Serve alongside hash browns or home fries for a delicious twist on a classic breakfast dish.
  6. Use as a spread in a breakfast wrap with scrambled eggs, cheese, and vegetables.
  7. Pair with fried chicken between two waffles for a unique take on the classic chicken and waffles dish.


In conclusion, thickening gravy in a crockpot is easy and versatile. Whether using a slurry, roux, instant mashed potato flakes, or xanthan gum, achieving the perfect consistency is achievable.

Remember to gradually add the thickening agent mixture while whisking for best results. Experiment with different pairings to discover new and exciting flavor combinations.


1. How do I make my gravy thicker in a crockpot?

To thicken gravy in a crockpot, you can use flour or cornstarch to make a slurry, then stir it into your sauce or stew.

2. What if I don’t want to use flour, how else can I thicken my stew in the slow cooker?

If you don’t want to use flour, try using cornstarch or cornflour as a thickening agent for your stews and soups in the slow cooker.

3. Can you give me some tips for thickening sauces in my slow cooker dishes?

For thicker sauces, mix cornstarch with cold water to create a slurry and add it into your dish, or slowly sprinkle and whisk flour directly into the sauce.

4. Is there a way to thicken beef gravy without changing the flavor too much?

Yes! Use methods like making a slurry from cornstarch or flour and water; it will help thicken your beef gravy without affecting the taste too much.

5. What if I need to thicken soup but have no cornstarch or flour?

To thicken soup without these, reduce liquid by cooking longer with an open lid or mash some of the ingredients like vegetables right in the slow cooker.

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