In this article, I cover six quick and effective ways to thicken up your buffalo sauce with things you already have in your kitchen.
So, how do you thicken up buffalo sauce?
To thicken buffalo sauce, create a cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and water), bring your buffalo sauce to a simmer, and mix in the slurry. You can also use a roux, reduce the sauce, or add a thick ingredient like blended cashews, ketchup, or parmesan cheese.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
How to thicken buffalo sauce with cornstarch
This is a quick, easy, and very effective way of thickening buffalo sauce. You can add it to an already made sauce that’s too thin and it won’t have any impact on the flavor.
What you’ll need
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoons cold water
- small bowl
- small pan
- Combine both one tablespoon of cornstarch with one tablespoon of cold water in a small bowl. This is your cornstarch slurry.
- Whisk until the consistency of the slurry is smooth and there are no lumps.
- Bring your buffalo sauce to a low boil.
- Whisk in the slurry, continuing to stir until the sauce visibly thickens. The sauce should thicken quickly, if it doesn’t the sauce is likely too cold.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and stop stirring once it’s thickened. Over heating will cause the cornstarch to break down.
If you don’t have any cornstarch available, you can substitute it for arrowroot, tapioca flour, or potato starch.
Note that cornstarch doesn’t freeze well, the sauce will turn spongey if you freeze it. So if you plan on freezing the sauce, go for arrowroot instead.
The amount of cornstarch slurry you’ll need depends on the volume of sauce you want to thicken up. As a general rule, I recommend a mix of 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water for each cup of buffalo sauce.]
Psst… cornstarch will make your sauce nice and glossy!
How to thicken buffalo sauce with a roux
Making a roux is a fantastic way to get a perfectly emulsified and thick buffalo sauce.
What you’ll need
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium heat.
- Add the flour to the pan once the butter has melted and whisk until no lumps remain.
- Continue to whisk the roux for 3-5 minutes, until you can no longer smell the flour. The roux should be gently bubbling but don’t let it boil.
- Remove the roux from the heat and add in a little of your buffalo sauce. Stir until a smoothe paste is formed.
- Put the pan back on the heat and slowly add in the rest of the sauce, stirring continuously.
- The sauce should thicken in around 3-5 minutes.
The sauce will thicken as it cools as well, so keep this in mind when you decide how much roux to use.
As a general rule, 2 tablespoons of flour will thicken one cup of sauce. But you can always add more roux if you need.
Pro tip: you can also use a beurre manie, which is a simple mixture of equal parts flour and butter. Whisk this into your simmering buffalo sauce and cook for at least 5 minutes to get rid of any raw flour taste.
How to thicken buffalo sauce by reducing it
Reducing your buffalo sauce will thicken it and intensify the flavor. Bring your buffalo sauce to a boil in a pan, and then reduce it to a simmer. Keep simmering the sauce, stirring occasionally, until it reaches your desired consistency.
You’ll lose some volume in the sauce, so this method only works if you can afford to end up with less sauce.
You can use a wooden spoon to monitor how much sauce you’re losing. Dip the wooden spoon into the pan to visualize the starting point.
You can then dip the same spoon into the pan and compare the markings to get an idea of how much the sauce has reduced.
The sauce will thicken quite quickly, so I would recommend starting with 10 minutes of ‘reducing’ time and then going from there.
Related: How To Thicken Up Ranch Dressing
How to thicken buffalo sauce with extra ingredients
An easy way to thicken buffalo sauce is to add something thick. For example you can mix in ketchup or sriracha. These ingredients are naturally thick so will help a thin sauce (although not dramatically). Another idea is blended cashews or parmesan cheese. Or try an emulsifier like honey or mustard.
Once cause of a thin buffalo sauce is that it’s split.
To fix this you can mix in an emulsifier (e.g honey or mustard) to re-bind the sauce and thicken it. You can learn more about this in my article on how to get buffalo sauce to stick to wings.
Other ways to thicken buffalo sauce
The above methods are the most effective ways to thicken a buffalo sauce. But they’re not the only ways!
Here are some more ideas:
- Coat your wings in the buffalo sauce and then toss then back onto the grill or into a hot oven. The heat will thicken sauce sauce and turn it into more of a glaze. You can repeat this process two or three times if you need.
- Use xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is a really powerful thickener, so you don’t need a lot. And it works really fast, so it’s a great ingredient to have in your cupboard. You just have to make sure not to add too much, or your sauce will turn into goo!
A thick buffalo sauce recipe
If you haven’t yet made your buffalo sauce, or want to try something guaranteed to be thick and sticky, check out my recipe below.
You’ll notice that the amount of butter I use is more compared to other buffalo sauce recipes. This helps to give the sauce a really thick and creamy texture. I also use honey which is a natural emulsifier and will help bind the sauce.
If you like your sauce spicy, add some cayenne pepper to your liking so you don’t lose the kick.
- 1.2 cups Frank’s Red Hot sauce
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey.
- 1 dash garlic powder (optional)
- 1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a pan over a medium heat
- Stir with a whisk until the mixture starts to simmer
- Continue whisking for another 20-30 seconds
- Once you notice the mixture begin to bubble, remove it from the heat
- Continue stirring the mixture for another 30 seconds to ensure a smooth consistency
RELATED: How To Reheat Buffalo Chicken Dip
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How To Thicken Buffalo Sauce [Tried And Tested Methods]
- small pan
- 1 cup buffalo sauce
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (cornstarch method)
- 1 tbsp cold water (cornstarch method)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter (roux method)
- 2 tbsp flour (roux method)
Thicken Buffalo Sauce Using Cornstarch
- Combine both the cornstarch and cold water in a bowl.
- Whisk until the consistency of the slurry is smooth and no lumps remain.
- Add your buffalo sauce to a small pan and bring to a simmer.
- Whisk the slurry into your simmering buffalo sauce until the sauce visibly thickens and starts to boil.
- Don’t cook any longer than required to remove the starchy taste as you risk the starch breaking down and your sauce thinning again.
Thicken Buffalo Sauce Without Cornstarch (Roux Method)
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
- Add the flour to the pan once the butter has melted.
- Whisk together for at least one minute. This helps to make sure no flour flavor remains in the roux.
- Once the roux looks bubbly and smells cooked and buttery, turn off the heat.
- By turning off the heat now, lumps are less likely to form in the final sauce.
- Slowly add the buffalo sauce into the pan, making sure to whisk continuously as you do.
- Once the roux and buffalo sauce are mixed together, turn on the heat to a low setting.
- Continue whisking the sauce until it visibly thickens. This usually takes around 2-4 minutes.