Recently made a batch of homemade buffalo sauce? Expecting a thick, rich, and tangy sauce but instead got some watery, thin liquid that barely sticks to your wings?
Don’t worry. I have just the solution you’re looking for.
In this article, I cover 3 quick and effective ways to thicken up your buffalo sauce with things you already have in your food cupboard.
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. An alternative to cornstarch is a roux (equal parts butter and flour), or you can use the reduction method.
Thicken Buffalo Sauce Using Cornstarch
My favorite method to thicken buffalo sauce is by using a cornstarch slurry. A cornstarch slurry is simply equal parts cornstarch and cold water mixed together.
If you don’t have any cornstarch available, you can substitute it for arrowroot or potato starch.
Note that cornstarch doesn’t freeze well, the sauce will turn spongey if you freeze it. If you plan on freezing the sauce, go for arrowroot instead because it isn’t affected by freezing.
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.
What you’ll need:
- 1 part cornstarch
- 1 part cold water
- small bowl
- small pan
- Combine both the cornstarch and cold water in a bowl
- Whisk until the consistency of the slurry is smooth and no lumps remain (if you find it easier you can shake the mixture in a container)
- 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 as you risk the starch breaking down and your sauce thinning again
You’ll notice that your sauce rapidly thickens as you add the slurry. Now all you need to do is let it cool for a few minutes and enjoy as you initially planned (with chicken wings, I hope).
Thicken Buffalo Sauce Without Cornstarch
There are a number of different techniques you can use to thicken buffalo sauce that don’t require the use of cornstarch. Creating a roux works best with a pre-made sauce that’s already been made.
You can also use the reduction technique. The reduction technique works best when making the sauce from scratch.
Make a roux
Making a roux is a fantastic way to get a perfectly emulsified and thick buffalo sauce.
If you’ve never heard of a roux – it’s basically just a blend of equal parts flour and fat (in this case, butter).
Here’s how you do it.
What you’ll need:
- 1 part flour
- 1 part butter
- 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 3-5 minutes
And there you have it.
Perfectly thickened, emulsified, and delicious buffalo sauce. The best thing about making a roux to thicken buffalo sauce is that doesn’t impact the texture when chilled.
The reduction technique is the most classic way of thickening a sauce whilst also intensifying the flavor.
Reducing a buffalo sauce is quite simple. Simply bring your buffalo sauce to a boil in a pan, and then reduce to a simmer.
Pay close attention to how much sauce you started with. I like to use a wooden spoon dipped in the pan to help visualize the starting line. 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.
How To Make Buffalo Sauce Stick
There are two main culprits for buffalo sauce not sticking. Sauce that’s too thin, and the food item (usually chicken wings) being too ‘slippery’.
As I’ve already discussed how to thicken your buffalo sauce, let’s talk about how to make your food crispier and therefore a better vessel to hold the sauce on.
For chicken wings, the secret is to make sure the skin is crispy.
No-one likes soft, chewy skin. Yuk.
To make your chicken wing skin crispy, pat them dry with a paper towel and place them in the refrigerator uncover for at least 12 hours. I usually aim to get a whole 24 hour period uncovered. The difference in the texture of the skin is night and day using this method.
Another thing I see a lot of people miss is failing to double-coat the wings in sauce. Once you’ve tossed your wings in the buffalo sauce, wait a couple of minutes and toss again.
Thick & Delicious 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.
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 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
How To Thicken Buffalo Sauce
- 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.