Infused with rich flavors, broth is a tasty base for different sauces, soups, and one-pot dishes.
As a matter of fact, chicken broth is a healthy meal that will work for you if you’re trying to lose weight, as it’s packed with essential nutrients.
In addition, the high content of fatty acids, proteins, and selenium makes broth an excellent snack that protects you from cardiovascular diseases, builds muscles, and helps you fight off infections.
But what if broth feels too watery? Does this mean that you should discard it?
Keep on reading to learn how to thicken broth using different ingredients that you already have in your kitchen. The result is tasty, rich, and satisfying broth every time, so let’s dive in.
How to Thicken Broth
Broth refers to the liquid you boil with meat, bones, or vegetables. And although store-bought broth is readily available, it’s usually high in sodium and doesn’t feel as good as the homemade one that you enrich with your kitchen goodies.
The cooking time of broth depends on what you’re using as a base. For example, if you’re making bone broth, you might need to let it simmer for up to 12 or 15 hours to release all the rich flavors and collagen in the liquid, so you can enjoy a rich and satisfying taste.
Leaving the broth to simmer on low heat is the key. The more you cook it, the richer the taste will get.
But in some cases, you might still feel that you’ve added too much water to begin with or that your broth lacks that consistency that you need to build another mouthwatering dish.
Luckily, there are different methods that you can try to thicken your broth to the desired consistency, and each one of them will work in a specific situation.
So, choose the method that works for the particular broth you have, the ingredients you have in the kitchen, and the time you can dispose of until your broth is ready.
1 – Blend Ingredients
After cooking your chicken, meat, or vegetables, you don’t have to strain all the ingredients.
Leaving some ingredients and blending them in will thicken your broth and add to its flavors.
The key is to identify the ingredients that you want to blend in and remove the rest. You might want to remove the rosemary or cinnamon sticks and leave the onions and carrots, for example.
Here are the steps to follow.
- After cooking your broth, strain all the ingredients and don’t discard them.
- Select the ingredients that you want to blend into your broth, including the different vegetables or pieces of chicken or meat.
- Pour the broth and the other ingredients into the blender.
- Blend the mixture until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Return to the pot and stir the ingredients.
- Let it simmer until you’re satisfied with the texture.
This is one of the most successful ways to thicken your broth because you’re not adding any extra ingredients that might change its nutritional value.
The blender works best because it doesn’t only cut the other solid ingredients but also successfully mixes them with the liquid.
However, this method will change the color of your broth and bring out a specific taste. Still, it’s an easy method because you can add more vegetables and blend them in if you don’t feel that your broth is thick enough.
2 – Reduce Broth
This is a straightforward solution that can solve the problem of watery broth.
Broth is made of water and all the released flavors of the meat or protein you cooked and the spices and flavors from vegetables you added while cooking it in the first place.
The more you cook it, the more it will evaporate.
This reduces your broth and brings out the flavors, making it thicker, tastier, and richer. Here are the steps to follow.
- Put your broth in a deep pot to slowly reduce it. If you’re short on time, use a wide pan to help reduce it faster.
- Let your broth simmer uncovered on low to medium heat.
- Stir the broth as it’s simmering to check for its consistency.
- Put the lid to cover the pot and let it cook for a little bit more if it’s still too watery.
If you have time to get your broth ready, this method will work for you. It’s also suitable if you don’t want to add any extra ingredients to your homemade broth.
Using low to medium heat is essential. High heat might make the liquid evaporate too fast, changing the taste.
However, you should be careful while using this method because it concentrates the flavors in the liquid. So, if you’ve already added too much salt, the simmering and reduction method will make your broth even saltier, eventually ruining it.
It also takes time, so it might not work for you if you’re in a hurry.
3 – Add Cornstarch
Cornstarch is your go-to ingredient when you’re cooking different sauces, as it gives them the desired richness and consistency.
But it can also help you to thicken your broth, giving it more body without changing the taste.
The key is not to add too much cornstarch because you still want your broth to have a liquid consistency. So, adding it in small increments and giving it time to cook will lead to the perfect results.
Here are the steps to follow.
- Roughly calculate how many cups of broth you have in the pot.
- Add one tablespoon of cornstarch and one tablespoon of cold water for every cup of broth in a separate bowl.
- Mix the cornstarch with the water until you have a milk-like consistency. Make sure that there are no lumps.
- Bring the broth to a boil on low to medium heat.
- Slowly add the cornstarch mixture while stirring constantly.
- Keep on stirring for 5 to 10 minutes until the cornstarch cooks.
This fast method is one of the best ways to thicken your broth to the desired consistency. Moreover, it’s suitable for you if you need a gluten-free thickening ingredient.
Just remember that broth will thicken a little when it cools down, so you don’t want to add too much cornstarch because it has a strong thickening power.
Using cold water is essential because if you mix the cornstarch with hot water or directly add it to the broth, it will immediately cook. You might be able to stir it in, but the risk of ending up with cornstarch lumps is pretty high.
You should also stick to low or medium heat. When you’re using high heat, you’ll be reducing the broth while cooking the cornstarch, which means that you might end up with broth that feels too thick.
Cornstarch is rich in carbs and high in calories, so adding it to your broth will make it unsuitable for those who want to lose weight.
4 – Use Flour
All-purpose flour is one of the easiest ways to thicken your broth and make it feel richer. It’s also a fool-proof method if you don’t have much experience in the kitchen because it doesn’t alter your broth’s taste.
All you have to do is mix flour with water and use this flour slurry to enhance the hearty flavor of your broth. Here are the steps to follow.
- Bring your broth to a boil and let it simmer.
- Mix a glass of cold water with two tablespoons of all-purpose flour until you have an evenly mixed paste.
- Slowly add some of the paste into your broth while continuously stirring.
- Keep on cooking to see if you’ve reached the desired consistency before adding the rest of the paste.
Like cornstarch, the key is to give the flour time to cook. Adding too much might make your broth too thick.
It’s recommended to use flour if you want to use your broth as a base for sauces and stews. It has less thickening power than cornstarch, so the risk of thickening your broth too much is low.
Nevertheless, if you’re gluten intolerant, this method won’t work for you. Gluten is the thickening ingredient that makes your broth thicker and richer, so a gluten-free alternative won’t work.
5 – Use Other Types of Food
There are several types of food that will thicken your broth and also add a new flavor to make it richer and tastier. You can even experiment with different methods until you come up with the perfect recipe based on your favorite flavors.
Just like flour, bread can be a successful thickening agent, and you might be able to manipulate it a little to add an extra edge to your broth.
- Cut small cubes of bread and soak them in hot broth or hot milk.
- Remove the bread from the liquid and puree.
- Add it to the broth and let it cook until you reach the desired consistency.
You can rub the bread with some herbal butter or garlic butter for an edge or use breadcrumbs if you don’t have much time to spare.
Yogurt will make your broth feel richer and thicker. It also has a tangy taste, so it will make it edgier and more delicious.
Just add a tablespoon of yogurt to your warm broth and mix it well.
Make sure that your broth is warm but not boiling. If it’s boiling, the yogurt will break.
Once added, you can’t boil the broth later, or the yogurt will curdle. You can also mix yogurt with cream for a richer taste.
Nuts can be used to add a smooth and luscious taste to your broth while thickening it. They also represent a good way to increase the nutritional content of your broth.
- Grind a handful of nuts until they form a smooth paste.
- Mix the nuts with a cup of hot broth.
- Add the mixture to your broth and bring to a boil.
Every type of nut you add will make your broth taste different. Cashews will give your broth a velvety taste, while hazelnuts will make it taste more earthy.
There are several ways to thicken broth, and some of them will change its taste while others won’t. You can experiment with these different methods every time you have some leftover broth and see how they change the flavor of any broth-based dish you prepare.