Will Butter Thicken a Sauce?

Will Butter Thicken a Sauce

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Butter is a common addition to sauces for pasta and other dishes, but will butter thicken a sauce? And if butter won’t thicken a sauce, what can you add to do just that? I’ve done some digging to find the best answers.

Let’s take a peek…

Will Butter Thicken a Sauce?

No, butter will not thicken a sauce.

Butter isn’t known for its thickening properties, but it can help to add some shine and glossiness to a sauce or dish. The dairy product, known as an emulsifier, is usually added to make a sauce richer, more luxurious, and velvet-like in texture. It won’t necessarily work to thicken it up, however.

If you have added too much fluid to a sauce and need to undo that, however, butter is not going to work for you. There are much better ingredients for that.

What Does Adding Butter to a Sauce Do?

As well as acting as an emulsifier and making a sauce creamy and velvety, adding butter to a sauce made from acidic ingredients will help to neutralise some of the acidity.

Emulsifier - Dictionary

Tomatoes, for example, are acidic. By adding butter to a tomato-based sauce, it will become less tart and richer and creamier. If you haven’t already tried it, I thoroughly recommend it! In my opinion, tomato-based pasta sauces are much nicer with a little bit of butter thrown in at the end.

Butter is commonly added to pasta-and-sauce dishes to help the sauce cling to the pasta. If you hate it when your pasta dinner has pieces of sauce-less, dry pasta bits, this is definitely a quick pasta tip to adopt!

What Is It Called When You Add Butter to a Sauce?

Adding butter to a sauce (to make it glossy and rich) is called Beurre Monté.

If you hadn’t already guessed, this is a French term. Beurre means butter, and Monté means mounted. Put the two words together and you have, quite literally, “butter mounted”.

The proper and official way to mount butter and preserve the emulsifying properties even at higher temperatures, is to boil a small amount of water before whisking small knobs of butter into it. The process is done slowly, waiting for the first knob of butter to melt before adding another.

The butter itself must be chilled, too. It is important for it to melt slowly, so it should be removed from the fridge just before you plan to add it to the sauce.

The mounting process can be quite a long one when done this way, so it is usually performed by simply adding butter slowly at the end of the sauce cooking process.

When the sauce has finished cooking, right before you are due to take it off the heat and serve it up, add a few knobs of butter and slowly stir it in.

Butter Thicken a Sauce

Smaller knobs work better than one large slab of butter and adding butter gradually and slowly encourages even and equal dispersion of butterfat.

What Can I Use to Thicken a Sauce?

Butter might not give you the desired thickening effect, but there are plenty of other ingredients in your kitchen that you can use to do the job. Here are some of the most popular choices:

  • Flour (slurry)
  • Butter and flour (Beurre Manie)
  • Corn starch
  • Arrowroot
  • Siphon out some of the excess liquid
  • Pureed vegetables

By Buzzy Kitchen

Lovers of food, owners of opinions, pleased to share!