Types of Food Thickening Agents (2023)

Types of Food Thickening Agents (1)

Making a hearty, hearty winter soup or plating the perfect slice of blueberry pie requires the same secret ingredient: starch. Starches come in many different forms prepared using different cooking techniques, and specific starches must be used for specific recipes. Whether you're making a roux for your signature macaroni and cheese or aren't sure how much powdered malt to add to your chocolate shakes, we've got all your questions answered about food thickeners.

What is a food thickener?

ONEfood thickenersis a thickening agent that increases the viscosity of a liquid mixture without affecting its other properties. Knowing how to thicken food is essential to preparing many recipes; Most sauces, sauces, soups, and even desserts are thickened with some type of starch. Each thickener has properties that are best suited to specific formulations. One of the most common methods used to thicken sauces and other recipes is to use starch gelatinization.

Methods of thickening food

If you try to thicken a sauce for your gravy boat by simply stirring the flour into the boiling liquid, you'll end up with lumps. The starch around each piece of powder expands and forms a gel that prevents the granules from separating. Luckily, there are easy ways to avoid lumpy sauces! They also help eliminate unpleasant raw flour tastes that can occur if the sauce is not cooked long enough. The following methods are commonly used to make flour or starch before using it as a thickener:

Types of Food Thickening Agents (2)

butter madness

Equal parts flour and soft, pliable butter, these two ingredients are kneaded together until every particle of flour is coated in the fat, creating a ball of dough known as beurre manie. This thickener is perfect for adding shine and viscosity to your sauces, soups and stews.

  • vegetarian

Types of Food Thickening Agents (3)

connection

Used only to slightly thicken creams or sauces, links are made by tempering 1/3 of your hot sauce/mixture in a stainless steel bowl with beaten egg yolk and heavy cream. Beat constantly to keep eggs and cream from curdling. When smooth, add the entire contents of the bowl back into the entire mixture/sauce and continue beating until the sauce is slightly thick. Using the binding method also gives your sauces a richer, creamier texture and better mouthfeel.

  • Vegetarian and gluten free

Types of Food Thickening Agents (4)

roux

As a liquid thickener, a roux is a perfect way to add viscosity to various soups and sauces, four of them in particular five mother sauces used in French cuisine. Equal parts flour and shortening are beaten together in a hot pan until smooth, then cooked into a white, blonde, or brown roux depending on the caramelization and depth desired. Gluten-free flours can be used in place of more traditional flours to give your gluten-sensitive customers more options.

  • vegetarian

Types of Food Thickening Agents (5)

Pasta

Using starches like cornstarch, arrowroot powder, and the like requires more than just adding the powder to your batch of soup. When added directly to the pan this way, the starch builds up quickly and isn't evenly distributed throughout the dish. To combat this, you must first make a paste. In a small bowl, add an equal amount of starch and cold liquid and smooth into a paste, creating the paste. Stir the paste into the hot, boiling liquid you wish to thicken and bring to a boil. Stir and cook at the same time until no starchy flavor remains.

  • Vegan and gluten free

Types of food thickeners

Thickening starches for pure foods

Pure starches have greater thickening power and impart less color to the finished dish, making them ideal for sauces, puddings and fillings. Gluten-free thickeners have become an emerging trend for bakeries and restaurants concerned about food allergies. Thickening starches are particularly important ingluten free bakingbecause they mimic the "sticky" effect of gluten and add a nice texture to baked goods. Luckily, many pure starch and yeast ingredients are naturally gluten-free! Just check the nutritional information for ingredients containing these wheat variations: barley, durum, bran, malt, matzo, oats, rye, semolina, spelt, and wheat (bran, flour, germ, starch, and hydrolyzed protein). Use this list of food thickeners to find a starch that's perfect for your recipe!

Types of Food Thickening Agents (6)

jam

Made from red algae, this thickener is a gelatinous substance that is perfect as a substitute for gelatin in vegetarian and vegan food preparation. Odorless, tasteless and colorless, agar-agar (often referred to as "edges" or simply "agar") keeps your recipes at their time-honored perfection.

  • Vegan and gluten free
  • Common use:
    • in Asian desserts
    • As a plant-based substitute for gelatine in vegan recipes
    • In preserves, jellies and compotes

Types of Food Thickening Agents (7)

Araruta

Derived from various tropical plants such as arrowroot, tapioca, and cassava, arrowroot powder is a colorless, tasteless thickening agent that has twice the thickening power of flour and resists the acids that normally break down other starches.

  • Vegan and gluten free
  • Common use:
    • Thickening of soups, sauces, sauces and pie fillings
    • Coating food before frying to create a crispy exterior
    • As a vegan substitute for eggs in baked goods and burgers

Types of Food Thickening Agents (8)

cornstarch

The most common of all starches, cornstarch is derived from corn, making it vegan and gluten-free, as well as transparent and relatively tasteless. This highly versatile starch is used in both savory and sweet dishes: to gel pie fillings or to thicken your bone-heavy soups.

  • Vegan and gluten free
  • Common use:
    • Thickening of soups, sauces, sauces and pie fillings
    • Coating food before frying to create a crispy exterior
    • As a vegan substitute for eggs in baked goods or burgers

Types of Food Thickening Agents (9)

Gelee

Available in powder or sheet form, gelatin is made from the collagen found in various parts of the body of animals. Gelatin can be used as a stabilizer or texturizer, but is most commonly used as a thickening agent for marshmallows, gummy snacks, trifles, aspic, mousse, mirror icing, panna cotta, and other gelatin desserts.

  • gluten free
  • Common use:
    • Thickening of puddings, ice cream and panna cotta
    • Creates a firm texture in gummy candies, marshmallows and other desserts
  • Not recommended for use with pineapple, guava, kiwi, or ginger root

Types of Food Thickening Agents (10)

Pectin

Pectin is a natural starch found in the seeds, peel and membranes of citrus fruits and is particularly rich in firm, textured fruits like apples and quince. Primarily used to thicken jams, jellies, and marmalades, this natural thickener gels macerated fruit when combined with acid and sugar and cooked at around 220 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Vegan and gluten free
  • Common use:
    • Thickening of jams, jellies, marmalades and preserves

Types of Food Thickening Agents (11)

potato starch

Potato starch is exactly what the name suggests: starch derived from potatoes. As an amazing thickener and binding agent, it's always popular in many gluten-free recipes. With a low gelatinization temperature, relatively colorless, odorless and tasteless, and a highly binding texture, it's no wonder potato starch is used in both cooking and baking.

  • Vegan and gluten free
  • Common use:
    • Thickening of soups, sauces, sauces and pie fillings
    • Coating food before frying to create a crispy exterior
  • Not recommended for use in dishes with a long cooking or simmering time

Types of Food Thickening Agents (12)

Tapiocagummi

Tapioca starch is extracted from the cassava plant and is a very fine, white, starchy powder that makes an excellent food thickener. Mildly sweet tapioca starch is sometimes used in place of cornstarch, potato starch, and even wheat flour in gluten-free baking! Tapioca starch imparts a crispy crust and chewy center to baked goods and is superior to arrowroot starch and potato starch.

  • Vegan and gluten free
  • Common use:
    • Thickening of soups, sauces and desserts
    • As a vegan substitute for eggs in baked goods or burgers
    • Creating a crunchy, chewy texture in gluten-free baked goods

Types of Food Thickening Agents (13)

ten times

An all-purpose plant-based thickener and stabilizer, xanthan gum is commonly used to thicken sauces and gravies and is famous in the gluten-free baking community! Also, mixing it with yogurt, sherbet, sherbet, and frozen yogurt adds body and thickness while preventing ice crystals from forming.

  • Vegan and gluten free
  • Common use:
    • Thickening of soups, sauces, sauces and pie fillings
    • Stabilizing ice cream and other frozen treats
    • Mimicking the elasticity and stickiness of gluten in gluten-free baked goods

Common fermentation agents

Conventional leavening agents release gases that create air pockets throughout the dough or batter. As the product bakes, the gases expand and cause the product to rise. The proteins in the batter or batter are placed around the air pockets to give the products their rise and texture.

Types of Food Thickening Agents (14)

Backpulver

This is a mixture of baking soda and an added acid such as cream of tartar and/or sodium aluminum sulfate. Baking soda also contains starch to prevent lumps and balance chemical reactions. When baking soda comes into contact with liquid, it reacts quickly; Therefore, products made with baking powder should be baked shortly after adding the powder to prevent carbon dioxide from escaping the batter.

  • Vegan and gluten free
  • Common use:
    • Leavening agent in low-acid baked goods

Types of Food Thickening Agents (15)

Natriumbicarbonat

(Baking Soda): This alkaline compound (base) releases carbon dioxide gas when acid and moisture are present. When heated during baking, the carbon dioxide expands, giving baked goods their characteristic "crumb" texture. No heat is required for this reaction; Therefore, products made with baking soda must be baked immediately to prevent carbon dioxide from escaping from the batter.

Acids commonly used with baking soda include buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice, honey, molasses, and acidic fruits like citrus.

  • Vegan and gluten free
  • Common use:
    • Leavening agents in baked goods with acidic ingredients such as buttermilk, cream of tartar, lemon juice or molasses

Preparation note: If more leavening is needed, add baking soda instead of baking soda. Too much baking soda will result in a soapy or bitter taste, as well as yellow and brown discoloration.

Types of Food Thickening Agents (16)

Yeast

This living organism feeds on sugar and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide, the gas that lifts the dough to give it the right texture. This organic leavening agent takes a considerable amount of time to rise, so the temperature must be carefully controlled.

  • Vegan and gluten free
  • Common use:
    • Leavening agent in bread, pizza crusts and some cakes

Alternative Kochmittel

Here is a list of cooking thickeners that are great alternatives to the more common starches and leavening agents. Try these less common thickeners to add unique flavor and texture to your baked goods, drinks and puddings!

Types of Food Thickening Agents (17)

Cocoa powder

Popular in desserts, cocoa powder is actually a starch (although it's not commonly called that!). Made from the brown powder that remains after the fat (cocoa butter) has been removed from cocoa beans, cocoa powder contains no sweeteners or flavorings and is used primarily in baked goods.

  • Vegan and gluten free
  • common uses
    • Thickening and adding chocolate flavor to baked goods and desserts

Types of Food Thickening Agents (18)

cream of tartar

(Potassium hydrogen tartrate): This fine white powder is a by-product of the winemaking process (it forms in the barrels during grape fermentation). It's often used to whip egg whites to increase heat tolerance and volume, making it ideal for meringues and soufflés. It also prevents sugar syrups from crystallizing, resulting in creamier candies and frostings.

  • Vegan and gluten free
  • Common use:
    • Whipped cream and protein stabilization
    • Gives sweets and toppings a creamy texture

Types of Food Thickening Agents (19)

Painted milk powder

This powder is a dry mix of barley malt flour, wheat flour and milk powderOften used to thicken milkshakesand roast.

  • vegetarian
  • Common use:
    • Thickening Milchshakes
    • Adding umami flavor to baked goods

Types of Food Thickening Agents (20)

How to store thickeners

Thickeners are best stored in oneairtight containerin a cool and dry place. If not used immediately, most thickeners (especially powdered ones) can break down, especially in heat. If they absorb moisture from the air, they can lose their effectiveness. Be sure to check individual labels for storage instructions.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Msgr. Benton Quitzon

Last Updated: 10/13/2022

Views: 5936

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Benton Quitzon

Birthday: 2001-08-13

Address: 96487 Kris Cliff, Teresiafurt, WI 95201

Phone: +9418513585781

Job: Senior Designer

Hobby: Calligraphy, Rowing, Vacation, Geocaching, Web surfing, Electronics, Electronics

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Benton Quitzon, I am a comfortable, charming, thankful, happy, adventurous, handsome, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.