The Easy Roux Alternative To Help Thicken Soups And Sauces

It happens to even the most experienced chefs and home cooks: You're making a sauce or stew, and the consistency still isn't quite right. Worse still, you might have company on the way, giving you little time to save your sauce from runny embarrassment. One solution is a simple French trick called beurre manié, which lends more flavor and rich texture than simmering or a cornstarch slurry.

Many recipes for liquidy dishes and condiments, like gravy, start with something similar: roux. This mixture of butter and flour (which varies in color depending on how long it's been browned) is often cooked in the pan before adding other ingredients, like drippings or stock. However, for those who need to thicken a sauce that's already simmering, whipping up another roux is time-intensive, requires a second pan, and isn't foolproof. Beurre manié is a proven French technique that serves as a perfect, last-minute alternative for those looking to give their sauces and soups more substance and make them the right thickness.

A recent TikTok video demonstrated the process. All you need is a mixture of softened butter and flour in equal proportions, which you can mash together by hand until it forms a thick paste. Then, to thicken your dish, add the paste to the simmering liquid in small chunks or balls and whisk it in. The beurre manié should melt quickly, producing a cohesive mixture that is thicker than before. 

Why beurre manié works better than roux and cornstarch slurries

The key to beurre manié is in its name. French for "kneaded butter," the act of kneading the two ingredients together is pretty much the whole deal. This allows the butter to act as a delivery mechanism for the thickening flour, which it releases evenly into the liquid when it melts. This prevents large clumps of flour from forming and ensures a uniform texture in your soup, sauce, or stew. A TikTok video showed what the mixture looks like. When made correctly, it resembles pie dough


HACK for thickening soups, stews, sauces in under 5 minutes – no roux needed #cookinghack #buerremanie #cooktok #hack #cooking

♬ Jiggle Jiggle – Duke & Jones & Louis Theroux

When it comes to last-minute thickening, a slurry of cornstarch and water is often a chef's go-to. However, this trick risks creating a jello-like texture if used too liberally, while beurre manié doesn't run the same risk. To those wondering how beurre manié differs from a regular white roux, the answer is simple: A beurre manié is added to dishes raw, while a white roux is cooked, but not for as long as a blonde or dark roux. However, it's still suggested to continue simmering for a little while after adding chunks of the beurre manié. This way, the raw flour taste won't be in your dish. If you're in doubt, give whatever you're cooking a taste after you reach the right thickness.