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4 Non-flour Soup Thickeners

If you’re looking for an alternative to flour in your soup and stew recipes, these four ingredients can act as a thickening agent.

by Heidi StrawnAugust 4, 2012

Add ingredients like grated potato, egg yolk or starch to soups and stews as alternatives to flour thickeners. Photo courtesy iStockphoto/Thinkstock (
Courtesy iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Add ingredients like grated potato, egg yolk or starch to soups and stews as alternatives to flour thickeners.

Soups and Stews

Wheat flour isn’t the only soup and stew thickener found in your kitchen pantry. If you plan to have a gluten-intolerant guest over for a meal, try one of these wheat-flour alternatives.

1. Grated Potato
For each cup of soup or stew, add about 3 tablespoons of thinly grated potato during the last 15 minutes of your soup’s cooking time. The root vegetable will break down and add thickness to your soup.

2. Egg Yolk
For each cup of soup or stew, beat one egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of cream or sherry, and incorporate it into the soup. To avoid curdling, temper the egg yolk thickener by adding a small amount of the hot soup to the mixture before adding. You can add two riced hard-boiled egg yolks at the last minute, but don’t allow the mixture to return to a boil.

3. Starch Thickener
Arrowroot, cornstarch, tapioca, rice flour and other starch thickeners can be dissolved in cold water and added to the soup or stew. For best results, bring the soup back to a boil, and allow it to simmer until it reaches your desired consistency.

4. Blended Soup
To use a favorite trick in bean and lentil soups, ladle out a cup or two of the cooked soup, purée it, and add it to the soup. This will thicken it nicely without adding flavor.

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Excerpt from Soups & Stews, part of the Popular Kitchen Series, with permission from its publisher, BowTie, Inc. Purchase Soups & Stews here. 


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