I'm making a large batch of sauce. After trying tapioca flour, it's quite difficult to handle for such a large batch.

Is there anything that can substitute? Is there such a thing as a fluid thickener?

  • 2
    Welcome to the site! There's a few more details needed, like how much sauce and what type. Do you need a heat-activated thickener, or something that works cold? Also, what are the problems you're having with your current method?
    – GdD
    Commented Mar 18, 2021 at 12:44

3 Answers 3


The method I was taught doesn't care about the absolute amounts: First add small amount of the sauce/soup/whatever you want to thicken to the 'powder type' thickener and stir, adding more sauce until it's a very thick liquid without clumps. Only then pour the liquefied thickener with sauce into the 'bulk' of sauce. A very modest amount of stirring will distribute and dissolve smoothly and once it heats up and starts absorbing more water the thickening process will begin for good.

If a lot of the thickener stuck to the bowl in which you were mixing it with sauce, transfer more sauce from the pot to the bowl and dissolve whatever stuck to the walls, then pour back into the pot.


While there are many thickeners, none is easier to apply than tapioca starch. Other starches work the same as tapioca, with minimal differences in the final texture. All other thickeners are harder/more tedious to use, and none is as universally suited to different applications as starch is.

There are no liquid thickeners, that would make no sense - thickeners by definition swell up when coming in contact with water. Compounds that are liquid at room temperature don't swell up when mixed with water, and any mixture of a solid with a liquid will already be swelled, not being able to thicken your sauce further.

  • wouldn't a roux be considered a liquid thickener?
    – Willk
    Commented Mar 18, 2021 at 23:44
  • @willk Hmm, interesting question. It is usually a paste at room temperature, unless you make it with liquid fat and a high fat:flour ratio. Even if you count it nominally as a liquid thickener, it doesn't help here - it is a form of starch that is more difficult (lump prone) than taking straight starch and making a slurry. Also, it isn't commercially available, the OP would have to make it first, adding complexity.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Mar 19, 2021 at 6:08
  • A lot of thickeners only start "working" once heated / cooked. They are hardly ever stored as liquids due to storage issues (shelf life, drying out) but you do mix them with a liquid before pouring them into the dish you want thickened.
    – SF.
    Commented Mar 19, 2021 at 15:30
  • @SF. sure, depending on how you define "liquid thickener", you can argue that some thickeners can be counted as such. In this answer, I am silently using a definition which I assumed the OP is hoping for - buy a liquid off the shelf, dump in a vat of sauce, turn on a stirrer, come after X minutes to find a perfectly thickened batch of sauce. Such a thing doesn't exist, to my knowledge.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Mar 19, 2021 at 18:28

I often with use Guar gum or sometimes Xanthan gum to thicken sauces. If the sauce is to be served warm or hot, I will go with the Xanthan gum, but I've found them to work similarly enough in most cases.

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