I made a slow cooker balsamic chicken recipe that has a lot of liquid from 2 cans of diced tomatoes with their juice. The recipe says the juice is needed to keep the chicken from drying out. But the sauce is so runny that it doesn't adhere to the angel hair pasta that you are supposed to serve the chicken over. It is delicious but too runny. How can I thicken the sauce so it will adhere to the pasta and give the pasta the delicious balsamic taste of the dish?


1 Answer 1


If you're adapting a recipe for a slow cooker, you would normally reduce the liquid. But there's also quite a lot of variation between slow cookers, in terms of how much steam gets out, so even a slow cooker recipe may need adjustment to the liquid. On top of that your tastes may differ from the recipe creators'.

If you want to thicken the sauce while keeping the quantity constant, a little cornflour (US: corn starch) at almost the end can help - mix it up with cold water then mix into the sauce before putting the lid on for a few more minutes. It should be cooked by the time you do this - opening a slow cooker lets out a lot of heat which can extend the cooking time. You can thicken a slow cooked sauce with cornflour at the start, but you tend to get a skin on top. This will disappear in a few minutes if you stir it in.

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    Instant tapioca is another common addition to slow cooker recipes to help thicken sauces as the meat cooks. A tablespoon or so is usually enough for a typical family size (4-6 serving) recipe. This you would add at the beginning of cooking. Jun 19, 2016 at 20:23
  • @ChrisBergin, I've never come across that here in the UK but then instant tapioca isn't much of a thing here. I assume these are American recipes? It's good to see another option - another type of starch.
    – Chris H
    Jun 20, 2016 at 5:53
  • You're correct. And I've never seen anyone use quick-cooking tapioca for anything except thickening a sauce for that matter. :) Jun 20, 2016 at 22:34
  • Something else I use in a similar manner (if it fits with the dish of course) is instant gravy granules, which have exactly the same effect, as well as imparting some flavour. Jun 23, 2016 at 11:54
  • @MattTaylor,I'll take your word for it. I'm not a fan myself (and also tend to use homemade stock or wine & herbs)
    – Chris H
    Jun 23, 2016 at 18:58

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