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I'd like to thicken the sauce for my Thanksgiving turkey a bit, without making it inedible for my gluten-intolerant guests. From other questions on this site, I understand that corn starch would be an option, but it might give a more starchy flavour. Same for potato starch. Arrowroot flour would probably work according to this question, but it's not always easy to obtain. Would rice flour work? Are there other alternatives?

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Oh, have I got the answer for you. Xanthan gum. Here is an excellent article by two of my favorite bloggers on how to get started using it. Xanthan gum is easy to find at health food stores because gluten-free bakers use it extensively.

  • An interesting idea.. I've used it for breadmaking but I would imagine in a sauce that, without practice, it could easy be too, well, gummy? – nunu Oct 6 '10 at 13:57
  • It won't be gummy as long as you keep the percentage by weight below around 0.4%. – Michael Natkin Oct 6 '10 at 15:29
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Agree on the corn starch, and some gluten free people have problems with corn anyway. Arrowroot flour would work, otherwise use tapioca. Rice flour can work, but the type is very important, and sometimes you need too much for it to be worth it.

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    If you're having problems finding arrowroot and/or tapicoa flour ... look for tapioca granules, then grind them up before using. – Joe Oct 7 '10 at 2:13
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I used tapioca starch. A little bit goes a LONG way! It's like corn starch on steroids. :-P And there's a difference in tapioca starch and flour. Get the starch.

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I used a product called Veloutine for gravies for my gluten-intolerant MIL. (She died about ten years ago.) You can't, because it was apparently a Canada-only thing and Knorr doesn't make it anymore anyway. But on my box it lists as ingredients:

  • potato starch
  • lactose
  • maltodextrin
  • rice flour
  • caramel
  • monoglyceride

It is cool stuff because you just sprinkle it into boiling stew/gravy/whatever with no making a roux, slurry or beurre manie. (An advantage to a ack of gluten.) If you can source potato starch, that would probably be your best bet. Failing that I would try rice flour.

PS: don't forget to adjust your stuffing recipe. When I roast a turkey some of the stuffing inevitably falls into the gravy. A gluten intolerant person can't just "not eat the stuffing" in that case, the gravy would be offlimits too. I dealt with that by putting Paxo in the main part but not as full as usual, and gluten free stuff where the neck was, knowing that if some fell of that fell in the gravy it was ok.

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I use a Beurre Manie made of brown rice flour and butter for gravies. I love it, and add some sprigs of Thyme

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