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How To Thicken BBQ Sauce – 4 Simple Ways You Can Do At Home

How to thicken BBQ Sauce? There are a number of different ways that you can thicken a BBQ sauce, regardless of whether it is homemade or store bought.

  1. Let It Simmer
  2. Add A Thickening Agent
  3. Add A Tasty Thickening Agent
  4. Add Vegetables As A Thickening Agent

Barbecue or BBQ sauce is a delicious sauce that can be used as a basting, marinade, condiment or simply a sauce accompaniment. The flavors of a tasty BBQ sauce are usually created by combining mayonnaise, vinegar and tomato paste as a base, followed by a variety of other flavors.

These additional flavors include onion powder, sugar or molasses, spices like black pepper and mustard, and even liquid smoke for a punchy, smoky-flavored sauce. Celebrated across the world, BBQ sauce has a range of variations from each the continent.

Let us further elaborate on the four simple ways you can thicken up your tasty BBQ sauce at home.

What You Will Need

Stainless-Steel Pot

Heavy-bottomed pots are the best option for heating on the stove. Depending on the amount of sauce you are making, you can use a medium or large sized pot and that should be more than big enough.

Measuring Jug

Measuring out liquids is best done in a jug, which can be 500ml to 1 liter in capacity. These are also helpful when mixing up slurries that can be used to thicken your sauce.

Read about how to do this below when we talk about adding flour or cornstarch to your BBQ sauce.

Measuring Cups

You can also make use of various sized measuring cups to ensure you are adding the right about of thickening agent to your BBQ Sauce. Common sizes that always come in handy include 1 cup, ½ cup, 1/3 cup and ¼ cup.

Mixing Spoons

A variety of mixing and measuring spoons are a must-have in the kitchen. Be careful with using metal spoons in a non-stick coated pan as you can scratch the non-stick coating off. This is not a healthy addition to your BBQ sauce or any meal for that matter.

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Use a wooden spoon or Teflon coated spoon with your non-stick pots and pans.

Measuring Spoons

Measuring spoons are a useful addition to your kitchen for using exact ingredients in smaller quantities. Common sizes include a tablespoon, teaspoon and half a teaspoon

Blender Or Food Processor

These handy kitchen gadgets are an indispensable item in any kitchen. Starting from blending and mixing, to grinding and pureeing, food processors are fully capable.

They are available in a variety of brands and sizes to suit your personal preferences. Some even come equipped with different sized attachments for when you are making large amounts of BBQ sauce for a whole party of guests or just a small amount for a weeknight dinner at home.

How To Thicken BBQ Sauce - 4 Easy Ways

Method 1: Let It Simmer

Sometimes you need to add extra ingredients to change the consistency of your sauce, other time you remove them. This is a case of removing water from your sauce.

Next, allow it to thicken up nicely. This is the easiest way to thicken any sauce, although it does take some time.


  • Place your BBQ sauce in a stainless-steel pot and place it over medium-low heat.
  • Let the sauce simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with the spoon to ensure it does not burn.

This process will allow extra liquid in your sauce to evaporate, leaving behind all the flavor of your delicious BBQ sauce.

Method 2: Add A Thickening Agent

Adding flour or corn starch to your BBQ sauce can help it thicken relatively quickly. You need to be careful not to add too much and over-thicken your sauce. This method is ideal if you already have the desired flavor in your sauce and simply need to add substance.

Flour Method:

Wheat flour is a vital ingredient for every meal. It is made by grinding off grains or roots. You can use it for various purposes by adopting different methods.

Here, to thicken BBQ sauce we are going to use white flour. This flour is prepared finely grinding the endosperm of wheat kernel.

  • Using the spoon, mix the 2 teaspoons of flour and ¼ cups of water together.
  • Stir well to remove any lumps in the mixture.
  • Once the thickening mixture is smooth, add it to your 1 cup of BBQ sauce and mix well.
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Corn Starch Method:

Being a carbohydrate extract from the endosperm of corn, this white powdery substance is mostly used for culinary, household and industrial purposes.

Corn starch can be used for various purposes as it is made from corn and other healthy ingredients making it a gluten free product.

  • Mix the cornstarch and water together, stirring to remove any lumps.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of smooth cornstarch mixture to the BBQ and mix until well combined.

Method 3: Add A Tasty Thickening Agent

If your sauce is lacking both substance and flavor, one of the following thickeners can be used to add flavor while thickening your sauce.

These ingredients can also make your sauce creamier and add great velvety texture. Try adding heavy cream, butter, coconut oil or coconut cream.

Heavy Cream:

Add heavy cream to your sauce if you are looking for an ingredient that will add richness to your sauce while thickening it too. Whether the cream you use is from cow’s or goat’s milk, it will definitely bring flavor to your sauce.


  • Pour your BBQ sauce into a pot over a medium heat.
  • Add a little cream at a time, stirring it in as you go.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer until you reach the desired thickness.


Butter is a beautiful ingredient that acts as a thickening agent too. Steer clear of margarine as it does not offer the same natural flavors and balance. Butter has the ability to add bundles of creaminess to your sauce.


  • In a pot, melt the butter slightly and then add the BBQ sauce and stir.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes to thicken up to the desired consistency.
  • You could even make a roux using butter and flour to thicken your BBQ sauce. However, this method is slightly more complex.

Coconut Oil or Coconut Cream:

This may seem like an unusual ingredient to add to BBQ sauce however, coconut oil or cream boasts both thickening abilities and health benefits.


  • Use the same method as used for adding heavy cream to your sauce.
  • Place your sauce in a pot and gradually add the coconut oil or cream, stirring until combined.
  • Let the sauce to simmer, allowing the thickening process to take place.
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Method 4: Add Vegetables As A Thickening Agent

Nightshade vegetables are another great option for thickening your BBQ sauces. All you need to do is puree your vegetable of choice to thicken your BBQ sauce.

Red Potatoes:

Red potatoes are ideal for achieving a creamier textured sauce.


  • You can use either regular potatoes or red potatoes to thicken the BBQ sauce.
  • Bake the potatoes until soft and remove the skins. The potatoes can either be mashed or pureed in a food processor.
  • Add your BBQ sauce to the food processor with the potatoes and blend together. This should form a delicious sauce, with a slightly grainier but thick texture.

How To Do It With Eggplant And Peppers:

Have you thought about adding eggplant to your sauce as a thickening agent? Roasted together with sweet peppers, eggplant can give your sauce the thickness it needs while adding some great flavor.

Pureed the eggplant and peppers together and add a little at a time to your sauce, tasting as you go. Be careful not to add too much as the eggplant can start to make your sauce taste bitter.

How To Do It With Tomatoes:

Tomatoes are an ideal way to thicken your BBQ sauce since the base already contains tomato paste. The flavor is destined to be divine. You can use any variety or color of the tomato, but fresh off the vine is always the best.

Puree your tomatoes and stir them into your sauce to thicken its consistency, while keeping it smooth.


A thin, texture-less BBQ sauce should not be a problem in your kitchen. With a variety of thickening agents readily available in your kitchen, there is no reason why you should settle for a watery, flavorless BBQ sauce.

From simply simmering your sauce to adding thickening agents like flour and corn starch or even vegetable like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers, you can easily thicken your BBQ sauce to suit your desired flavor and consistency.