5 Easy Ways on How to Thicken BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce is one of the most used cooking sauce and that's because of its amazing taste. I think it adds a palooza of goodness to soups, meats, veggies and even bologna sandwiches.

It comes in different forms and flavors but the base taste stays the same.

Sometimes it is too thin for your taste and you want a deliciously thicker BBQ sauce that won't dribble off that hickory grilled slab o' beef.

Sometimes you want it thicker just because that's how you like it and we hear you!

I am going to show you 5 easy ways on how to thicken BBQ Sauce like a pro.

Note: All the mentioned methods in this article are for barbecue sauce but, they can work very well on any other similar mixtures.

The Easiest Way to Thick Barbecue Sauce

Let's begin by taking baby steps to thickening your bbq sauce.

The first method I will show you is also the easiest and the quickest one.

It doesn't matter if your sauce is homemade or store bought. Thickening it isn't always about adding ingredients or thickening agents.

Sometimes it is just about removing ingredients, so to speak.

Fastest Way to Thick Sauces

Here, the simplest way to thicken any mixture is by removing any excess water or liquid that has been added to it.

To do this, just pour your mixture into a pan and simmer on low heat until the liquids begin to evaporate. This will magically thicken it. No added ingredients. No muss. No fuss.

The Fastest Way to Thick BBQ Sauce

Sometimes you don't have time to wait on the simmering method.

Here is another easy thickening step that takes no time at all. This method works well when flavors need to remain consistent, too. You will love it. It's easy. What is this mystery thickener? Flour or corn starch.

2. How to Use Flour to Thick your Barbecue Sauce

Down below, you will find the basic required ingredients and how to use flour as your thickener:

What You Will Need:

Flour-Based Thickener (For thickening 1 cup of topping)

  • 2 Tablespoons of Flour
  • ¼ Cup of Water

In order to use flour as your barbecue topping thickener, you should mix 2 tablespoons of flour with 1/4 cup of water. Mix well to remove lumps and then add to your barbecue-flavor mixture.

This ratio should be used for every 1 cup of topping you are working with.

3. How to Use Corn Starch to Thick your BBQ Sauce

The corn starch based thickener is almost the same as the flour thickener. Overall, the preparation process is the same, just the ingredients are different.

What You Will Need:

Corn Starch-Based Thickener (For thickening 1 cup of barbecue topping)

  • 1 Tablespoons of Corn Starch
  • 1 Tablespoon of Water

For the corn starch-based thickener, you should mix 1 tablespoon of cold water and 1 tablespoon of corn starch and mix well to remove any lumps. After there isn't any lumps left, add it to your barbecue sauce topping mixture.

The three upper mentioned methods are great and easy for a beginner. They are also good to use when your mixture is already flavorful enough but just needs a little more substance.

But, If you are looking for a way to thick your bbq sauce mixture by adding some tasty ingredients and improving its base taste, then here are some other great methods you can try.

4. How to Thick Your Barbecue Sauce with Tasty Thickeners

Another great method is by using the so-called Tasty Thickeners.

Tasty thickeners can add so much flavor and meanwhile can thick your barbecue sauce to your desired level. That doesn't necessarily mean they change the integrity of the recipes overall taste, but these next thickening ingredients are powerfully delicious and often add a creamier, velvety texture to your mixture.

Tasty Thickeners
Some Tasty Thickeners:

1. Butter

Organic butter is always best. Margarine is not a good choice. Butter's natural balance of water and fat creates a creamy, dreamy consistency on its own. You can also make a rue out of flour and butter for added thickening measures.

2. Coconut Oil or Coconut Cream

Coconut oil or coconut cream may not sound like a typical barbecue-related ingredient but, try adding a little to your rue and watch out. This is one of nature's finest ingredients to add to almost anything.

3. Heavy Cream

Heavy cream made from cow's milk, goat's milk and other natural sources adds intense richness to thickness of a mixture. Add it to your mixture and simmer until the desired thickening is reached.

These are some of the tasty thickeners you can add and try to make your barbecue sauce more thicker.

Adding oils and creams does increase calories substantially. But, reaching optimal flavor goodness knows no bounds!

Homemade BBQ Sauce (Video)

5. How to Thick Barbecue Sauce by Adding Some Fiber

We have all heard that fiber bulks up things. You bet it does, especially in barbecue toppings.

We aren't talking chewy, grainy fiber, either. We're talking - pureed.

Adding favorite pureed vegetables, nightshades and even fruits to your mixture is a delectable way to thicken and add extra nutritional value.

Nightshade Foods Thickener
Some Nightshades Options:

1. Baking spuds are wonderful thickening potatoes that add a little bit of a grainier texture.

2. Red potatoes can be pureed or mashed to a creamier texture.

3. Tomatoes off the vine is a superior example of a dynamic thickening agent. Pureed tomatoes work best for smoother barbecue mixures. Any color tomato will do.

4. Eggplants and peppers pureed together have an incredible taste, as well as thickening support. Easy does it, though, as bitterness may be a factor. A little goes a long way.

Almost any vegetable can be pureed to satisfy your thickening preference. If the puree is too thick, slowly dilute with water or your favorite liquid.

These are some nightshades family foods you can add to your mixture to make it thicker.

If you tried all the mentioned methods and your sauce doesn't come out like you though it, I recommend you to read and try this easy recipe for a delicious barbecue-flavor topping.

NEELY'S BBQ SAUCE RECIPE (from Food Network Channel)

Neelys Barbecue Topping Recipe

Below is one of the most well-known bbq sauce recipes, which we love and we think that you will love it too.

Note: The only non-original ingredients added to this recipe will be the thickening methods.

Required Ingredients

Original Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Ketchup
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 5 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Ground Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Mixture

Thickening Ingredients (Non-Original)

  • 1 Medium Red Potato
  • 1 Small Carrot
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil


To thicken your sauce, start by first peeling the potato and the carrot. Make sure to save potato and carrot skins to bake later with salt and a little olive oil.

Dice potato and carrot into chunks. Peel garlic clove and sauté it with all other ingredients until tender.

Place all three ingredients into a food processor and use the puree button process. Check the puree inside the processor and add a little water if necessary. After the puree is ready, set it aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine all original Neely ingredients.

After you bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low heat/simmer. Also, you should cook it uncovered and keep stirring it frequently, for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

After the mixture is ready, add the non-original thickening ingredients slowly to reach desired consistency.

After it reaches your desired consistency, it is time to serve it on your food and enjoy it!

This is one of the easiest barbecue sauce recipes and one of the most popular ones because it was firstly published on "Food Network".

Please, keep in mind that this is not my recipe and it belongs to The Neelys.

Final Thoughts

The best part about learning how to thicken BBQ sauce is your own creativity.

We bet that once you successfully incorporate any of these handy how-to tricks, you will become the thickening master we always knew you could be.

Also, have in mind that you can use any of these methods on other similar mixtures and toppings which you would like to be more thick.

We hope you won't mind our being the first to say, "Congratulations and please pass the sauce"!

About Kendrick

Kendrick is an outdoor cooking enthusiast, living in Kansas. He loves to share his passion about outdoor cooking with everyone on various Social Media platforms (Read More)

3 thoughts on “5 Easy Ways on How to Thicken BBQ Sauce”

  1. I need to thicken some bar-b-q sauce . I am going to use corn starch. I would like to know if I have to heat it up . Please give me instructions on how to do it all. Thank You

    • Hello,
      When using corn starch, there is no need to heat it up before adding to the bbq sauce. Just make sure it is around the same temperature as the sauce and mix them together. The amount you add depends on how thick you want your sauce to be.
      I hope this helps. Good Luck,

  2. I am making a different kind of BBQ sauce to top a smoked pork loin roast with. Now, I’ve made apple cider molasses in the past. And it really does have the consistency of molasses. Since cider is out of season right now, I’m using apple juice concentrate from frozen. Adding only about 1/2 the amount of water to that concentrate as is in the can. Adding some cider vinegar for spark, some cinnamon and cloves, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon or two of spicy brown mustard, a dash or two of onion powder and garlic powder each, and just a dash of cayenne pepper for a little bit of heat. First, I will reduce the apple juice water mixture by only about a half. Then I will add the rest of the ingredients–and a bit of molasses. Forgot to add that to the ingredient list! If it’s too thin, I’ll add a little cornstarch to it. Should be an interesting blend of flavors and perfect for an applewood smoked pork loin roast.


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