You’ve gone to all the effort of making a Marsala sauce from scratch. You’ve purchased all the ingredients, followed the recipe to a tee, and stood over it for quite some time. Only to find your Marsala sauce has come out too thin. While it’s only natural to be frustrated and disappointed, thankfully, you can still achieve the right correct consistency and texture. Here is everything you are going to want to do.
So, how do you thicken a Marsala sauce? Simmering the sauce over low-medium heat with constant stirring is the first and simplest way to thicken Marsala sauce. Incorporating thickening agents is the second common strategy. Ingredients like a roux (flour and butter), kneaded butter (beurre manié), and starches like corn, potato, or tapioca starch, as well as egg yolks, are your best options.
Following a fantastic recipe is, of course, essential to creating that terrifically thicker sauce.
But even with the best recipe and the finest preparation, results may not always follow.
Luckily, you have several ways to achieve that thick and rich consistency.
The method you use will ultimately be determined by your tastes, time constraints, and the availability of extra ingredients.
Today, I’ll walk you through each method, so you know exactly how to implement them.
But first, let’s try to brainstorm why your Marsala sauce is so thin and runny to begin with?
I’m sure you don’t want something like this to happen again!
- 1 Why Is My Marsala Sauce Thin?
- 2 How Thick Does A Marsala Sauce Be?
- 3 What Can You Use To Thicken Marsala Sauce?
- 4 How To Thicken Marsala Sauce – All of The Options
- 5 Other Suggestions To Avoid A Watery Marsala Sauce
- 6 Lastly
Why Is My Marsala Sauce Thin?
Marsala sauce often comes out thin when the ingredients are not added in the right order as directed in the recipe or if you add too much broth or Marsala wine all at once. Alternatively, it could be that the sauce was not cooked for the correct length of time or has been sufficiently reduced. It could also be runny because the quantity of roux added is insufficient.
The thickness of the sauce will be determined by the length of time you spend reducing it and the kind of thickening you use.
Ensure that the cooking time and temperatures you follow are as specified in the recipe because they are critical for achieving perfect consistency.
Counterintuitively, overheating your sauce can reverse the thickening effect and result in a thin sauce.
So you need to be mindful of that, too.
How Thick Does A Marsala Sauce Be?
A good Marsala sauce is brownish, glossy, and thick, but not as thick as a Marinara or Cream sauce. It must have a pouring consistency and rich texture.
Your Marsala sauce should not be flowing all over the plate but must be able to stick to the food – for you to fully enjoy its flavor.
So, how will you know if your sauce has the right consistency?
To determine the thickness, a spoon test is useful here if you are new to sauce making.
When you dip the spoon into the sauce and then lift it out, the back of the spoon should be coated nicely with the sauce.
That’s the consistency you must aim for.
When you test the sauce with a spoon, the cold surface of the spoon will slightly cool the sauce, giving you an idea of how thick the final sauce will be.
What Can You Use To Thicken Marsala Sauce?
You can use either time and heat to thicken a Marsala sauce or thickeners to bind the liquid, e.g., flour (roux), any starch of your choice (cornstarch, potato, or tapioca starch), Beurre Manie’ (kneaded butter and flour), and/or egg yolks.
If you follow the suggestions and pro-tips in the section below, thickening a Marsala sauce will be a breeze the next time you make it.
However, it requires some patience.
Bear in mind to start slow and add ingredients in little increments, regardless of the method you select.
When you are ready to choose the method, also keep in mind that the taste and flavor of your sauce should remain unaltered.
When it comes to thickening your sauce, a combination of reducing or adding thickeners can work very well.
How To Thicken Marsala Sauce – All of The Options
I’ve got you covered with different methods to thicken your Marsala sauce.
In fact, you must choose the technique that best meets your requirements – both in terms of time and ingredients.
Thickening By Simmering
Simmering is a typical technique in which the sauce is cooked at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time, enhancing the flavor by evaporating the liquid content.
It’s critical that you bring the sauce to a full boil first, then reduce the heat to allow it to simmer.
And it’s also important to note that stirring the sauce frequently every few minutes will prevent the sauce from burning.
Use your best judgment to determine how long it will take to simmer your sauce, as it will vary depending on how thin it is and the size of your batch.
The reduction process can be sped up by using a larger, shallower pan.
You can decrease the sauce in a slow cooker if it’s too thin and you don’t want to keep an eye on it all the time.
You must remove the sauce from the heat as soon as it reaches the desired thickness.
Although this procedure takes much longer than using a thickener, it is unquestionably the best!
Do not attempt to simmer if you are in a rush….
Thickening With Flour
Flour is the thickener of choice, and it’s likely that you’ve used it previously for thickening other sauces.
Flour effectively thickens your Marsala sauce when used as a roux.
Making a roux (a mixture of flour and butter in equal amounts) requires some skill and practice. A majority of people get it wrong when making it for the very first time.
Before you begin the roux for your Marsala sauce, practice the technique once or twice if you have never made it earlier.
Once you’ve mastered the roux, you’ll notice that it not only thickens but also enriches the flavor profile of your sauce.
Start by warming the butter over low heat, then add the flour and constantly stir until it begins to bubble up.
It is essential that you cook until the mixture is slightly browned and no longer smells like ‘raw flour.’ At this point, you must lower the heat at this point, so your roux doesn’t burn.
After you have made the roux, just add 1 tablespoon of it into the sauce and whisk gently to blend into the sauce.
To avoid lumps, stirring the sauce frequently while it reduces is useful. Once the proper thickness and texture have been achieved, remove it from the fire.
If you think your sauce still needs thickening, add more roux and simmer until you’re satisfied with the consistency.
Thickening With Starch
Starch, when used as a slurry, is a quick and effortless technique to thicken your Marsala sauce.
Cornstarch is the starch of choice since it is affordable, has a neutral flavor, and provides the sauce with a lovely sheen.
That being said, you don’t have to use Cornstarch.
Potato or tapioca starch are other natural thickeners that work incredibly well, too.
It is worth noting that starches must always be added as a slurry rather than directly to the sauce as a powder because they tend to agglomerate and make the sauce lumpy.
Make a slurry by mixing 1 part cornstarch with 1 part water and then adding it to the sauce.
Keep the sauce on simmer at a low setting before adding your starch slurry for optimal thickening results.
Remember to not boil the sauce after the starch slurry has been added, as this will alter the thickening properties and will cause the sauce to thin out.
Taste at the finishing step, as the starch masks the flavor of the sauce.
As a result, the salt and spices need to be adjusted.
Thickening With Beurre Manié
This is easy! In order to make a beurre manié, or kneaded butter, combine equal parts butter and flour.
The butter must be soft before using it for beurre manié.
Knead the butter and flour together until a soft dough forms. Roll the dough into small balls.
It’s necessary to keep cooking the Marsala sauce while gradually adding the kneaded butter balls, stirring often.
You must cook the sauce for a sufficient amount of time at medium-low heat to ensure that the flour is thoroughly cooked; otherwise, your sauce will taste like ‘raw flour.’
Your marsala sauce will have the appropriate texture and gloss -thanks to the beurre manié.
Thickening With Egg Yolks
Egg yolks are great for thickening sauces.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks before using the yolks as a thickener.
Whisk your egg yolks until they are pale yellow, then add a small amount of Marsala sauce to the yolks while whisking constantly.
This will prevent the eggs from scrambling when you add them to the hot sauce, in turn tempering the eggs.
Slowly pour the yolk and sauce slurry back into the remaining sauce, constantly stirring after the eggs have been tempered.
As the eggs are incorporated into the sauce, the heat will be dispersed equally throughout the sauce.
This technique will significantly thicken your sauce. And if you love eggs, then this is perfect for you!
Other Suggestions To Avoid A Watery Marsala Sauce
You noticed that your sauce is still runny despite using one or more of the methods discussed above.
I have a few more suggestions for you before you toss that unappealing sauce in the trash.
Ingredients and Equipment
Go over the recipe to see if you followed it exactly.
It is critical to measure your ingredients before beginning to cook the sauce. You don’t want to use too little or too much of anything.
Gather all the equipment and tools in advance, as this can affect your technique of thickening.
Practice and Patience
Thickening a sauce is all about hit and trial.
A few experiments and a little bit of patience go a long way toward that perfect Marsala sauce.
If your recipe calls for heavy cream, then you can use it for thickening your Marsala sauce.
Be careful when adding cream, as the sauce can break. Ensure the sauce is kept simmering on gentle heat.
With the addition of cream, the sauce may not thicken immediately, but it will thicken to the required consistency as it cools down.
Boiled and pureed vegetables, such as potatoes or squash, can also be added to your sauce.
Taste-testing your sauce after the addition of thickening agents is important.
Season your sauce just before the finishing step.
Thickening a Marsala sauce is a straightforward and easy process.
You can choose any method keeping in mind to not alter the flavor of your sauce.
Regardless, it’s always a good idea to experiment with a few different techniques till you finally have a preferred one!
And now that you know how to thicken a Marsala sauce properly, your plate will always have a sauce with the perfect consistency!
Hi there. I’m Jeremy – a passionate food technologist with several decades in the food industry. With a love for sauces, food, and nutrition, I decided to create WeWantTheSauce. Here I share my experience, knowledge, and recommendations; from ingredients and recipes to storage all the way through to nutrition for every sauce imaginable.