What Makes Wondra Instant Flour Unique

Gravy is one of those things that's just made for topping creamy mashed potatoes or a fluffy homemade biscuit. But no matter how good gravy may be, there's one instance when you probably don't want it — and that's when it comes with lumps. How many times have you made gravy from scratch only to have the frustrating result of lumpy gravy?

A foolproof way around having lumps in your gravy or other sauces that are made from using flour as a thickening agent is to use Wondra instant flour. If you've seen this bright blue canister on the supermarket shelf, but haven't ever used it, Kitchn says this low protein flour has been around for decades and recipes that call for instant flour often reference Wondra by name. 

As noted by Serious Eats, this flour was introduced in the 1960s and was made to instantly dissolve in sauces, soups, and gravies, giving a thickened end product without lumps.

How is Wondra flour made?

According to Gold Medal Flour, the maker of Wondra flour, the instant flour mixes quickly and easily, which makes it ideal for making sauces and gravies thick, creamy, and free from lumps. If you've never worked with Wondra, this might sound too easy and too good to be true, but smooth, thick gravies are possible when you use it — and there's actually a specific process that the flour is made from that helps make it possible.

As The Spruce Eats explains, this quick cooking flour is made through a pre-gelatinization process where wheat flour gets pre-cooked, dried, and then finely ground. These three qualities combine to make Wondra easy to dissolve and cook fast. The article further explains that it also thickens liquids faster than going the traditional route of cooking flour into a roux, adding liquid, then waiting for the flour to cook and thicken the liquid. Since Wondra is already cooked and ground super fine, that process isn't necessary.

When to use it

Although it's ideal for thickening sauces, soups, and gravies, you can also use Wondra in a number of other recipes where flour is used, including batters and in desserts. As AllRecipes outlines, the quick-cooking flour makes a great alternative to tempura batter for veggies and meat since it thickens and doesn't produce lumps and can also be used for pie crusts. As the outlet shares, substituting three-fourths of all-purpose flour in your pie crust recipe for Wondra will give you a tender and flaky pie crust.

AllRecipes also told readers that the instant flour's thickening capabilities can help you achieve the perfect crepe since it can cut down the waiting time for crepe batter, which typically needs to rest for 30 minutes to thicken. Speaking of crepes, Martha Stewart's official website reveals that Julia Child swore by using Wondra in crepe batter since it yields thin crepes.

Alternatives to Wondra

If you're unable to find Wondra at your local grocer, or if you don't make recipes that call for instant flour very often, there are alternatives that will mix into sauces and gravies quickly. And the good news is, you may already have these items in your pantry. According to Substitute Cooking, which outlines 10 alternatives to Wondra, there are a number of substitutes for the instant flour, with some gluten-free alternatives, such as rice flour.

The article explains other swaps for Wondra include potato starch, as well as tapioca flour, and mixing a half of a teaspoon of cornstarch into one cup of whole wheat flour to yield the same type of results.

American Restaurant recommends using cassava flour, which is made from peeled and grated cassava root, as a replacement for Wondra, explaining that cassava flour is gluten-free, high in fiber, and has a neutral taste.