What To Consider Before Using Oat Flour To Thicken Sauces

When your soup is runny or too thin, it's common to reach for flour to thicken it. Yet, if you're gluten-free or simply want to try an alternative, wheat flour may not fit the bill. Oat flour is a popular swap for thickening sauce — just keep a few things in mind when you make the switch to the gluten-free flour.

In terms of texture, the oats used to make oat flour are finely milled, making it smooth to the touch. Since it's close in texture to wheat flour, it's a great replacement for using in a stew, sauce, or roux. However, while regular flour doesn't have much of a taste, oat flour possesses a nutty, somewhat sweet flavor that's present when it's baked or stirred into a sauce.

The taste isn't unpleasant, but it's best to only use it in sauces that mirror its taste or mesh well with it. Keep the taste of the sauce, as well as the seasonings it'll need, in mind when determining whether to use oat flour with it. For example, while homemade buffalo wing sauce may not benefit from a nutty flour, some country gravy would.

Use oat flour to thicken these sauces

Already equipped with its own nutty flavor, brown butter sauce can benefit from oat flour. Once the butter has melted down, lower the heat and gently mix in the wheat flour substitute. Not only will it give the sauce a slightly sweeter taste, but it'll stretch it out, allowing it to perfectly coat lobster ravioli, spaghetti, or sweet potato gnocchi.

Béchamel is another buttery sauce that benefits from the sweet, nuttiness of oat flour. A mixture of butter, flour, and milk, the creamy sauce can be used to elevate mac and cheese, lasagna, or plain pasta. Add some to fluffy cheese soufflé or stir it into fall vegetable soup.

Oat flour can also lend its sweet flavor to savory gravy. Thicken rich bacon or sausage gravy with oat flour's silky texture. It gives gravy a creaminess that makes it perfect for sopping up with tender biscuits. To really satisfy your sweet tooth, squeeze some maple syrup into the oaty gravy for a sweet and salty breakfast.