The Go-To Ingredient To Instantly Thicken Your Salad Dressing

The greatness of a salad dressing is not only marked by how its tangy or sweet notes pair with the fresh earthy flavors of the greens but also by its viscosity. If it coats the lettuce and envelops the cucumbers without sliding into a pool at the bottom of the bowl, it's a winner. So for those looking for a quick and easy way to achieve that nice thick consistency, tapioca flour is your go-to ingredient.

Also known as tapioca starch, this versatile gluten-free flour is a cassava derivative. It's largely known and used in making boba teas and tapioca pudding, but it's also an excellent thickening agent that can be used in your salad dressing. Unlike other thickeners, tapioca flour produces a smooth, velvety, and stable texture, and thanks to its neutral taste, it doesn't alter the flavor of the dressing.

Another benefit of using tapioca flour is that it works pretty fast. This root starch doesn't require boiling temperature for it to start its thickening effect. And for that reason, it's a perfect thickener for salad dressings, whether served warm or cold.

How to use tapioca flour to thicken your salad dressing

If you've ever used cornstarch to thicken your salad dressings, or even any soups or stews, then you'll find the process of adding tapioca starch to salad dressing quite similar. First, prepare the dressing as usual. Whether it's a simple vinaigrette, a complex creamy dressing, or a warm bacon dressing, follow your favorite salad dressing recipe as usual since the thickener is added at the very end.

Once the dressing is ready, make a slurry using the tapioca flour: Combine the flour and water in a 1:1 ratio. Mix well to dissolve the tapioca flour until you form a smooth paste. Now add the slurry to your prepared salad dressing and stir well. The exact amount will depend on how much dressing you have and how thick you want it, but if you're unsure, you can start with a tablespoon and assess how it'll impact the consistency.

Note that if you're making a warm salad dressing, you'll need to lower the heat on the stove before adding the slurry and stirring it in. The dressing will thicken almost immediately, and if you want it even thicker, add more slurry a little at a time until you reach your desired thickness. And there you have it — your thickened salad dressing is ready to serve.