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Hearty and Thick: Easy Guide to Perfectly Thickened Gumbo

Gumbo is a southern American dish popular in Louisiana and around the Gulf Coast.

Gumbo is made of Chicken, okra, rice, and different spices depending on which region you are from in Louisiana.

It was originally made by slaves from West Africa to use every part of the animals they hunted or grew.

Gumbo is eaten with your hands and has many different variations in the recipe.

This dish is now served in restaurants and at home. Gumbo is easy to make but is very time-consuming.

It can last for about 1 hour after it has been made until you can eat it. Although gumbo is a delicious dish, it gets very runny when served.

The thickness of the gumbo depends on how long you cook it and if you put thickening in it.

There are many different ways to make your gumbo thicker using products from your house or items found at a grocery store.

Read on to learn more about thickening gumbo.

How to Make Gumbo?

how to make gumbo

First, you must acquire all the ingredients. Get a large pot that can fit all of your ingredients.

Add some cooking oil and onions into the large pot.

The recipe also calls for poultry seasoning, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, celery seeds (optional), thyme leaves (optional), tomato sauce (in a can or in ketchup), and chicken stock (from a box).

Gather your spices, celery seeds, thyme leaves, and tomato sauce together.

If you want more spice in the gumbo, add all three of the seasonings listed above to give it some spice.

Celery seeds are very small round-looking things that taste like celery, while thyme leaves are small round-looking things that taste like thyme.

The tomato sauce does not add any spice but just adds more flavor to the gumbo.

After your ingredients have been put into the pot and cooked for a little bit, you will start adding in your rice for about 25 minutes to cook and beef stock from a box or canned Beef broth for 20 minutes.

After the gumbo has been cooking for about 45 minutes, you can now add your Chicken and okra.

After the Chicken has been added in, continue to cook it for another 15-20 minutes.

After all of this is done properly and cooked, along with some thickening ingredients that have been added in, the gumbo is complete.

Why Consider Thickening Gumbo?

why consider thickening gumbo

Sometimes on the menu of a restaurant or at home, you are served very runny gumbo.

The broth is usually made from chicken stock, with okra and tomatoes in it.

Some seasonings may be added to give an extra kick of flavor; spices like garlic powder, celery seeds, thyme leaves, etc.

Regardless of the flavor, the broth itself is very runny. Thickening gumbo can make this runny liquid a thick, rich, and filling meal.

The thicker the gumbo is, the more likely you will eat it without getting messy from using your hands.

How to Thicken Gumbo?

how to thicken gumbo

The gumbo consistency depends on how long you cook it and whether or not you add thickening to it.

There are many ways to thicken a gumbo with or without ingredients from your house or local grocery store.

The most popular and common way to thicken gumbo is by adding a roux with flour, butter, and oil into the broth.

1 – Add Roux

To make a roux, you must add oil into the pot that gumbo is being cooked in.

Oil can be any type of cooking oil; vegetable or olive oil will do the job just as well as coconut or peanut.

Put about 3 inches of oil at the bottom of the pot. Add butter and flour into the pot.

The butter and flour will make a paste that is called a roux. Whisk the roux together until it becomes thick and white.

Add some salt to taste if you feel like the roux is not salty enough. Continue whisking until it turns a light brown color.

2 – Add Cornstarch

The next way to thicken gumbo is by adding cornstarch.

Add about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into the pot, then slowly pour some chicken broth into it.

The corn starch will be absorbed by the broth and make it thicker until you cannot see any of the cornstarch when stirring.

3 – Add Flour

Flour can be added in the same way as cornstarch. Add about 1 tablespoon of flour into the pot, then slowly pour some chicken broth into it.

The flour will be absorbed by the broth and make it thicker until you cannot see any of the flour when stirring.

This is a great thickening method that can be used if you do not have cornstarch or if you don’t want to use a roux.

4 – Add a Vegetable Soup Base

A vegetable soup base is really thick and will add an excellent flavor to the gumbo and make it thicker than water.

Add 1 pack of vegetable soup base into the pot. Add about 1 cup of water into the pot and stir until it is dissolved.

Then slowly add in more water until you reach your ideal thickness.

5 – Let it Simmer

If you don’t want to add anything or don’t have any in the house, just let it simmer.

Simmering will take about 10 minutes longer than it would if you did not have time to wait for your gumbo to thicken.

If you are in a rush, just add some cornstarch or flour, and then it will be ready for you to enjoy in no time at all.

6 – Add Cream of Chicken Soup

Another way to thicken gumbo is to use cream of chicken soup.

Add 1 can of cream of chicken soup, then add it into the pot and stir until it dissolves in the broth.

Allow this to cook for a few minutes more before serving.

7 – Add Cornmeal Grits

This is one of the most popular methods for thickening a gumbo.

Add 1 cup of cornmeal, then add water and mix together until the cornmeal is nice and smooth with no lumps in it.

As you put the mixture into the pot, be sure to stir in one direction smoothly so that there are no clumps; add as much water as needed to get the consistency that you want.

8 – Add Bread

Take a couple slices of bread and put it into the gumbo. Do not cut the bread, just throw it right in there whole.

The purpose of this is to make sure that all of the little pieces get soaked in the gumbo broth so that when it goes down your throat, you will have no piece of unsoaked bread.

You can choose to cut the bread if you want. Allow it to soak for about 10 minutes, or until it softens, then get rid of leftover and throw it away.


There are many ways to thicken gumbo, but the most important consideration is that you make it how you enjoy it.

You can make it as soupy or thick as you wish. Just remember to make it according to your preference and the recipe that you are using.

Good luck with this recipe, and enjoy eating your gumbo thickened just how you like it.

how to thicken gumbo

How to Thicken Gumbo? Easy Guide to Thicken Gumbo

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Cooking


  • Gumbo
  • Whisk or spoon
  • Stovetop
  • Your preferred thickening ingredient


  • Prepare all the required ingredients and equipment in the article.
  • Select and follow your desired method to thicken.
  • Depending on your desired thickness, you can add more or less.
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