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Mastering Thickness: How to Thicken Lemon Butter Sauce

Lemon butter sauce is a classic French recipe that can be served with fish, chicken, or vegetables.

It’s also delicious as an accompaniment to roasted meat, such as roast lamb or pork.

It is very simple to make and will keep for two days in the refrigerator.

The sauce can easily be frozen and can even be prepared in bulk to save for later.

The sauce is very easy to make, but there are a few tips that will ensure it’s at its best.

Use unsalted butter and add it to the sauce at the very end — you don’t want salt overpowering the delicate lemon flavor.

Since this sauce is quite thin, it will flow slowly from the spoon.

There are several ways to thicken it, and you’ll need to decide what works best for the final dish.

In this article, we’ll look at some common methods to thicken lemon butter sauce.

Common Mistakes When Making Lemon Butter Sauce?

common mistakes when making lemon butter sauce

Lemon butter sauce should be kept warm before serving, but if you can’t resist tasting it as you go, then simply reheat in a small pan.

Cooks will often cut the butter into small cubes or slices and toss it into the saucepan.

This is wrong because it means that you are melting large chunks of butter in liquid rather than allowing them to dissolve in a liquid.

Also, when the butter is melted, it needs to be just warm enough to mix well with the lemon juice and other ingredients.

If you let it get too hot, then all of the water in the butter will evaporate, and your sauce will become coarse and start to separate.

Next time you make this recipe, melt your butter first and then measure what you need for your recipe.

You will notice that the sauce becomes more stable with smooth, melted butter than if you added cubes or slices of butter to the saucepan.

How To Thicken Lemon Butter Sauce?

how to thicken lemon butter sauce

Lemon butter sauce will thicken naturally as it cools.

This is a good technique and can be used with large batches of sauce if you have friends over for dinner or entertaining some guests.

There are also other techniques to thicken lemon butter sauce that works well in most recipes.

Below, we’ll look at some of the options available to you.

1 – Cook Your Sauce Longer

Many people find that lemon butter sauce thickens as it cools, so to thicken the sauce, simply don’t take it off the heat when you are ready to serve it.

Leave it on a burner and let it simmer for another ten minutes or so.

2 – Add Cornstarch Or A Starch

This is a very common method, but it isn’t one that I always use.

The reason for this is that some starches can interfere with the flavor of the sauce.

It’s also worth noting that lemon butter has to be quite thin since it will coat food much better if it’s of a thinner consistency.

Add a tablespoon or two to the saucepan when you are heating it to thicken lemon butter sauce using cornstarch.

Stir in with a balloon whisk and wait for the mixture to boil before removing it from the heat again.

This will create a thickened sauce that has no starch flavor at all.

Many people add flour to thicken lemon butter sauce, but this isn’t always necessary.

Using a roux is a great way of thickening without having an impact on the flavor.

Simply heat up your pan and then add the butter in small amounts, stirring until you have melted it all in.

Make sure that the butter doesn’t get too hot because if it does, it will burn.

If this happens, you will need to start again and try not to add too much butter at once.

3 – Add A Thickening Agent

If your sauce isn’t thick enough, you can add a third ingredient to help thicken it.

This is often the best method to serve the lemon butter sauce on rice or pasta, for example.

You can also use cream of tartar, a common thickener that will add volume to your sauce while also improving the flavor.

4 – Add Sugar Or Syrup

If you want to thicken lemon butter sauce, adding sugar or syrup will quickly make it thicker.

The downside of this method is that it can affect the overall flavor and sweetness of the sauce and its color.

This technique isn’t always recommended, but it’s a good trick to know if you want your sauce to be thicker quickly and without much effort.

Just add half a spoonful of sugar or 1 tablespoon of syrup and mix it with the other ingredients when you are cooking your sauce.

5 – Cook The Lemon Butter Sauce In A Bain Marie

This is a great trick that you can use to thicken lemon butter sauce without changing the flavor.

A bain-marie is basically a hot water bath, so it’s not much different from putting your saucepan of food in an already boiling pot.

The way this works is simple.

If you want to thicken lemon butter sauce, put your saucepan with the sauce into another pot and pour boiling water around it until you have a double boiler.

You then need to let the mixture simmer for about ten minutes, stirring it regularly as you go.

6 – Add Cornflour

Cornflour is a great thickening agent that can be used in just about any recipe.

To make lemon butter sauce thicker, simply add two or three tablespoons of cornflour to your sauce when it’s ready.

Ensure that you also mix this into the rest of the ingredients properly, and then cook for a few minutes until thickened.

7 – Using a Liaison

This is a fancy word for using egg yolk as a thickener.

Adding the yolk to your sauce will help thicken it quickly while also giving the flavor of lemon butter sauce a boost.

Take the sauce off the heat, add three tablespoons of butter and whisk in about 30 grams of egg yolk.

8 – Less Is More

If you are trying to thicken lemon butter sauce without changing its flavor, try using less butter overall.

This will help keep it from getting too thick, and it also means that you won’t have to add any other ingredients.

You can also use a different butter type since salted versions tend to be higher in fat content.


In conclusion, it is possible to thicken lemon butter sauce in several different ways.

You don’t need to make any huge changes or additions to your recipe since most methods will help you thicken it without affecting the flavor too much.

If you want something thick and creamy, then using a liaison or thickening agent will work well, but adding syrup or sugar to your sauce is the best option if you are after something simpler.

Or, of course, you could always just use less butter.

how to thicken lemon butter sauce

How to Thicken Lemon Butter Sauce? Easy Guide to Save Lemon Butter Sauce

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


  • Lemon butter sauce
  • 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.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @EatDelights or tag #eatdelights!

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