How To Thicken A Glaze: 7 Methods

A food item that has been glazed is immediately that much more appealing. Be it sweet or savory, a glazed treat will flirt with your eyes and taste buds. Achieving the desired consistency can be tricky at times. So what can be done if your glaze looks more like syrupy water? How do you thicken a glaze?

glazed donuts

Glazes can be thickened by reduction using heat, thickening agents such as cornstarch, gelatin, Arrowroot powder, the addition of sugar followed by further heat reduction, butter, and tapioca flour. The method you select depends on the type of glaze and whether it is sweet or savory.

The ways in which you can rescue your glaze are abundant. However, each method may yield slightly varying results but will still leave you with a lovely thick glaze. It is up to you to discern which of the ingredients and methods will work for you.

Different Ways To Thicken A Glaze

When making a glaze, pay close attention to the measurements and heat. If you follow instructions carefully from the start, it is unlikely that your glaze would require any further thickening. But, the thickness depends entirely on you.

So while some recipes may have a glaze that is a little too runny for your liking, you can always thicken it up in a way that does not compromise the texture, flavor, and appearance. The methods listed below are the most suitable for achieving a glossy and delicious glaze.

how to thicken a glaze 7 ways

Tip #1: Thickening A Glaze With Cornstarch

  1. Carefully measure your cornstarch. One tablespoon of cornstarch is used for every 1 cup of glaze liquid.
  2. Slake your cornstarch. Slaking (also known as making a “slurry”) refers to mixing the cornstarch with equal parts cold liquid or water. Mix into a smooth paste and ensure that there are no lumps.
  3. Whisk the slaked cornflour into your glaze until dissolved and place over low heat, stirring frequently.
  4. Once the thickness of your glaze is to your liking, remove it from the heat immediately.

Tip #2: Thickening A Glaze With Arrowroot Powder

This powder is similar to cornstarch and can be used in precisely the same way. The same steps will be followed, but your measurements will differ. Arrowroot is more efficient at thickening when compared to cornstarch. Therefore less of it will be needed.

  • For 1 cup of glaze, you would use two teaspoons of Arrowroot powder.
  • The slaking will follow the same principle: using equal parts Arrowroot powder and cold liquid to form a smooth paste.
  • The following steps are the same as with cornstarch, but your cooking time will be less, so be sure to keep an eye on your glaze.

Related Articles – how to thicken cookie dough or ganache

Tip #3: Thickening A Glaze With Gelatin

Unlike cornstarch and Arrowroot, gelatin actually thickens as it cools down. It is a wonderful alternative if you want to thicken your glaze with something that is low-carb and gluten-free.

  1. For every cup of liquid, 1 ½ teaspoon of powdered gelatin is used. Should you desire a much thicker glaze, 4 ½ teaspoons per cup of glaze liquid can be used.
  2. The gelatin is then sprinkled over 2-3 tablespoons of cold water and whisked. Leave the gelatin and water mixture to sit for a few minutes until it gelatinizes.
  3. Pour your gelatin mixture into your liquid (which should be simmering) and stir in for one minute before removing it from the heat. The glaze must not reach boiling point.
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature, and your glaze should be thickened nicely.

Tip #4: Thickening A Glaze With Butter

The use of butter is perfect for savory dishes or glazes with wine or stock base. Butter will add a lovely rich flavor, but the glossy sheen may become a little more opaque as the glaze cools down. Four tablespoons of room temperature butter are required for one cup of glaze. It is whisked into the warm liquid (off the heat).

Tip #5: Thickening A Glaze With Sugar

Sugar can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. It is a prevalent ingredient when it comes to a glaze. A glazed ham, for example, uses both sugar and butter. At the same time, glazes for desserts or fruity items use powdered sugar and water.

It is best to add one tablespoon of sugar to your liquid at a time while it is on low heat. Be sure to stir until it is thickened. Adjustments to the flavoring may be required if it is too sweet. Vinegar and lemon juice can be of use here.

Tip #6: Thickening A Glaze With Tapioca Flour

  • For 1 cup of liquid, 1 ½ teaspoon of tapioca flour is used.
  • It is mixed with equal parts water or liquid and then added to your glaze towards the end of the cooking process.
  • The heat should be low while it is whisked in.
  • When bubbles begin to appear, remove the glaze from the heat and allow it to cool.
  • Stir the mixture after 2-3 minutes and then leave it for a further 10 minutes. The result will be the definition of a glaze.

Tip #7: Thickening A Glaze With Heat

If your glaze has a significant amount of liquid that is not even close to having a thick glossy appearance, your first course of action should be to turn up the heat. Be sure to pay attention to your liquid, stirring it frequently to avoid scalding.

The excess liquid should evaporate, leaving you with something that is closer to resembling a glaze. This method may be more time-consuming, and further measures may need to be taken after reduction should you not be satisfied.

Thickening Methods That Are Not Suitable For a Glaze

There will be other ways of thickening your glaze that you may come across, but these are not as suitable as the methods mentioned above. Yes, these will thicken your glaze, but your end result will not be a definitive glaze. It will look more like a sauce topping.

 These ingredients below are more likely to cause some cloudiness to the texture and appearance, which would defeat a glaze’s very purpose.

Methods of thickening that should be avoided for a glaze are:

  • Using egg yolks
  • Flour slurry
  • Roux’s made from flour
  • Rice flour slurry
  • Potato starch

If you are not too concerned about your glaze losing its translucent appearance, then using the ingredients mentioned above won’t harm your dish in terms of flavor. Each one will have its own specific method for use, which will need to be followed.

More Questions About Thickening A Glaze

Why Is My Glaze Too Runny?

A glaze that is too runny is the result of too much liquid or too little cooking time. Incorrect ratios of ingredients or thickening agents may also be the cause of a runny glaze.

How Thick Should A Glaze Be?

A thicker glaze is preferable as anything too watery runs the risk of being absorbed into the food item. The best way to gauge if your glaze is too runny is by comparing it to the consistency of corn syrup. This is supposedly the ideal thickness. With that being said, there is no shame in wanting your glaze a touch thicker or stickier.

What Is the Definition Of A Glaze?

A glaze is a glossy outer coating that is brushed or poured over a variety of dishes. The color will depend on the ingredients that have been used for the base. Still, it should always be translucent and can have many thickness variations.


Glazes are a wonderful thing for donuts, cinnamon rolls, and all sorts of pastry! But you want to make sure your glaze is the right consistency so it sets just right. If you are ever in a situation where your glaze is too runny, use one of these 7 tips to help! Which one is your favorite?

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