How to Make Gumbo Thicker: A Comprehensive Guide


Gumbo is a traditional Southern dish that is loved by many. Its thick, savory broth and hearty ingredients make it the perfect comfort food. However, sometimes gumbo can be too thin, making it difficult to scoop up with rice or bread. In this guide, we will explore how to make gumbo thicker and achieve the desired consistency.

The Importance of Thickness in Gumbo

Gumbo’s thickness comes from a combination of ingredients such as roux, okra, and cornstarch. The right amount of each ingredient is crucial for achieving the perfect consistency. A thin gumbo can be watery and lacks body, while a too-thick gumbo can be difficult to eat and may lose its flavor.

Roux: The Base of Gumbo

Roux is a mixture of flour and fat that is used as the base for many Southern dishes, including gumbo. A good roux provides the foundation for the thickening of the broth. To make a roux, melt butter or oil in a pot over medium heat. Slowly add flour to the pot while stirring constantly until the roux reaches a deep brown color.

Okra: The Thickener

Okra is a key ingredient in gumbo that adds thickness and flavor. To use okra in your gumbo, chop it into small pieces and add it to the pot with the roux. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes or until it softens and releases its mucilage.


The Binder

Cornstarch is a great thickener that can be added to gumbo to achieve the desired consistency. To use cornstarch in your gumbo, mix it with water to create a slurry and add it to the pot with the roux and okra. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the broth thickens to your liking.

Tips for Thicker Gumbo

Here are some tips for achieving the perfect gumbo consistency:

  • Use a good quality roux that has been made with high-quality flour and fat.
  • Don’t overcook the okra as it can become bitter and lose its flavor.
  • Cook the gumbo slowly, allowing the flavors to develop fully.
  • Adjust the amount of liquid in your gumbo by adding more or less water or broth as needed.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your meats are cooked through and tender.


Making gumbo thicker can be a simple process with the right ingredients and techniques. By using roux, okra, cornstarch, and other flavorful additions, you can achieve the perfect consistency for your gumbo. Remember to cook slowly and adjust the liquid as needed to achieve the desired result. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be enjoying a delicious and satisfying bowl of gumbo in no time.


  1. How long does it take to thicken gumbo?
    It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to thicken gumbo depending on the ingredients used and the desired consistency.
  2. Can I use flour instead of roux in gumbo?
    Yes, you can substitute flour for roux in gumbo. However, be sure to use a good quality flour and cook it thoroughly to prevent lumps from forming.
  3. What if my gumbo is too thick?
    If your gumbo is too thick, you can add more liquid such as water or broth to thin it out. Alternatively, you can add more okra or cornstarch to help absorb some of the excess thickness.