8 ways to thicken a sauce with dairy

Going gluten-free with the Banting lifestyle doesn’t signal the end of thick sauces, soups, and batters. Quite the opposite, your days of eating delicious, nutritious food that is good for your body is just beginning!

Using dairy is an effective way to thicken and bind, without much hassle. Below we explore various ways that dairy can be used in your Banting dishes, as well as a few nifty tricks to thicken dairy-based sauces.

(If you are going dairy-free, don’t panic – this article provides a number of ways to thicken without dairy.)

High-speed hand-held blender.

If your cream-based sauce has not quite reached the consistency you were hoping for, whizzing it up with a high-speed hand-held blender might just give it the oomph you were hoping for. This works brilliantly for a mushroom sauce. Blitzing the mushrooms into the creamy sauce adds extra thickness.

Egg yolk.

Raw egg yolk is another nifty way to thicken up a cheese sauce, or any cream-based sauce. Add a touch of cream or milk to your egg yolk and whisk it together. Add the egg mix to the sauce and heat it on low so that the sauce thickens without becoming curdled. Egg yolk is also the base for mayonnaise, hollandaise. As a bonus, it adds extra protein and healthy fats to smoothies and hot drinks. (But avoid raw eggs if you’re pregnant)

Grated cheese.

Grated cheese, such as cheddar or parmesan, can also act as a thickener in a cheese sauce and becomes a great binding agent in the cooking process. Try, for example, incorporating it into crustless quiches and cauli-pizza dough. It’s also the base of crackers or cheese “crisps.”

Cream cheese.

Cream cheese can also help to thicken cream-based sauces. It can act as a thickener for salad dressings, dips, and be used as a replacement for mayonnaise. It can also help to thicken pancake batters and be used as a base for cake icing when mixed with butter.

Sour cream.

This is another great way to thicken sauces, especially ones that require a bit of tartness, such as a Beef Stroganoff, or to liven up dips and dressings.

Greek yoghurt.

Greek yoghurt is a perfect substitute for sour cream. It can also act as a replacement for mayonnaise and can provide texture to smoothies and Banting breads.


Thickened cream works wonders to add volume to desserts, as well as add body to curries and sauces.


Whisking in cold butter adds thickness and shine to a sauce or gravy. Allow the sauce/gravy to reduce until it thickens on its own and then whisk in some cold butter at the end.

Note: Some people, especially those with compromised digestive systems, or those who are gluten intolerant don’t react well to dairy. If this is you, here are some non-dairy ideas you can use. You might also want to use dairy with caution if you are struggling to lose weight.

You know the drill by now: As always when it comes to Banting, please factor in the carb-count of each ingredient, depending on what phase of Banting you’re on.

Eight tips mean eight more ways to become a Banting-whizz in the kitchen. To add even more depth to your Banting repertoire join our Online Program for tons of recipes and easy-to-follow meal plans.