How to Thicken Beef Stroganoff

by Sarah Bourque
Flour can thicken beef stroganoff, but must be mixed with water first to avoid clumping.

Flour can thicken beef stroganoff, but must be mixed with water first to avoid clumping.

Beef stroganoff was likely named after, or perhaps simply made popular by, a member of the powerful Russian Stroganoff family in the 19th century. U.S. cooks made the meal a family favorite in the 1940s, '50s and '60s. Elegant enough for guests but still comforting as a family dinner, beef stroganoff deserves a spot on the modern table. Thinly sliced beef, mushrooms and onions are stirred into a rich sour cream sauce and served over a bed of tasty egg noodles. If your sauce is thinner than you'd like, you can thicken it with a slurry of water plus flour or cornstarch.

Heat the cooking oil or butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the beef, and season with salt and pepper. Brown the meat for about 1 minute, stirring often. Be careful not to overcook the meat. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Heat some oil or butter in the same pan over medium heat. Add the onions; saute until they are soft. Add the mushrooms and saute until they are cooked through.

Add some flour to the vegetables, or hold off until later when you add the sour cream, if preferred. Stir the flour around to coat the onions and mushrooms.

Add the beef broth or stock and white wine to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat.

Stir some flour in with the sour cream if you did not add flour previously. Make sure you remove all lumps if you add flour now. Add the sour cream slowly to the saucepan, stirring to combine as you add.

Return the cooked beef to the pan, along with any juices from the meat that dripped out. Place the pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Cook gently until the sauce is warm and the meat is heated through, stirring often to prevent the sour cream from curdling.

Make a slurry by adding equal amounts of cornstarch or flour with cold water, if the sauce is too thin. Use a few tablespoons of each. Stir the mixture into the pan and simmer for a few minutes.

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Items you will need

  • Cooking oil or butter
  • Large saucepan
  • Lean beef, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper powder
  • Onions, chopped
  • Mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • Flour
  • Beef broth or stock
  • White wine
  • Sour cream
  • Cornstarch or flour
  • Water
  • Cooked egg noodles
  • Powdered nutmeg
  • Fresh parsley, chopped


  • Serve the stroganoff immediately over a bed of hot egg noodles. Sprinkle on a bit of powdered nutmeg and fresh chopped parsley.
  • Try serving with warm garlic bread and a crisp green salad. You can substitute rice for egg noodles, if desired.
  • Beef stroganoff is high in fat and calories. You can modify and substitute some of the ingredients to make it healthier. Try substituting nonfat Greek yogurt for the sour cream or serving on whole wheat noodles or brown rice. You can also substitute ground turkey for the beef, or even omit the meat.

About the Author

Sarah Bourque has been a freelance writer since 2006 and is based in the Pacific Northwest. She writes and edits for the local publisher, Pacific Crest Imprint and has written for several online content sites. Her work recently appeared in "The Goldendale Tourism and Economic Development Magazine" and "Sail the Gorge!" magazine. She attended Portland Community College where she studied psychology.

Photo Credits

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