6 Secret Ingredients That Will Make Your Stew Even Better

When your family's standing there waiting for your stew with bowls and spoons in hand, you'll know you've hit the jackpot.

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Taste of Home
Taste of Home

The first hint of cooler weather gets everyone ready for that delectable aroma of saucy meat and vegetables simmering slowly on the stove. Here are a few easy tricks for making a smooth, thick sauce for your stew to send the flavor over the top.

Looking for our best healthy stew recipes? Here you go!

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Old vintage wooden table with Tapioca
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One of the joys of eating stew is its hearty sauce, which should have more body than regular soup broth. Add a little tapioca to absorb some of the liquid and you’ll end up with a nice, thick broth. Use this tapioca trick in your own favorite stew recipe, or see it at work in our Classic Beef Stew.

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Taste of Home

Mashed Potatoes

While you could ladle your stew over mashed potatoes, did you ever consider putting them in the stew itself? Leftover mashed potatoes are another helpful way to thicken the sauce, add some body and avoid food waste. Whisk them in gently until they dissolve.

Here are dozens more ways to use up leftover mashed potatoes.

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instant potatoes
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Instant Potato Flakes

No leftover mashed potatoes on hand? Use instant potato flakes to add substance to the sauce. They’ll dissolve completely and leave no lumps, resulting in a thicker, heartier sauce with a bit more potato flavor.

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Close-up of cutted green limes on a wooden background.
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Fresh Lime Juice

Speaking of flavor, it’s amazing what a spritz of fresh lime juice can to do brighten up your stew. Squeeze a little drizzle into the stew at the end of cooking, stir and swoon.

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Pouring Soy Sauce into bowl
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Soy Sauce

If you’re looking for a darker flavor and deeper color for beef stew, a little bit of soy sauce adds depth and interest. See what I mean with our highly rated Jamaican-Style Beef Stew.

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close up of an open pickle jar;
Shutterstock / B Young

Pickle Juice

Yes, that’s right. A tablespoon of juice from the pickle jar spooned in 15–20 minutes before the stew is done perks up the taste nicely. (And if you’re an all-around pickle lover, you need to try these pickle-flavored snacks, stat.)

Dana Meredith
Dana is an editor and writer who shares her passion for travel, food and the beauty of American landscapes. When she's not wielding her red pen, she can be found tending her flower gardens, remodeling her house, creating one-of-a-kind jewelry or dancing to "Uptown Funk."