The 5 Grand Sauces Every Cook Should Know
With just a few simple ingredients, mostly butter and flour and some practice you’ll be able to create these essential sauces with confidence.
Here are the basic formulas of the five grand or mother sauces:
- Béchamel: Roux + dairy
- Velouté: Roux + white stock
- Espagnole: Roux + brown stock
- Hollandaise: Egg yolks + clarified butter + acid (like lemon juice or white wine)
- Tomato: Roux + tomatoes
A medium-thick white sauce made from a white roux and milk. It’s used in a variety of dishes from lasagna to mac and cheese. The foolproof way to attain a smooth sauce is to have the milk hot when added to the butter and flour.
A savory sauce, made from a roux and a light stock. It's a starting point that a number of sauces can be made from. Like béchamel, velouté is considered a white sauce, and both are thickened with roux. A béchamel sauce has milk as its base, velouté is made with stock — chicken, veggie, and fish, but chicken is the most common.
A classic brown stock-based sauce. It’s similar to making a velouté but it includes extra ingredients, a mirepoix (chopped carrots, celery, and onions), tomato puree for color and acidity, fresh herbs, and thickened with roux.
A classic sauce with just a few simple pantry ingredients: egg yolk, clarified butter and lemon juice. Instead of using a roux, hollandaise uses the method of emulsification to bring the sauce together.
Tomato sauce with a mixture of just onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Some may start with a roux but most tomato sauces rely on a tomato reduction to create thickness.