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Five Mother Sauces Every Cook Should Know

Many sauces can be traced back to one of the five ‘mother sauces’. Once you have prepared a mother sauce, you can serve it that way or else add more ingredients to it to transform it into another sauce. A basic béchamel is used to make dishes such as lasagna, or if you add cheese to it you get cheese sauce. Add mustard and you have mustard sauce. You can see why learning these five basic recipes means you will be able to make hundreds of different sauces.

The five mother sauces are béchamel sauce, espagnole sauce, hollandaise, tomato sauce, and velouté. Béchamel is a simple white sauce, espagnole includes meat stock, tomato, and bold and aromatic seasonings, hollandaise is made with butter and lemon, tomato sauce is of course made with tomatoes, and then you have velouté which is simply stock, clarified butter and flour.

Some of these sauces can be made in minutes while others need a long, slow simmering time to coax out all the flavors. There is a mother sauce (or a derivative or variation of it) for every dish, whether you want something mild and tangy for chicken or fish, a meaty taste for your beef or venison, a tomato-based sauce for pasta, or something with white wine and herbs to enhance a seafood dish. Every chef learns the five mother sauces early in their career because they are so versatile, and the fresh flavor of a homemade sauce is so much better than the bland taste of a commercially prepared alternative. Even a beginner cook new to sauce-making will find these five mother sauces easy to prepare.

Five Mother Sauces Every Cook Should Know

Infograph showing the five main French Mother sauces and the other sauces that derive from them commonly used in the making of most sauces for cooking. Layout for quick reference to what you need to know…

These are the links to the recipes above for full the recipe write up and for printable version along with the ability to get grocery list and nutritional info for each with the button in the sidebar. These recipes all come from one of my sites mostly here.

The Best Bechamel in the World

Traditional Espagnole Sauce

Quick and Easy Hollandaise Sauce

Vine-Ripened Tomato Sauce with Herbs

Basic Chicken Velouté

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hello, I'm Christine. Thanks for dropping by and welcome to Amazing Sauces. Food is a very important part of our family's lives, and I find a homemade sauce often finishes a dish perfectly. Whether you are making something with chicken, beef, pork, vegetables, an appetizer, or even a dessert recipe, a sauce is often the ideal finishing touch.

You will find many sauce recipes here, all conveniently in one place, from the classics like tomato sauce, béchamel sauce and cheese sauce, to gravies, marinades, and unusual ideas for sauces too like ginger-plum sauce or gorgonzola sauce.

Some sauces can be drizzled over the meal, while others are best served on the side. Some will work as a dip or sauce, while others are great for basting, marinating or adding a splash of color to a recipe. Try our creamy gravies with your breakfast, one of our international steak marinades for a sophisticated spin on dinner, or learn how to make a classic béarnaise or rich red wine sauce to complement your dish.

Thanks for visiting,


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