How to Make Brown Sauce from Scratch


Are you tired of using store-bought brown sauce that lacks flavor and depth? Why not try making your own homemade brown sauce from scratch? In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of creating a delicious and rich brown sauce that will elevate any dish it accompanies. From selecting the right ingredients to mastering the cooking technique, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and learn how to make brown sauce from scratch!

1. Gather Your Ingredients

Before you begin making brown sauce, it’s essential to gather all the necessary ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

2. Prepare the Aromatics

In order to infuse your brown sauce with incredible flavors, it’s important to prepare the aromatics properly.

2.1 Finely Chop the Onion

Start by peeling and finely chopping the onion. A finely chopped onion will release more flavor, resulting in a tastier sauce.

2.2 Mince the Garlic

Next, mince the garlic cloves. Mincing the garlic will ensure that its flavor is evenly distributed throughout the sauce.

3. Cook the Aromatics

Now that your aromatics are ready, it’s time to cook them to release their flavors.

3.1 Melt the Butter

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Butter adds richness to the sauce and helps create a smooth texture.

3.2 Sauté the Onion and Garlic

Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic to the melted butter. Sauté them until they become soft and translucent, which usually takes about 5 minutes. The combination of butter, onion, and garlic will create a delicious base for your brown sauce.

4. Add the Flour

To thicken the sauce and give it a smooth consistency, it’s time to add the flour.

4.1 Sprinkle the Flour

Sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the sautéed onion and garlic mixture. Stir continuously to ensure the flour is evenly distributed and doesn’t form lumps. Keep stirring for about 2 minutes to cook off the raw taste of the flour.

5. Incorporate the Liquid Ingredients

Now it’s time to add the liquid ingredients that will give your brown sauce its signature taste.

5.1 Add the Stock

Pour the beef or vegetable stock into the saucepan. The stock will provide the base flavor of your brown sauce. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.

5.2 Enhance with Worcestershire Sauce

Add Worcestershire sauce to the saucepan. This tangy and savory sauce will add depth and complexity to your brown sauce.

5.3 Introduce Tomato Paste

Stir in the tomato paste, which will contribute to the rich color of your brown sauce. Tomato paste also adds a hint of sweetness to balance out the flavors.

5.4 Infuse with Soy Sauce

Lastly, add the soy sauce to the saucepan. Soy sauce provides a umami flavor that complements the other ingredients and enhances the overall taste of the sauce.

6. Simmer and Thicken the Sauce

Now that all the ingredients are combined, it’s time to simmer the sauce and let it thicken to perfection.

6.1 Bring to a Boil

Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer gently.

6.2 Stir Occasionally

Stir the sauce occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Simmer the sauce for about 15-20 minutes or until it thickens to your desired consistency.

6.3 Season with Salt and Pepper

Taste the sauce and season it with salt and pepper according to your preference. Be cautious with the salt if using a store-bought stock, as it may already contain salt.

7. Strain and Serve

After simmering and thickening the sauce, it’s time to strain and serve it.

7.1 Strain the Sauce

Place a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl or another saucepan. Pour the sauce through the strainer to remove any lumps or bits of onion and garlic. Press down on the solids with a spoon to extract all the flavorful liquid.

7.2 Serve and Enjoy

Your homemade brown sauce is now ready to be enjoyed! Serve it alongside your favorite dishes such as roasted meats, mashed potatoes, or steamed vegetables. Store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


FAQ 1: Can I use olive oil instead of butter?

While butter adds richness to the sauce, you can substitute it with olive oil if you prefer a lighter option. However, keep in mind that the flavor and texture of the sauce might be slightly different.

FAQ 2: Can I use chicken stock instead of beef or vegetable stock?

Absolutely! Feel free to use chicken stock if that’s what you have on hand. Just keep in mind that it may slightly alter the overall flavor of the sauce.

FAQ 3: Can I make a vegetarian version of brown sauce?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian version by using vegetable stock and omitting the Worcestershire sauce, which typically contains anchovies. You can substitute it with soy sauce or tamari for a similar umami taste.

FAQ 4: Can I freeze the brown sauce?

Yes, you can freeze the brown sauce for future use. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to freezer-safe containers or ziplock bags. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

FAQ 5: Can I double the recipe?

Absolutely! If you need a larger batch of brown sauce, simply double the ingredients. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure the sauce thickens properly.

FAQ 6: How long does it take to make brown sauce?

The total time to make brown sauce from scratch, including preparation and cooking, is approximately 30-40 minutes.

FAQ 7: Can I customize the flavor of the brown sauce?

Yes, you can customize the flavor of the brown sauce by adding herbs and spices such as thyme, rosemary, or bay leaves. Experiment with different combinations to suit your taste preferences.


Congratulations! You have successfully learned how to make brown sauce from scratch. By following this detailed guide, you can create a homemade brown sauce that is bursting with flavor and complements a variety of dishes. Experiment with different ingredients and techniques to personalize your sauce and make it truly unique. Enjoy the satisfaction of serving a delicious homemade sauce that will impress your family and friends!

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