Pan Sauces

July 6, 2009 4 Comments

Pan Sauces

How to Make a Simple Pan Sauce

Pan sauces sound mysterious, but they’re not.  They’re one pot cooking at its best!  No need to get another pot dirty; just use the one you cooked your meat in. Pan sauces are generally intensely flavored, and since they are based on reduction, make sure you don’t add too much salt. Here’s what you’ll need and how to do it.

Pan Sauce for 2 servings *

  • Pan with fond from the meat you cooked that is now resting
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot or onion
  • ¼ cup deglazing liquid, such as stock broth or wine
  • ¼ cup secondary liquid to balance the deglazing liquid
  • A bit of fat for mouth feel
  • Minced complementary herbs


  1. While meat is resting, sauté shallots/onion in the fat left in the pan (add a bit of oil if there is no fat)
  2. With the heat on high, pour in your deglazing liquid and stir up all the fond from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Reduce by ½ – this will not take long – watch it carefully.
  4. Add the balancing liquid **  and reduce until thickened and syrupy
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  You probably won’t need salt, but you might want to add some pepper.
  6. Off the heat, swirl in a splash of heavy cream or a bit of butter.  This will give your sauce a lovely gloss and rich mouth feel.
  7. Strain (if you want to) and add some minced herbs to finish.

* Since these amounts are for only two servings, the deglazing and reduction will happen quickly.  To make more for a larger crowd, understand that it will take longer to reduce the sauce to the correct consistency.

** Examples of liquids that will balance each other (depending on the meat):  fruit juice and stock, wine and stock, cognac/brandy and stock, beer and stock…  Do you see a pattern developing?

More On Pan Sauces

For a more detailed look at pan sauces including a look at the right pan to use, how much liquid works best, classic pan sauces vs. quick pan sauces and a whole lot more, check out Making Incredible Pan Sauces at Home.

Last modified on Mon 14 July 2014 10:06 am

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Penny says:

    is it possible to make pan sauce to serve 8?

    • I guess it depends on how big your pan is. Just kidding. Of course you can make a pan sauce for 8. You just have to adjust your ingredients but if you asking if there will be enough fond so the flavor is full, that’s a great question. In restaurants, they use what are called restaurant pans and usually make an entry for one or two people at a time. Thus enough “stuff” “fond” “brown bits” for a pan sauce for one or two. You can do the same thing at home by cooking the meat in two or three pans and making individual sauces for each pan. Most of us won’t do that though so we use one big pan. Harder to control but definable doable.

  2. Holliday says:

    So.. if you want to use beer in the sauce would you use the beer to deglaze or the stock?

Leave a Reply

Culinary Schools

Ice Cream Sundays

Strawberry Chocolate with Almonds Gelato Recipe

Strawberry Chocolate with Almonds Gelato Recipe

Strawberry Chocolate with Almonds Gelato Recipe On a recent trip to State College, PA, my wife stopped at Tait Farms to pick up some local products including a Strawberry Dark Chocolate Sauce that my daughter thought would be a great ingredient to try in a new gelato or ice cream. I also had some Dark […]

August 13, 2014 0 Comments
Chocolate Trail Mix Ice Cream

Chocolate Trail Mix Ice Cream

How About Some Chocolate Ice Cream with a Bit of Trail Mix While I was down in the basement working out, I heard my youngest daughter upstairs in the kitchen preparing something.  My daughter has cerebral palsy and uses a walker to get around so I could hear the wheels rolling back and forth as […]

July 25, 2014 5 Comments
Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

 We Used Starbucks Hot Chocolate Mix For This One Maddie and I were thinking about making some homemade ice cream and since chocolate is her favorite, we thought we would give that a try. I looked in the recipe book that came with my new Cuisinart Ice Cream Gelato Maker and found a basic recipe […]

July 10, 2014 0 Comments
Strawberry Gelato Recipe

Strawberry Gelato Recipe

Fresh Seasonal Strawberries Make For Great Gelato By now you know I am the proud owner of a Cuisinart Commercial Quality Ice Cream & Gelato Maker given to me by my neighbors Bob and Barbara for my recent birthday and I’ve been experimenting with it to learn how to make great homemade ice cream and […]

June 29, 2014 0 Comments
Difference Between Ice Cream and Gelato

Difference Between Ice Cream and Gelato

What’s the Difference Between Ice Cream & Gelato I celebrated a big birthday at the beginning of the month and my wife invited some friends over including my neighbor who gave me a Cuisinart Commercial Quality Ice Cream & Gelato Maker (ICE-100) as a birthday present.  This past weekend, my youngest daughter and I put […]

June 20, 2014 5 Comments

Reluctant Gourmet’s Top Tip Lists

Check Out My RG Cooking Cartoons