Classic Demi Glace Recipe

September 21, 2015 23 Comments

Classic Demi Glace Recipe

What is Demi Glace?

I am a huge fan of demi-glace for preparing classic sauces like mushroom or peppercorn sauce but I have to warn you, it is a huge process to make classic demi glace at home.  It is not for the faint of heart but well worth the effort – at least once.

Demi-glace is a richly concentrated brown stock that is carefully reduced until it forms a deep meaty flavored glaze. You start by roasting a lot of meat bones (veal & beef) to make a basic brown stock that takes hours and hours to simmer and reduce. And you have to make a lot of it because you need a bunch of it to prepare a classic Espagnole sauce but then some more to make the demi glace. Confusing right?

A classic demi glace is a combination of Espagnole sauce with brown stock that is slowly reduced by half.  You must take your time reducing the demi glace to prevent burning which would ruin the sauce and you would have to start over.

Making demi glace at home, in culinary school or a high end restaurant is arduous and extremely time consuming but when done right, the backbone of most of the world’s greatest sauces.

It is one of the first lessons taught at some culinary schools because it teaches students about ingredients, reductions, detail and patience.  As a culinary student or home cook, you’re likely to spend many hours preparing this important ingredient.

 How to Make Demi Glace at Home

Over time, there have been many variations for preparing demi-glace until Auguste Escoffier standardized it in his Le Guide Culinaire, but I think this recipe adapted from The Food Network is a good one for anyone preparing it at home.  Most restaurant chefs make a big batch of demi glace because they use it in a lot of recipes and it takes a lot of work.

There is no real shortcut for classic demi glace, you have to roast a lot of bones, simmer the liquids for hours, reduce, reduce and reduce some more.  I’m sure you are looking at this recipe that calls for starting with 1 gallon of brown stock and 1 gallon of Espagnole sauce to finish with a gallon of demi glace and thinking, No Way and I don’t blame you.

This means you have to start with 2 gallons of brown stock, 1 for the Espagnole sauce and 1 for the demi glace.

You could try cutting the ingredients in half or even quarter them. This will reduce the overall amount of time it will take to prepare classic demi glace plus you won’t be filling your freezer with small containers of the stuff but it still takes a lot of work to do it right.


Classic Demi Glace Recipe

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 7 hours

Total Time: 7 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 1 gallion

Classic Demi Glace Recipe


For the Brown Stock

8 pounds veal marrow bones sawed into 2-inch pieces

6 pounds beef marrow bones sawed into 2-inch pieces

16 ounces tomato paste

4 cups chopped onions

2 cups chopped carrot

2 cups chopped celery

4 cups dry red wine

1 bouquet garni

Salt and pepper

16 quarts of water

For the Espagnole Sauce

1 gallon brown stock, hot

1 1/2 cups brown roux

1/4 cup bacon fat

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery


Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup tomato puree

1 bouquet garni

For the Demi Glace

1 gallon Espagnole sauce, hot

1 gallon brown stock, hot

1 bouquet garni

How To Prepare At Home

Steak with Demi Glace Sauce

To Make the Brown Stock

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the bones in a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour. Remove the bones from the oven and brush with the tomato paste.

In a mixing bowl, combine the onions, carrots, and celery together. Lay the vegetables over the bones and return to the oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and drain off any fat.

Place the roasting pan on the stove and deglaze the pan with the red wine, using a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pan for browned particles. Put everything into a large stockpot. Add the bouquet garni and season with salt.

Add the water. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the stock for 4 hours, skimming regularly. Remove from the heat and strain through a China cap or tightly meshed strainer.

Yield: about 2 gallons

To Make the Espagnole Sauce

In a stock pot, whisk the hot stock into the roux. In a large sauté pan, heat the bacon fat. Add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir the tomato puree into the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato/vegetable mixture to the stock/roux mixture. Add the bouquet garni and continue to simmer, skimming as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Simmer the sauce for about 45 minutes. Strain the sauce through a China cap or tightly meshed strainer.

Yield: 1 gallon

To Make the Demi Glace

In a stock pot, combine the Espagnole sauce, brown stock and bouquet garni, together, over medium-high heat.

Bring up to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and a simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 1 1/2 hours. Skim the liquid occasionally, for impurities. Season with salt and pepper.

Strain through a China Cap or tightly meshed strainer.


What If You Don’t Want To Prepare It From Scratch?

Lucky for us, we don’t have to make our own demi glace at home even if you don’t have a friend who is a professional chef and willing to part with some of this brown gold. You can find commercial products that are good, not as good as making it yourself, but really good.

Below is a selection of highly regarded commercial demi glace products that you can find and purchase at Amazon. They all differ in what they are with, how they are made, how they must be stored and how much they cost.

I suggest you check them all out and depending on you budget and dietary needs, you pick one, two or three and test them out to see which one works best for you.




Last modified on Wed 22 August 2018 8:17 am

Filed in: Sauce Recipes

Comments (23)

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  1. Chuck says:

    This is a “rehash” of Emeril’s recipe. However, if you follow Emeril’s recipe, you don’t get enough brown sauce to construct the finished product. The yield in this recipe is just right and also what is necessary to end up with the desired amount of finished product. Also, veal bones are very hard to acquire outside of the commercial market. Lastly, you don’t have to use all the tomato paste.

    I like the recipe and unlike Sokolov’s process, it does not take two days to complete.

    • Michael Walker says:

      This recipe is in the French tradition and developed several hundred years ago, not Emeril. The recipe is fairly basic. The reason for the veal bones and the beef bones ‘is to give’ you give you two different types of marrow. I like to cook mine with the knuckles. You can see both recipes work off the beef stock ‘with one’ reduced down with a few more spices for the Espanol and then again demi glace. Espanol is used as a base for Soups and demi glace used for sauces. That’s how I use it but the notion that this recipe is a rehash Emeril Lagasse recipe, you should probably read the origins of the sauce. In fact, the rest of the four mother sauces also ‘use’ these recipes ‘and’ have been being married for so long. People have been making the sauces for so long they tend to forget why the original sauce was made to exacting standards right down to weight.

    • Nicholas Barker says:

      What is the shelf life of this?

  2. Kim says:

    It says it yields one gallon, not two.

  3. Robert P Donlin says:

    Making demi-glace is a long process but it’s worth it. I save my bones in my freezer as I get them. As long as they are beef bones I’m happy. The reducing part is the longest part. I’ll add some madiera wine to my stock as I go. You don’t end up with much when you are done but you don’t need a lot a make a sauce. I freeze it in small containers until I need it.

  4. oliver says:

    I am having trouble finding cheap organic stock bones. This recipe calls for 14lbs bones (6ish kg), prices vary from £2 per kg to over £5,JUST FOR BONES! I am looking for £1 per kg but cannot find such a price.

    • Richard says:

      You can scale this recipe to a smaller quantity. A gallon of Demi a a restaurant quantity. A liter, about 1/4 whats shown in this method would work well for a home kitchen. Some folks argue that making less than a gallon results in a poorer flavor. There’s no physical or rational justification for that claim and in my experience it’s just not true.

  5. Benoit says:

    I like to use veal tail. Pretty incredible how much collagen is in one tail. Cut the final product with a knife!

  6. Shaun says:

    I am trying this recipe again and I am not getting a dark brown colour in my Demi more beige or light brown What are the keys to getting a dark brown Demi glacé?

    • Brody says:

      I recommend a black jack -sugar and water brought past 360 degrees carefully as water once sugar is dark and use that to colour your demi

      • Foster Algier says:

        Kitchen Bouquet or even Gravy magic , Maggie.. all will add a darkening to the sauce without changing the flavor much . The way you are supposed to get the darkened color is from roasting the bones and mirepoix in the oven

    • Kevin says:

      Your roux is not dark enough. You’ve got to cook the roux to a dark brown but not burnt stage. The bones must be roasted well also. If not lacking in these two things will shift the entire end product as stated to a light brown weak demi.

      • Lorrie says:

        Yes, Kevin, this is correct. Without roasting the bones properly and cooking the roux until it is dark but not burned the proper color and flavor will not be achieved. If these two steps are not performed properly the color and flavor will be weak and the ingredients and time will be practically wasted.

    • Charles Gruss says:

      One trick for natural color and flavor is to coat your onions and bones with tomato paste, the technical name in French cooking for this is “pince”. This one aspect of the procedures I do differently than the suggested manner. I coat all the bones and onions right from the start with tomato paste, the onions, I quarter instead of dicing or chopping. I do this regardless when making beef stock which is the start of this process to eventually yield demi. You get natural flavor and natural coloring with adding non-traditional ingredients.

    • Duncan says:

      Personally I brown the bones and the veges in high heat in the oven 180°10-15 min then 220° 5-8 min this is for the bones mostly.for the veges 180°10 min is enough.then when you put the both bone n veges in stock pot,add tomatoes paste and cook until the paste produces red colour oil(sautee the bone,veges and paste)add flour and continue to cook dill the flour starts to stick to stock pot,then add water n let boil and reduce heat simmer

  7. RT Elkin says:

    Twelve hours cooking time provides a superior product.

  8. Paul Deeb says:

    Absolutely disgusting. Veal should be illegal.

    • Ken Mason says:

      Good thing you didn’t see what my neighbor was doing to the poor grass in his yard this morning! He was mowing it! That was disgusting! There should be a law against that!

  9. cookist says:

    If this is being used for demi-glace the salting should only take place during the reduction phase, because any tasting that detects salt prior to reduction means the final product will come out twice as salty.

  10. MATT says:

    no the reason for the dark color is the Roux

  11. Rob says:

    If you live anywhere in the states there is probably a Hispanic part of town in your city. In that part of the city you will find a Hispanic bodega with a meat counter. I have found that they will give you the bones for free as they see no value in the bones since their clients don’t buy bones. To them the bones are trash.

    They typically also have great cuts of meat. I always buy my other ingredients from them since they give me the bones for free.

  12. David says:

    It takes me 36 hours to make mine.

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