Classic Espagnole Sauce
Classic Espagnole Sauce

Espagnole sauce is a classic French mother sauce made with beef or veal stock, a dark brown roux, and mirepoix. Use this sauce with braised and roasted meats, even sautéed mushrooms.

Despite its name, Espagnole sauce is definitely a French sauce and is considered one of the five classic French “mother” sauces (Béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise and tomato sauce).

It’s a meaty, rich brown sauce made with beef or veal stock, a brown roux and enriched with tomato puree and mirepoix (finely diced carrots, celery and onions). The sauce’s origins have been disputed with various colorful histories linking it to Spain, but when chef Auguste Escoffier adopted it, it was clearly accepted as French.

Serve with braised beef, lamb or pork, or over steak and sautéed mushrooms.

What is the best broth for making espagnole sauce?

Espagnole sauce is only as good as the broth you use to make it. Therefore, use homemade broth whenever possible. That’s a big request. Preparing a brown stock before you even start the sauce is a project in itself, but if you make your own beef stock, you can make enough to freeze for other uses.

Unfortunately, most beef broths you buy in a can or box don’t have much flavor. To add flavor to store-bought broth, simmer 1 quart of broth with about 2 tablespoons mirepoix (finely chopped onion, carrot, and celery), a pinch of dried thyme, a bay leaf, and 1/2 cup red pepper for 20 to 30 minutes. or white wine and a teaspoon of tomato paste.

Strain and taste, but don’t add more salt until you add it to the Espagnole sauce and it has reduced.

Ways to troubleshoot Espagnole sauce

Espagnole is a fairly simple sauce. Here are a few things to keep in mind while preparing this recipe.

  • Be careful when making the brown roux. A brown roux is simply a roux that has been given enough time to cook until the butter and flour turn a deep golden brown. In a typical white roux, the butter and flour remain pale and light golden. If the roux is browning too quickly, remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly so it doesn’t burn, then return it to the heat.
  • Stir the sauce often as you cook it to avoid burning the bottom of the saucepan. It’s the kind of sauce you could make while pottering around in the kitchen.

What Else Can You Make With Espagnole Sauce?

This mother sauce has many “daughters” or derivative sauces and can be modified at will.

  • Demi Glace is the most common derivative of Espagnole sauce. Simmer equal parts espagnole sauce and brown beef stock until reduced by half. It becomes a glaze to drizzle over steaks or other meats. While not technically a mother sauce, demi-glace has spawned many of its own derivative sauces.
  • Africaine sauce combines Espagnole sauce with onions, tomatoes, peppers and Creole spices for a savory sauce that’s spoonable over chops, steak and chicken.
  • For chicken or meat, Chasseur (Hunter) Sauce made of mushrooms, shallots, white wine and tomatoes is a sure winner for a fall dinner.
  • For Sauce RobertAdd mustard.
  • For Sauce spicyAdd pickles and capers.

These are just a few options, and you can’t go wrong trying any of these sauces.

How to Store and Freeze Espagnole Sauce

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Heat on stovetop over low heat, stirring constantly.

They can freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Heat from frozen over low heat, stirring constantly.

More mother sauce recipes for you!

  • Classic sauce tomato sauce
  • Classic demi-glace sauce
  • Classic velouté sauce
  • Classic Beurre Blanc sauce

Classic Espagnole sauce

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
60 minutes

total time
70 minutes

2 cups


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced

  • 1 stick of celery, finely diced

  • 1 carrot, finely diced

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups unsalted or low-salt brown beef stock, preferably homemade

  • 1/4 cup canned tomato puree

  • pinch of salt

  • 8 whole peppercorns

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 4 sprigs of parsley, optional

special equipment

  • cheesecloth


  1. Cook Vegetables:

    In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the diced onions, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

  2. Make the brown roux:

    Add the flour to the pan with the vegetables and incorporate completely with the whisk. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until flour turns a deep golden brown, 6 to 10 minutes.

  3. Add beef broth, tomato puree and herbs:

    Gradually pour in the broth and stir at the same time until the sauce is free of lumps. Stir in the tomato puree, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, and parsley sprigs.

  4. Reduce sauce:

    Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat. Adjust the heat to a steady simmer (small bubbles occasionally rise to the top of the sauce). Cook until reduced by about 1/3 in volume, stirring frequently to avoid burning the bottom of the pot, 35 to 45 minutes. When the sauce is ready, it should be just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It’s not a thick sauce, it’s about the consistency of cream or thin sauce.

  5. Strain sauce:

    Line a large strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Strain the sauce into the bowl, discarding the solids.

  6. Store sauce:

    Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Heat on stovetop over low heat, stirring constantly.

    Did you like this recipe? Give us some stars below!

Previous articleClassic Sauce Tomat (French Tomato Sauce)
Next articleRainbow Layer Cake
Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!