How to Make a Classic Demi-Glace

Classic demi-glace sauce

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
64 Calories
3g Fat
6g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 64
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 300mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 3mg 15%
Calcium 31mg 2%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 343mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A demi-glace is a rich, brown sauce based in French cuisine that is either used on its own or as a foundation for other sauces. It's not a gravy or stock, although the latter is used to make demi-glace. There are quite a few steps involved with making demi-glace, and it's best if you emulate the classical French chefs and follow the traditional method in order to achieve its deep flavor and shiny finish.

This means you'll need to plan to do a lot of simmering, reducing, and straining, which may not be difficult, but it is time-consuming. What's great about this process, however, is that you don't need to do all of the steps at once. You can make the stock a few days or a week in advance if you like, or even longer if you freeze it. And preparing the Espagnole sauce beforehand, one of the French mother sauces, will also make this preparation seem less daunting.

This recipe doesn't call for you to season the finished demi-glace. This way, you can use it to make another sauce, which you would season during that cooking process. But if you're serving the demi-glace as a finished sauce, go ahead and season it to taste with kosher salt at the very end.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 3 to 4 fresh parsley stems

  • 7 to 8 whole black peppercorns

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 cups brown sauce (Espagnole sauce)

  • 2 cups beef stock

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Wrap the thyme, parsley stems, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth.

  3. Tie it with cooking twine to make a small bundle. Leave about a foot of twine so that you can tie the other end to one of your pot handles for easy retrieval later.

  4. Combine the brown sauce and the beef stock in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat to a simmer.

  5. Add the cheesecloth bundle, tying the string to the pot handle, and reduce the liquid for about 45 minutes, or until the total volume has reduced by half.

  6. Remove pan from heat and retrieve the sachet.

  7. Carefully pour the demi-glace through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth. 

  8. Season and serve as is or use to make another sauce.​

Tip

You can make demi-glace with chicken stock instead of beef stock. As a matter of fact, the original demi-glace, which was called demi-Espagnole, was made using white stock (veal or chicken) in place of brown.

Variations

You may have seen shortcut products at the grocery store or online calling themselves demi-glace. If you're short on time but want a good result, why not try one of these methods instead. You'll have more control over the end result if you start with some home-grown shortcuts—with a few caveats.


  • If you are pressed for time or don’t have the patience, you can save about 8 hours by following a shortcut recipe for demi-glace, with the chief difference being that it uses store-bought beef broth rather than homemade beef stock. However, be aware the demi-glace will lack body—a good stock should jell when you chill it, but the store-bought stuff won’t do that because it lacks gelatin (which is derived from the collagen in the bones).
  • You can make an extremely decent beef stock at home with water and fresh beef bones from an Asian grocery store in an Instant Pot. (You can even buy demi-glace at some grocery stores and online, but shortcut methods we
  • Whether you make your own stock or use store-bought (or a combination), keep in mind that you’ll need a lot of it to complete this recipe from start to finish. You need 3 cups to make the Espagnole sauce and another 2 cups to make the demi-glace.

How to Use Demi-Glace

A good demi-glace will give you a tremendous amount of versatility in the kitchen, and boost the flavor of so many dishes. Additionally, it can be incorporated as a base ingredient for other sauces such as red wine or a mushroom sauce. Those sauces can then be used on steaks, roasts, and other meat-based dishes. You can also use small amounts of demi-glace in things like stir-fries, soups, and stews, to boost the flavors.

How to Store and Freeze Demi-Glace

You can store demi-glace in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to two weeks, or refrigerate it for up to 6 months. If you think you might want to use it in small increments along with 2-cup increments, vary the way you freeze it; ice cube trays work wonders in these situations.