Classic Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom sauce
David Gunn / Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
237 Calories
4g Fat
45g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 237
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 44mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Protein 8g
Calcium 24mg 2%
*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.)

This classic mushroom sauce can be served with all kinds of roasted or grilled meat dishes but is most commonly spooned over a juicy, sizzling steak. It is made with sauteed mushrooms, shallots, and just a splash of sherry, and simmered in a basic demi-glace.

And what's a demi-glace? Demi-glace comes from French cuisine and is a rich brown sauce that is either a base for other sauces or used on its own. The traditional method for making a demi-glace is combining equal parts veal stock with Espagnole sauce—one of the "mother sauces" in classical French cooking—but today there are ways to cut down on the eight hours of cooking time by using store-bought beef stock.

Note, however, that demi-glace gets its characteristic dark color from the reduction and concentration of brown stock which itself is colored mainly through the browning of the bones that are later simmered for a long time to extract the collagen and other proteins from the bones.

The browning, which occurs as a result of the Maillard reaction, is what gives the stock its color, and that color is in turn concentrated and deepened through the steps involved in making the demi-glace. However, if the bones themselves are not roasted, or if the original sauce that is used to make the demi-glace was made using store-bought broth or stock that may not have been made with roasted bones (or any bones at all, for that matter), the abbreviated method may result in a demi-glace that lacks the deep color you probably want.

The solution: These days there are quite a few demi-glace bases which are made by producing a classic demi-glace in the traditional way, then simmering it until it forms a thick concentrated paste. Adding water to this paste will produce a demi-glace which in many cases is as good or better than what you'd likely make at home, and with much less labor. Using one of these products is certainly a legitimate way to prepare this mushroom sauce recipe.


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 2 cups demi-glace
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • Lemon juice to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until it is frothy. Add the mushrooms and shallots and sauté until the mushrooms are soft and the shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add the demi-glace, bring to a boil, then lower heat to reduce the sauce, cooking at a simmer for about 10 minutes.

  3. Stir in the sherry, season to taste with lemon juice, and serve right away.

Additional French Sauce Recipes

If you would like a mushroom sauce to use over chicken or other poultry as well as seafood, a creamy sauce with mushrooms, butter, lemon juice, and Supreme sauce (another French recipe) is a delicious choice. But if meat is the main course, there are plenty of other classic sauces to enhance the dish (especially those using a demi-glace), such as marchand de vin, a red wine reduction sauce, and Madeira sauce, combining Madeira wine with demi-glace. If you are looking for that signature buttery taste and texture, a Béarnaise should do the trick—a rich, creamy sauce bright with the flavors of tarragon and chervil, as well as a little lemon juice. Perhaps pork is the featured entree—then look toward a sauce Robert or Charcutière sauce, both made with a demi-glace.