Simple Nantua Sauce

Grilled basque shrimp skewers with Nantua Sauce
Lisa Romerein/Photodisc/Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 4 cups

A classic French sauce, Nantua is a creamy seafood sauce. It is traditionally made with crayfish, but this version features shrimp. The recipe is simplified by incorporating shrimp butter, or potted shrimp, along with cream into a basic ​​​Béchamel sauce, a white sauce made of butter, flour, and milk. If you don't have these ingredients already prepared, the process of making the sauce will be much more involved and take a longer amount of time.

If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of French sauces and cooking skills, this is a wonderful recipe to add to your repertoire. Or, if you are looking for something to dress up fish or seafood at your next holiday meal or special occasion, this sauce Nantua will fit the bill and is sure to impress.

Nantua sauce is delicious with fish and seafood, especially shellfish. Because of the shrimp, it takes on a beautiful reddish-pink hue, similar to lobster bisque. The sauce is named after the region of Nantua, which is in the Eastern part of France close to the Switzerland border. This area is known for its freshwater crayfish, which typically are the base of this sauce recipe.


  • 1 quart Béchamel sauce

  • 6 ounces shrimp butter, or potted shrimp

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the Béchamel to a simmer.​

  3. Stir in the shrimp butter and cream and cook for another minute.

  4. Serve right away with shellfish or fish and enjoy.


If you don't want to make the potted shrimp, you can make a more simple shrimp butter using onion, garlic, butter, and shrimp. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet and saute 1 chopped onion until soft and caramelized; add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook briefly until fragrant. Toss in 1 pound of shrimp—with their shells—and cook until pink. Place it all in a food processor and puree until smooth. While the processor is running, add 2 sticks of softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, blending until fully incorporated. Force the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer (for a very fine texture do this twice) and season with salt and pepper.

What Can I Serve Sauce Nantua With?

This creamy seafood sauce will make a simple platter of shrimp as well as a fillet of delicate white fish far from ordinary. But if you are looking to stretch your culinary muscles, sauce Nantua is often served with a fish mousseline or fish quenelles.

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