Pan Sauce Recipe

Reducing sause-steam
Eric Futran - Chefshots Getty
Ratings (15)
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1/2 cup (2 servings)

This simple pan sauce is perfect for chicken, pork chops and even steak. The key to making this sauce is that you use the juices and the little roasty bits at the bottom of the pan after you've cooked your chicken, steak, chops or whatever. In fact, you can even make a pan sauce after cooking vegetables.

The juices and fond (the roasted bits) carry with them the essences of your meat and will make an excellent base for a sauce you can serve with them. A pan sauce is an emulsion, with fat and water elements suspended together.  Your pan sauce will add a silky reduction to top the entree. This pan sauce uses Dijon mustard for a nice tangy element.


  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Reserved meat juices from cooking
  • 1 tablespoons shallots (finely chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons parsley (chopped fresh)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Remove the chicken, pork chops or steak from the pan and let them rest, covered with foil, on a plate in a warm spot. Pour off most of the fat from the pan, but make sure you leave the meat juices. You want a little bit of fat left in the pan to sauté the shallots.

  2. Add the chopped shallots to the pan and sauté over medium-high heat until they turn slightly translucent.

  3. Now add the wine and scrape all the little toasty bits (called fond) away from the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon. Cook for about three minutes or until the wine has reduced by about half.

  4. Remove from heat and stir in the mustard and chopped parsley. Finally, whisk in the butter one tablespoon at a time. Season to taste with Kosher salt and spoon the finished pan sauce onto the plate around the meat or chicken.

Variations for the Pan Sauce

Although I'm perfectly happy to serve this pan sauce with beef just the way it is, you could modify it for beef by substituting red wine for white wine. Or you could use half wine and half beef stock.

Another trick is to finish the sauce with a little heavy cream and simmer it for another minute to thicken. Moreover, you could substitute fresh tarragon, chervil, oregano or chives for the parsley.

If you don't have any fat left in the pan after cooking your meat, or for making a pan sauce with vegetables, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and then add the shallots. If you prefer the sauce to be thicker, use stock or add a little cornstarch mixed with water.