Classic Sauce Robert

Sauce Robert
Lew Robertson / Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Sauce Robert is a finished brown mustard sauce made with onions, mustard, and white wine simmered in a basic demi-glace. The French sauce is an ideal accompaniment for grilled pork and other meat dishes, but you may also enjoy it on roasted vegetables.

This is a compound sauce, meaning that it uses a mother sauce as one of its ingredients. You can use your own homemade demi-glace or save yourself a lot of work and buy demi-glace already made at a specialty grocer. Demi-glace itself starts with espagnole sauce (brown sauce) as its mother sauce. The primary ingredient in espagnole sauce is beef stock, which can take a lot of time to make from start to finish. If you have the time, making your own stock, brown sauce, and demi-glace can be very rewarding.

The recipe for this classic savory sauce has been around for centuries, but it hasn't changed much over the years. Make your own to see why it has stood the test of time.


  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup onions (chopped)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 quart demi-glace
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and lemon juice, and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

  3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter and cook onions over medium heat until soft and translucent. Don't let them turn brown.

  4. Add wine. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat a bit and continue simmering until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds.

  5. Add demi-glace, then lower heat to a simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes.

  6. Strain through a mesh strainer.

  7. Add mustard and the sugar-lemon mixture, and mix well. Serve immediately.


For a twist on the traditional sauce, season your sauce Robert with:

  • cracked peppercorns
  • bay leaves (add after sautéing the onions and remove before serving)
  • fresh thyme leaves

Origins of Sauce Robert

The sauce has origins at least as far back as the early 14th century, making it one of the oldest classic sauces. Sauce Robert is mentioned in a manuscript by Guillaume Tirel (known as "Taillevent"). He was a master chef at the royal French court who wrote "Le Viandier," one of the earliest recipe collections of the Middle Ages. The sauce later was ascribed to a 16th-century cook named Robert Vinot, which may be where it picked up its name. This version is closest to that which appears in Auguste Escoffier's "The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery" and in recent editions of "Larousse Gastronomique."