You are here:

The Five Mother Sauces
Date January 16, 2010
Author creative


The Five Mother Sauces



The Five Mother Sauces

“Live them, love them, learn them….”

That’s what my Soups, Stocks, and Sauces Chef said in Culinary School as we filed into his classroom for the first time.  He went on to explain that there are five mother sauces, and their importance was immeasurable.  “Learn these five sauces and you will be able to create anything,” Chef went on to say.  So, for the next 60 days we immersed ourselves in these important sauces, cooking them again and again until they were perfected.

He was right, these sauces are important.  If you have a good knowledge, and understanding of how to prepare these five sauces, you can make just about anything.

The five Mother Sauce are:

Here are the five sauces, and some basic recipes.

Sauce Espagnole:

  • 1 gallon brown stock, hot
  • 1 1/2 cups brown roux
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1 bouquet garni

In a stock pot, whisk the hot stock into the roux. In a large sauté pan, heat the bacon fat. Add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir the tomato puree into the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato/vegetable mixture to the stock/roux mixture. Add the bouquet garni and continue to simmer, skimming as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Simmer the sauce for about 45 minutes. Strain the sauce through a China cap or tightly meshed strainer.

Yield: 1 gallon



  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.



  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp clarified butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour


  1. Heat the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the clarified butter over a medium heat until it becomes frothy. Don’t let it turn brown, though — that’ll affect the flavor.
  3. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the melted butter a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated into the butter, giving you a pale-yellow-colored paste. This paste is called a roux. Heat the roux for another minute or so to cook off the taste of raw flour.
  4. Using a wire whisk, slowly add the hot chicken stock to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps.
  5. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about one-third, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pan.
  6. The resulting sauce should be smooth and velvety. If it’s too thick, whisk in a bit more hot stock until it’s just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  7. Remove the sauce from the heat. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth.
  8. Keep the velouté covered until you’re ready to use it.

Makes about 1 quart of chicken velouté sauce.

Hollaindaise Sauce:


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch salt


Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

Tomato Sauce:


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
  • Salt
  • Spaghetti , cooked al dente
  • Whole basil leaves, for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan, (optional)


In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot, and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

When ready to use, the cooked pasta should be added to a saucepan with the appropriate

amount of sauce. Garnish with basil leaves and cheese, if using.


Live them, love them, learn them….!  Make these sauces, and have fun in the process.

Don’t get upset if something doesn’t turn out right the first time.

Try again, and have fun with your family and friends making these sauces, inventing your own dishes, while enjoying a nice glass of wine.

Chef Chuck Kerber

See More From This Category Tagged , , , , , , ,

23 Responses to The Five Mother Sauces

  1. A Friend says:

    Chef Chuck, I’m very impressed with your attention to detail, specific recipe amounts, and helpful hints on all food preparation. With this kind of knowledge and experience, have you ever considered publishing a cookbook?

  2. WP Themes says:

    Nice brief and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you for your information.

  3. Tina Caldwell says:

    This was very interesting and imformative. I had never heard of a Veloute sauce before. I am committing these five sauces to memory.
    I would soooooooo buy a cookbook!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Michelle says:

    This was very interesting and imformative. I had never heard of a Veloute sauce before. I am committing these five sauces to memory.
    I would soooooooo buy a cookbook!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Ian says:

    This was very interesting and imformative. I had never heard of a Veloute sauce before. I am committing these five sauces to memory.
    I would soooooooo buy a cookbook!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Patrick says:

    This was very interesting and imformative. I had never heard of a Veloute sauce before. I am committing these five sauces to memory.
    I would soooooooo buy a cookbook!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Chef Rocha says:

    It’s always a good thing to bring it back to basics, from which we embellish with our creativity!


  8. The Mom Chef says:

    Bravo, Chef. This was wonderful. I was going through my checklist and am glad that I have passed the 5 sauce test!

  9. Great post. Very informative and easy to follow.

  10. Sweetums says:

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful sauces. I can’t wait to start experimenting with them!

  11. By brown stock do you mean veal stock? Or will beef broth work?

  12. Steve says:

    It’s a bit of a revelation that from these five sauces you can make just about anything.
    When I learned this the world of cooking opened up for me.

  13. Katherine says:

    Thanks! This will definitely help a lot 🙂

  14. What a great post! Sauces can totally make or break a dish and knowing the basics is where to start. I know I avoid sauces because they seem so hard but I like that you’ve kept it simple here. Thanks!

  15. Stacey Rider says:

    This is a fantastic post Chef Chuck… something everyone needs to work on and be comfortable with. Thanks for sharing… I’ve saved this to my recipe box on foodbuzz!

  16. This is a great post. I tend to always make a simple bechamel or tomato sauce for dishes, it’s always good to have more options!

  17. This is a great and very informative post! I look forward to having these five sauces under my belt. I’m about half way there at the moment!

  18. Thank you for sharing such an informative and useful post.

  19. Excellent line up…all the best basics:)

  20. sadaf says:

    great post keep it up

  21. sadaf says:

    great great great thank alot for this post i love all your posts very much.

  22. sadaf says:

    you know every time i read this post want to leave comment 🙂 thats why

  23. nice but i need all 5 mother sauces different kind of recipes , good for one month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *