How to Make an Amazing Pan Sauce

Are you looking for a way to upgrade your weeknight cooking? Making a pan sauce could be a solution, and an easy addition to your meals whenever you sear meat. Learning how to make a pan sauce will elevate the flavors in the recipes you already know and make them even better.

What Is a Pan Sauce?

A pan sauce is the combination of fond, aromatics, liquid, thickener, and fat. Fond is the browned bits left on the bottom of a stainless steel skillet after you sear meat. It’s a source of flavor and deglazed with a liquid like wine, broth, or juice. It’s important to use a stainless steel skillet because it forms a caramelized, deep-brown sear on meat, something you can’t get with a nonstick skillet.

How to Make a Pan Sauce

  1. Clear the pan. Once you’ve finished cooking your meat, transfer it to a separate plate but don’t clean the pan (remember, you want that fond).
  2. Add flavor. This step is optional and depends on your taste. Aromatic vegetables like onions, mushrooms, shallots, or garlic add extra flavor to your fond. If your pan doesn’t have about a tablespoon (15 mL) of fat leftover from browning your protein, you can add oil.
  3. Deglaze the pan. With the pan on medium-high heat, add about 1 cup (250 mL) of liquid like broth, wine, or lemon juice. If you want to add wine to the sauce, don’t add a full cup. You want the wine to complement the sauce, not overpower it. To get a flavorful sauce using a wine of your choice, add ¼ cup (60 mL) of wine and ¾ cup (175 mL) of broth. Then, scrape the bottom of the pan to dissolve the fond.
  4. Simmer the sauce. Turn down the heat on the pan and leave it uncovered for 3–5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half and you can see dry spots in the pan.
  5. Add butter. Stir in a little butter to make the sauce rich. Whisk gently until the butter has completely melted.
  6. Whisk in cornstarch (optional). If you want a thicker consistency, combine equal parts cornstarch and water (about 1 tsp (5 mL) of each) and whisk it into the sauce.
  7. Enjoy! When your pan sauce is done, drizzle it over your meal.

Want to learn how to make a pan sauce for chicken? Check out this video for Roasted Chicken & Asparagus With Pan Sauce to see how it’s done.

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7 Responses to How to Make an Amazing Pan Sauce

  1. Laura Z March 3, 2018 at 2:15 pm #

    Hi Kristen, I really enjoyed your presentation for my show!! You were absolutely impeccable and very professional when explaining about your products. All my guests enjoyed the interactive presentation.
    Thanks so much!

  2. Gloria Maurer March 31, 2018 at 1:30 pm #

    Your video was the very best. Easy to follow directions. Made this for dinner today and it was oh so ever good. Thank you very much! Looking forward to more recipes and videos. Have a super day!

  3. Julie Davenport August 1, 2018 at 1:10 pm #

    Is there a way to get a copy of this delicious recipe?

  4. Lin August 1, 2018 at 9:16 pm #

    Video started out better than I expected, but then really fell short. Why waste the pan sauce after making it! IF it’s so tasty, it should be served over rice, noodles, or potatoes. The demonstrator didn’t even pour any of the pan sauce over the finished dish nor did he address thickening it. If you’re not going to use the sauce, a marinade is all you would need. This video did not make the pan sauce the star!

  5. Lin August 1, 2018 at 9:29 pm #

    Be careful not to contradict yourself. The PC blog says “it’s important to use a stainless steel skillet” to sear the meat in preparation for making a pan sauce “because it forms a caramelized, deep-brown sear on meat, something you can’t get with a nonstick skillet”. Not only does the picture on the blog SHOW a nonstick skillet, the demonstrator in the video talks about and USES a nonstick skillet. Seems you need a better editor. I would not have expected this from PC.

  6. Alana J Baker August 1, 2018 at 9:41 pm #

    What is the difference between a find and a roux?

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