5 Mother Sauces To Elevate Your Cooking Game November 30, 2016

by Eat

A sauce is the crowning glory of any dish. From the basic 5 mother sauces, there are literally hundreds of variations of sauce that can be used to dress, compliment, enhance, and bring out the flavors of your food. Continue reading to learn more. 

5 mother sauces-HelloFresh

The base of all these sauces begins with some form of liquid plus a thickener. We’ve broken down what these starting points are and provided some tips, recipes, and serving suggestions to ensure your next meal is a knockout!



  • Liquid: Tomato/water
  • Thickener: Pureed tomato
  • Mother of: Marinara, barbecue sauce, and ketchup
  • Tip 1: When making marinara, grating in a hard cheese will add a savory note.
  • Tip 2: The secret ingredient in the most recognizable ketchup brand? Ground cloves!

5 mother sauces-tomato-ingredients-HelloFresh

Serving Suggestions: Serve over pasta or on top of pizza. For a culinary adventure to another culture, check out this delicious shakshuka recipe.


5 mother sauces-hollandaise-HelloFresh

  • Liquid: Butter
  • Thickener: Egg yolks
  • Mother of: Bernaise sauce and vin blanc
  • Tip #1: If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.
  • Tip #2: For a lighter sauce, fold in whisked egg whites instead.

5 mother sauces-hollandaise-ingredients-HelloFresh

Put 4 egg yolks, 250g cold unsalted butter, and 2 Tablespoons water in a pan over low heat, whisking constantly. Once the butter has melted and the sauce starts to thicken, turn up the heat to medium-low and continue to whisk vigorously. Stir in 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serving Suggestions: Serve with cooked vegetables (such as asparagus, artichokes, or new potatoes). Also tastes delicious served over eggs and fish.


5 mother sauces-bechamel-HelloFresh

  • Liquid: Milk
  • Thickener: White roux
  • Mother of: Cheese sauce, alfredo, and most white sauces
  • Tip #1: When making the roux, the flour:butter ratio is 1:1 (by weight not volume).
  • Tip #2: When making cheese sauce, be sure to add the grated cheese off the heat.

5 mother sauces-bechamel-ingredients-HelloFresh

Serving Suggestions: Serve over a gratin like this Creamy Parsnip and Carrot Gratin, or drizzle over scalloped potatoes and polenta cakes.


5 mother sauces-veloute-HelloFresh

  • Liquid: White stock (i.e. chicken or fish)
  • Thickener: White roux
  • Mother of: Classic gravy, garlic sauce, and mushroom sauce
  • Tip#1: For a richer result, add white wine or heavy whipping cream.
  • Tip #2: If the sauce is too salty, add a pinch of brown sugar or a ¼ tsp vinegar.

5 mother sauces-veloute-ingredients-HelloFresh

Serving Suggestions: Serve with white meats such as chicken or turkey. Also tastes delicious over potatoes or biscuits. Check out this delicious Pan-Roasted Chicken with Dijon Mustard Sauce.


5 mother sauces-espagnole-HelloFresh

  • Liquid: Brown stock (i.e. beef)
  • Thickener: Brown roux
  • Mother of: Red wine sauce, demi-glace, and steak sauces
  • Tip#1: For a more acidic sauce, add a little lemon or sherry wine vinegar.
  • Tip #2: When making red wine sauce, use a bottle of wine that you would enjoy drinking! 

5 mother sauces-espagnole-ingredients-HelloFresh

Serving Suggestions: Serve with red meats such as beef (like this steak with peppercorn sauce), bison, or lamb. Also tastes delicious served over grilled mushrooms.

Now that you have mastered these 5 mother sauces, check out other toppings to boost the flavor of your next meal.

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