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how to reduce a sauce

Easy Ways to Reduce Cooking Sauces


Welcome to the More Than Gourmet kitchen. We hope you have your apron at the ready. If you enjoy cooking, you know that sauces and stocks are the unsung heroes of many mouthwatering meals.

But creating these flavorful bases and toppings is a labor of love. A slow and steady simmer can bring about an amazing sauce. Yes, we’re talking about a good old-fashioned reduction. Today, we’ll be walking you through how to reduce a sauce so you master this skill and wow your dinner guests.

See what’s cooking below.

How Long Does it Take to Reduce a Sauce?

As a budding chef (or someone who has taken a peek through our culinary glossary), you know that reducing a sauce involves boiling a liquid until its consistency thickens and the flavor is enhanced. Stirring a delectable sauce until it reaches the pinnacle of palatable perfection may be satisfying. But how long does this process take?

Depending on the amount of liquid you are reducing, the process typically takes 15 to 30 mins. Keep in mind that reducing the liquid is often just one step of many necessary to make a sauce.

For example, making a rich and flavorful Demi-Glace starts with whipping up a classic Espagnole sauce to serve as the base. Doing this from scratch typically takes hours as the sauce has to simmer for around 50 mins before the Espagnole is ready for the next steps.

To enjoy full-bodied sauces without sacrificing your most valuable ingredient (time), you can always opt to purchase restaurant-quality stocks and sauces. More Than Gourmet offers a classic French Demi-Glace reduced four times in the classic French tradition. This and many other sauces are available in our pantry for your convenience.

Your Guide to Reducing Sauces for Delicious Results

If you’re eager to learn how to reduce sauce, this section will satisfy your craving. Below we’ll cover four methods of reducing sauces.

1. Elevate Overall Flavor

The goal of reducing a sauce is to concentrate it for a thicker consistency and full-bodied flavor. You can help with this process by preparing the sauce in the same pan you cook the main dish. To do so:

  1. Add a flavorful liquid (stock or wine) to pan juices from roasted or sautéed meat, poultry, or fish (after the main item has been removed from the pan).
  2. Reduce the liquid by about half.
  3. Enrich the sauce with fat (butter, cream, or olive oil) and finish it with seasonings.

If you’ve ever heard the term “pan sauce,” the steps above detail how to create it. By cooking the sauce in the same pan that previously held the protein, you capture a great deal of residual flavor.

2. Gradually Thicken

When learning how to reduce a sauce, remember that slow and steady is preferable. The liquid will thicken over time but attempting to speed up the process by elevating heat levels can lead to a culinary catastrophe.

Rapidly boiling the sauce increases the chance of over reduction. In other words, you’ll be left with a scanty amount of sauce, and all your hard work will have evaporated. Another risk of high heat is an altered flavor. You can avoid a bitter sauce and speed up cook time by:

  • Using a wide pan to speed up the reduction process. This is a simple swap that increases the surface area for faster thickening. You can also split the sauce into two separate pans that are cooking on the same heat settings.
  • Closely monitoring the sauce. Whether it’s your first or fiftieth time making a reduction, it’s important to keep a close eye on the contents of the pan to ensure things are coming along smoothly. If you’re reducing a small amount of sauce, this step is even more important since you don’t want to lose any to overcooking.

A delicious sauce takes time, but it’s well worth the wait. Follow these tips, and you won’t be disappointed.

3. Reduce and Repeat

A layered reduction packs a much more rich and complex flavor than a one-time reduction. Many chefs opt to reduce ingredients separately before adding the next one into the mix. For instance, a chef may add wine to the pan and reduce it before adding the stock and repeating the reduction. A third ingredient may be a cream that is then added to the pan and reduced.

In other cases, a chef may reduce one ingredient multiple times to deepen the flavor each time. The result is a sauce that tastes even better than a one-time reduction does.

While this technique undoubtedly produces mouthwatering sauces, it requires a time commitment that not all home chefs can muster. Thankfully, More Than Gourmet’s chefs have done the heavy lifting for you. Our range of sauces includes those that have been reduced multiple times, including:

These sauces will save you time in the kitchen and add impeccable flavor to your dishes—it’s a win-win situation.

Achieve Restaurant Level Results with More Than Gourmet

Now that you know how to reduce a sauce, you’re ready to step into the kitchen with confidence. Remember that you’re not alone as you navigate the world of fine cooking. More Than Gourmet is here to help with ingredients that save you time while providing top-tier flavor. Shop our selection of top-rated stocks, sauces, and more today!

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