Basic Cream Sauces with Variations

Once you master Basic Cream Sauces you'll be surprised how quickly a sauce becomes the topic of conversation over dinner. Hopefully if you've never used sauce, other than gravy or custard, you'll start to think about widening your repertoir with these savory and sweet variations. By adding a sauce to a favorite dish, you change the meal into something new and special. Submitted by David McCarthy, Australia

Basic Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of thickened cream
  • 1 1/2 ounces (25 grams) of chilled butter (cubed)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • If you want it sweet, add:
    • 1/4 cup of sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • If you want it savory, add:
    • salt and pepper to taste


Combine the cream, egg yolk, salt and pepper (or sugar and vanilla extract if you are making sweet cream sauce) in a saucepan

Stir over medium heat gradually adding butter one cube at a time and whisking until it melts, then adding the next cube.

Continue whisking over medium heat until all ingredients are incorporated and the sauce thickens and heats through.

Serve as required.

Savory Variations

Blue CheeseAdd a 1/4 cup of your favorite blue cheese crumbled and add 2 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice. Add the cheese when you combine the ingredients in step 1 above. Add the juice after you finish making the sauce and just before serving.

Three Cheeses1 Tbsp each of crumbed blue cheese, grated pecorino cheese, grated fresh parmesan cheese. Add all three cheeses at step 1 of the method above.

Green PeppercornsIn a saucepan with 1 Tbsp of butter, add 2 Tbsp of green peppercorns. Saute until the smell of peppercorns rises. Drain the butter and add the peppercorns to the basic sauce mixture.

MustardAdd 2 Tbsp of Dijon Mustard at step 1, and 2 Tbsp of fresh lemon just before serving.

MushroomAdd 1/2 cup of finely sliced mushrooms to a saucepan with 1 Tbsp of butter. Heat until the mushrooms start to emit their own juices, then add to the basic sauce mixture.

Sweet Variations

ChocolateAdd 2 Tbsp of your favorite chocolate, grated. This should be added at step 1 in the basic method.

LiqueurAdd 2 Tbsp of your favorite liqueur at step 1 of the basic cream sauces recipe.

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