We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Reduction Sauce?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A reduction sauce is a sauce made for food which uses the drippings and juices left over after cooking meat. Since these drippings are often quite flavorful, the resulting sauce is also dense in flavor, and it tends to complement the food very well, since it uses the juices exuded by the food while it cooks. An assortment of ingredients are added to these drippings to create a reduction sauce, ranging from cream to balsamic vinegar, depending on the desired effect.

To make a reduction sauce, cooks start by preparing the meat normally. When the meat is finished, it is taken out of the pan and allowed to rest while the sauce is made. Typically, excess fat is skimmed off so that the sauce will not be greasy, and then the volume of the drippings in the pan is doubled with the addition of ingredients such as stock, cream, wine, balsamic vinegar, or juices. In some cases, ingredients like vegetables may be briefly cooked in the drippings before the liquid is added.

Next, the sauce is allowed to simmer so that it reduces in volume. This reduction makes the sauce dense and thick, so that it can be used like a gravy. It also concentrates the flavors. As a result, reduction sauces are often very strongly flavored, and most cooks use only a little bit, so that the flavor does not becomes overwhelming. The sauce can be poured over meat like a gravy, or it can be artfully drizzled so that the plate looks distinctive, depending on the cook's inclinations.

Once the sauce is finished, it may be sieved to force out chunks of ingredients before being added to the food, or it may be left chunky. It may also be paired with other sauces or flavorings, as might be the case with a wine reduction sauce served alongside a horseradish dipping sauce. Consumers can layer the flavors as desired.

Some cooks call sauces of this type “pan gravy,” since it is often made in the pan that was used to cook the food, or the drippings from a roasting pan are poured into a large saucepan. Some common vegetable additions to reduction sauce include things like capers for a lemon caper sauce, shallots or garlic, and mushrooms. In many cases wine or brandy are used in the sauce, but cooks who prefer not to work with alcohol can use things like juice, cream, soy sauce, vinegar, or stock. More distinctive additions like chocolate and wasabi can also be used for a more exotic flavor.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By highlighter — On Aug 01, 2010

A reduction sauce marinade is a good way to flavor meats and fish. The flavor of a reduction sauce is intense and sauces with an acidic base will easily penetrate the meat.

A reduction of soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and sake is a traditional Japanese sauce that is great on salmon and chicken. To make this simple teriyaki sauce, mix equal parts soy sauce, mirin, sake, and fine sugar over medium heat. As the water evaporates, the sauce will thicken and the flavors will intensify.

By chicada — On Aug 01, 2010

@ Anon71700- You are absolutely right that reduction sauces do not need to be made with meat or drippings. A reduction can be as simple as reduced balsamic, which produces an intense and sweet vinegar. You can reduce almost any liquid to make a sauce, glaze, or dip.

You can make a delicious orange chipotle glaze by reducing a mix of honey, tomato juice, adobe chipotle peppers, orange marmalade, garlic, and oil. This glaze would be an example of a reduction made without meat or pan drippings.

By anon71700 — On Mar 19, 2010

This article is not completely accurate since reduction sauces can be created without any meat or drippings.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.