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What is Velouté Sauce?

By A. B. Kelsey
Updated May 16, 2024
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Velouté sauce is one of the original “mother sauces” of classic French cuisine as defined by Antonin Careme in his 19th century text The Art of French Cooking in the 19th Century. The term “mother sauce” means that many French sauces are created from using derivatives of these basic ones.

Despite the fancy sounding name, velouté sauce is actually just a white sauce that is stock-based and thickened with a white roux. It is a form of the French adjective velour, which means “velvet.” As its name implies, a correctly made sauce will have a smooth and velvety texture.

The ingredients for this sauce are butter, flour, and a light stock, which means the bones used to make it have not been roasted. The type of stock used will depend on the dish being created. Although chefs usually make velouté with chicken, veal, or fish, some cooks also use beef, ham, or bouillon. This sauce is commonly referred to by the type of stock that was used in the recipe, such as a chicken or a fish velouté.

Velouté sauces aren’t generally used on their own, though. As a “mother sauce,” they are instead supposed to be adapted into other sauces as needed. Some of the daughter sauces include sauce allemande, sauce aurora, sauce Andalouse, sauce Hungarian, sauce Poulette, sauce Normandy, sauce Venetian, and sauce supreme.

Sauce Allemande is popular sauce in French cuisine. It is thickened with heavy cream, egg yolks, and seasoned with a few drops of lemon juice. The sauce aurora is simple to make, requiring just the addition of tomato puree. Sauce Andalouse is a spicier white sauce with red peppers and lots of garlic thrown in.

The sauce Hungarian just needs a bit of white wine, paprika, and vinegar added to the mother sauce. Sauce Poulette is a slightly tangy sauce that uses mushrooms, lemon juice and parsley. The Venetian sauce is created by adding tarragon, chervil, and shallots.

The Normandy and supreme sauces are a bit more difficult, however. A sauce Normandy is made by first creating a velouté flavored with fish stock. Then mushroom cooking liquid and oyster liquid are added. This sauce is finished with a liaison of cream and egg yolks. The supreme sauce begins with a chicken velouté and requires the addition of a reduction of mushroom liquid and cream.

Velouté sauces are appropriate for vegetable, fish, veal, or chicken dishes. If an individual can perfect making it, an entire array of French culinary opportunities will open up to him. This mother sauce enables cooks to produce many well-known dishes with easy adaptations.

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Discussion Comments
By anon246729 — On Feb 10, 2012

Veloute is actually made with a blond roux. The four and butter are cooked slightly longer than a white roux and it will have a light tan color and smell like popcorn.

You then mix in your light stock and add a sachet of one bay leaf, a little fresh thyme, a few parsley stems, a couple peppercorns, and a clove of garlic, and simmer until the sauce thickens. It is not a white sauce, it ends up being a light tan. A classic white sauce would be Bechamel, which is made with a white roux and milk.

By chrisinbama — On Aug 13, 2010

@carrotisland: No, that is not incorrect. Like many white cream sauce recipes, there are many different ways to make it. I have a recipe that calls for light cream, as well. I don’t know if it is the same one that you have, but here it is:

You need 2 cups chicken stock, 2 Tbs. butter, 3 Tbsp. flour, 2 Tbsp. light cream, salt and pepper to taste. Cook the chicken stock until it is hot. In another pan, melt the butter. Add the flour to the butter. It should start bubbling. The color will start turning darker. You want a lighter color for a veloute sauce. After it is the desired color and consistency, remove from heat. After it cools, add your chicken stock. Return to medium heat and start whisking. Turn heat down to low and continue stirring until smooth.

The light cream comes last. When your sauce is ready to serve, add the cream and season with salt or pepper.

By CarrotIsland — On Aug 13, 2010

My mom had a recipe for veloute sauce and I am pretty sure that one of the ingredients was light cream. Could that be wrong or are there different ways to make it?

By parmnparsley — On Jul 13, 2010

While Veloute may be the basis for many pasta sauce recipes, it is also the base for many chowders and soups. Cheddar ale soup uses a variation of the Veloute base, with added sweet onions, shredded sharp cheddar, and good pale ale. You can make this soup with either a light vegetable stock, or a light chicken stock.

Corn and Clam chowders also use a Veloute as the base. Cooks also add heavy cream to the base of these soups as a thickening agent and for flavor. Essentially any sauce, soup, or curry thickened with a blond roux is a variation on Veloute.

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