The Five French Mother Sauces: The Mother Of All Resources

Since we covered so much ground in the French Mother Sauce Series, both on the blog and podcast, I figured it would be a good idea to place all the information in one, easy to find post. The mother of all mother sauce resources if you will.

So here it is; a list of the mother sauces with their corresponding podcast episodes, classic components, serving suggestions, and how to posts.

But first, a quick history lesson.

A Brief History of The Mother Sauces

The French mother sauces were originally four base sauces set forth by Antonin Careme in the 19th century. Careme’s four original mother sauces were Allemande, Bechamel, Veloute and Espagnole.

In the 20th century, Chef Auguste Escoffier demoted Allemande to a secondary sauce of Veloute, and added Sauce Tomat and Hollandaise. 

One Last Thing…

Some of the classic versions of these sauces use different thickening agents to bring the sauce to its proper consistency. If you’re unfamiliar with thickening agents such as roux, liasons, or emulsions, you can follow the corresponding links for more information.

Sauce Bechamel

Sauce Veloute

  • Base: White Stock (Classically Veal, but Chicken and Fish Stock can also be used)

  • Thickening Agent: Classically a Roux, but sometimes also a Liason is used.

  • Classical Flavorings: None, used specifically as a base

  • Common Secondary Sauces: Sauce Vin Blanc (White Wine Sauce), Sauce Supreme, Sauce Allemande, Sauce Poulette, Sauce Bercy, Sauce Normandy

  • Classically Served With: Eggs, Fish, Steamed Poultry, Steamed Vegetables, Pastas, Veal

  • Technique and Recipe: How To Make Sauce Veloute and its Derivatives

  • Corresponding Podcast Episode: SCS 10| Sauce Veloute

Sauce Tomat (AKA Tomato Sauce)

  • Base: Tomatoes (Raw, Tomato Paste, Tomato Puree, Stewed Tomatoes)

  • Thickening Agent: Classically a Roux, modern versions commonly use a reduction or purees

  • Classical Flavorings: Salt Pork, Mirepoix, Garlic, White Veal Stock, Salt & Pepper, Sugar (Just enough to balance acidity, not enough to make the sweetness perceptible).

  • Common Secondary Sauces: Modern variations concentrate more on seasonings giving rise to sauces such as Creole, Portuguese and Spanish Sauce Tomat.

  • Classically Served With: Pasta, Fish, Vegetables (Especially Grilled), Polenta, Veal, Poultry (Especially Chicken), Breads and Dumplings such as Gnocchi.

  • Technique and Recipe: How to Make Tomato Sauce and Its Modern Variations

  • Corresponding Podcast Episode: SCS Episode 12| Sauce Tomat

Sauce Espagnole (AKA Sauce Brune or Brown Sauce)

Hollandaise Sauce

Watch the Video Lecture: The Five French Mother Sauces | An Introduction

Understanding The Five French Mother Sauces - Video Lecture

There are 15 Comments

jacob burton's picture

It really depends on how thick or thin you want your sauce, how long you plan on simmering the sauce, etc. But most classic recipes call for about 4oz of roux for every 1 quart of sauce to be thickened. This is assuming that the sauce will be gently simmered for about 30-45 minutes after the roux is incorporated.


If you plan on simmering the sauce longer then 30-45 minutes, then you'll either need to use less roux per quart or have some extra liquid set aside for thinning if and when the sauce becomes to thick.

pilotjoeq's picture

My background is private clubs. almost 30 years as Sous chef and Exec. Chef. I Find myself working at a Very well known childrens hospital in Tx. where the "norm" is to use a chicken base product rather than a true stock.
My question is: Is using a base product really the best way to go considering the needs of our patients? I regularly have gluten allergic patients. Most of the base products contain some form of wheat. Have you ever seen a glutin free chicken bae on the market?

jacob burton's picture

I'm sure there is a gluten free chicken base but I can't recommend one off the top of my head since I've never used one (when I do use chicken base, I use Minors, which I'm pretty sure contains gluten). If at all possible, it is always best to make your own chicken stock, but that isn't necessarily possible in certain situations. You can make a good flavored sauce with chicken base, but it will never have the same quality as a sauce made from a scratch base stock.


Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.


maraia hunt's picture

 Im a student and studying about a chef and BEGIN a chef! It is an exiciting road for me as knowing and learning more about food is very much my interest!! BUT my main question is HOW DO WE GET ONE LITRE OF GLAZE FROM A 20 LITRE STOCK???????wink

chrissy's picture

Can you list the name and ingredients of a secondary sauce off of any mother sauce


Hi Chef Burton,

It has been a long time since I left culinary college but we were taught (and I just re-checked online) that the 4 "mother" sauces named by Careme were espagnole, velouté, allemande, and béchamel,and then Escoffier removed allemande (considering it a derivative of velouté) and brought in hollandaise and tomat.


jacob burton's picture

Hey Daraious,

Great comment.

Admittedly, the mother sauces and their history do weave a tangled web. It's been so long since I wrote this post, I had to look it up myself. My wires must have gotten crossed somewhere, but it appears most historians agree with you.

Here's a fun resource for anyone looking for more information:

ravikumar's picture

chef iam the student of hotel management i have a dout can you please solve it
in these six which all sauces emanate and why
a. Velouteb. Tomatc. Sangre de Boeufd. Bechamele. Espagnolef. Hollandaise

jacob burton's picture

@ Ravikumar,

I'm sorry, but I don't understand the question. Can you give me more details please?

jacob burton's picture

@ Ravikumar,

I'm sorry, but I don't understand the question. Can you give me more details please?