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For the computer protocol, see SAUCE

In cooking, a sauce is a liquid served on or used in the preparation of food. Sauces are not consumed by themselves; they add flavour, moisture, and visual appeal to another dish. Sauce is a French word taken from the Latin salsus, meaning salted.

Sauces are an essential element in cooking all over the world.


Sauces in French cuisine

Sauces in French cuisine date back to Medieval times. There were hundreds of sauces in the lore.

In the 19th century, the chef Antoine Carême classified sauces into four families, each of which was based on a mother sauce. Carême's four mother sauces were:

In the early 20th century, the chef Auguste Escoffier updated the classification, replacing sauce Allemande with egg-based emulsions (Hollandaise and mayonnaise), and adding tomate. Escoffier's schema is still taught to chefs today:

Sauces in other cuisines

Sauces and condiments also play an important role in other cuisines:

  • British cooking: Gravy is a traditional sauce used on roast dinner, comprised of roast potatoes, roast meat, boiled vegetables and optional Yorkshire puddings. Apple sauce and mint sauce are also used on meat. Salad Cream is used on salads. Ketchup and brown sauce are used on more fast-food type dishes. Strong English mustard (as well as French or American mustard) are also used on various foods, as is Worcestershire sauce. Custard is a popular dessert sauce. Some of these sauce traditions have been exported to ex-colonies such as the USA.
  • Chinese cuisine is known for sauces made from preserved ingredients - fermented soy bean, fermented black beans, various chili oils.
  • South East Asian cuisines, such as Thai and Vietnamese, use sauces made from fermented fish. Asian prepared sauces are not thick as they do not contain thickening agents such as flour or butter. The thickening occurs in the last minutes of cooking when thickeners like corn starch or arrowroot are added.

Sauce variations

There are also many sauces based on tomato (such as tomato ketchup and tomato sauce), other vegetables and various spices. Note that ketchup can be based on vegetables or fruits other than the tomato.

Sauces can also be sweet, and used either hot or cold to accompany and garnish a dessert.

Another kind of sauce is made from stewed fruit, usually strained to remove skin and fibers and often sweetened. Such sauces, including applesauce and cranberry sauce, are often eaten with specific other foods (apple sauce with pork or ham; cranberry sauce with poultry) or served as desserts.

Examples of sauces

White sauces

Brown sauces

  • Bordelaise sauce
  • Bourguignonne sauce
  • Chateauxbriand
  • Sauce Africaine
  • Sauce Robert

Béchamel family

Emulsified sauces

Butter sauces

Sweet sauces

Hot sauces

Asian sauces

  • Black bean sauce
  • Duck sauce , or Plum sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Hoi sin sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Sambal
  • Soy sauce
  • Sweet and sour sauce
  • Teriyaki - a way of cooking in Japan, a branch of sauces in North America.

Other sauces

Also see: Condiment - Coulis - Custard - Garum - Ketchup -Kochujang - Mustard - Salad dressing - Salsa - Toenjang


Wikibooks Cookbook has a section about:


Last updated: 02-05-2005 02:04:52
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55