Beef Au Jus

updated Dec 21, 2023
christmas
Beef Au Jus Recipe

A rich and savory sauce to serve with prime rib and steak sandwiches.

Makes1 1/2 cups

Prep5 minutes

Cook5 minutes to 7 minutes

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au jus (a French culinary term meaning "with juice". It refers to meat dishes prepared or served together with a light broth or gravy, made from the fluids secreted by the meat as it is cooked) in a turquoise bowl, next to sliced steak on a wooden cutting board
Credit: Laura Rege

Au jus is the perfect partner for French dip sandwiches or drizzled over juicy and tender prime rib, meat and mashed potatoes. This savory sauce is classically made from beef drippings — those crispy little brown bits, fat, and juices leftover in the roasting pan after roasting beef — but you can make this recipe even without the roast.

Instead of beef drippings, lean on fresh garlic, thyme, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce to give this sauce its rich body and umami flavor. Here’s how to make quick au jus with or without drippings.

What Is Au Jus?

Au jus means “with juice,” is a classic French sauce used to boost the flavor roasted meats, like prime rib, or served along side sandwiches like the French dip. dishes. Its consistency is somewhere between beef broth and rich gravy.

What Ingredients Are in Au Jus?

  • Garlic: Nothing beats the flavor of fresh garlic. Mince 1 clove for this sauce.
  • Fresh thyme: Pick the leaves from 4 to 5 sprigs. You should have about 1 teaspoon thyme.
  • Unsalted butter: Use 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or the fat from pan drippings).
  • Dijon mustard: Choose smooth Dijon mustard for its spicy, tangy flavor.
  • Beef broth: This recipe was developed with regular beef broth. If you use low-sodium or unsalted beef broth, taste before adding more kosher salt.
  • Worcestershire sauce: This powerhouse ingredient is essential to the savory flavor of au jus.

How to Make Au Jus without Drippings

  • Sauté garlic in butter. Cook garlic and unsalted butter until golden and fragrant.
  • Add herbs and mustard. Continue to build flavor by adding fresh thyme leaves and Dijon mustard to the sautéed garlic.
  • Simmer with beef broth and Worcestershire. Pour in beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and simmer to infuse the broth with all of the seasonings.
  • Season and strain. Taste the au jus and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. For a smooth dipping sauce, pour the au jus through a fine mesh strainer into a serving dish.

Tips for Making Au Jus with Drippings

This recipe can be made with or without pan drippings. Here are a few tips for preparing au jus with drippings so that none of that flavor goes to waste.

  • Start with the right amount of fat. You need about 1 tablespoon of fat to make au jus. If a lot of fat has rendered from your roast, pour off the excess so that just 1 tablespoon remains. If your roast was lean, add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
  • Scrape the browned bits loose. The flavor of the drippings is locked in those browned bits on the bottom of the roasting pan. Loosen them with a wooden spoon so that their flavor can infuse the au jus.
  • Add kosher salt to taste. Pan drippings can be salty, depending on how the roast was seasoned. Hold off on adding any kosher salt until all of the drippings are incorporated into the salt, then taste and add salt incrementally.
  • Strain for a smooth au jus. There’s nothing wrong with leaving the garlic, herb leaves, and roasted bits from the bottom of the pan in the au jus, but for a velvety smooth sauce, strain through a fine mesh strainer before serving.
Credit: Laura Rege

What’s the Difference Between Au Jus, Beef Broth, and Gravy?

  • Beef broth is made by simmering beef bones, mirepoix (typically onion, carrots, and celery), hearty herbs, and spices in water, to extract flavor into the liquid.
  • Au jus is basically beefed up beef broth. Amplify the savory flavor of beef broth by simmering it with drippings from roast beef (double beef flavor). If no drippings are available, rely on the robust flavors of thyme, Dijon mustard, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Gravy starts with drippings from roasted meat and broth, just as au jus does. The difference between gravy and au jus comes down to consistency. Gravy is thicker sauce that relies on starches like all-purpose flour or cornstarch for its consistency.

Beef Au Jus Recipe

A rich and savory sauce to serve with prime rib and steak sandwiches.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes to 7 minutes

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 4 to 5 sprigs

    fresh thyme

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1 1/2 cups

    beef broth

  • 1 tablespoon

    Worcestershire sauce

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Mince 1 garlic clove. Pick the leaves from 4 to 5 fresh thyme sprigs until you have 1 teaspoon.

  2. Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the thyme and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and stir to combine. Pour in 1 1/2 cups beef broth and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and whisk to combine.

  3. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the flavors meld, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed. If desired, strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl or gravy dish, or serve as is.

Recipe Notes

Pan drippings variation: Remove the roast from the pan, and set it aside to rest. Pour off the excess fat, then return 1 tablespoon of the fat (or supplement with unsalted butter) to the roasting pan and set over medium-high heat on the stovetop (use this in place of the saucepan). You may need to span two burners. Skip adding the butter and proceed with the recipe, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan once you add the broth.

Thicker variation: For a slightly thicker consistency, add 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour with the butter, then cook for 1 minute before continuing with the recipe.

Storage: Freeze au jus in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in a small saucepan before serving.