Bordelaise Sauce

published Oct 18, 2022
Bordelaise Sauce Recipe

Hailing come the French region of Bordeaux comes a quintessential red wine sauce made with dry red wine and infused with shallots and herbs.

Serves4 to 8

Makesabout 1 cup

Prep10 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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A photo of a ramekin of Bordelaise sauce (a classic French sauce named after the Bordeaux region of France, which is famous for its wine. The sauce is made with dry red wine, bone marrow, butter, shallots and sauce demi-glace)
Credit: Tara Holland

Bordelaise sauce is a classic French sauce made with dry red wine from the region of Bordeaux. It’s infused with shallots and herbs and is a match made in heaven for any steak or prime rib cut. When I made bordelaise sauce from scratch in culinary school, the whole process spanned two days. But fear not! This speedy version will take 40 minutes from start to finish.

What Is Traditionally in a Bordelaise Sauce?

There are many variations of Bordelaise sauce. Although this is a simpler version, traditionally Bordelaise sauce is made with the following:

  • Dry red wine from the Bordeaux region in France
  • Shallots 
  • Veal stock
  • Demi-glace 
  • Glace de viande (a meat glaze created by heavily reducing down a brown stock, even further than demi-glace) 
  • Aromatics (thyme sprigs, parsley stems, and bay leaves were traditionally tied into a sachet d’epice)
  • Beef marrow, cut into cubes and whisked in at the end
  • Lemon juice 
Credit: Tara Holland

Tips for Making Bordelaise Sauce at Home

  • Buy demi-glace. You don’t have to put two days aside to make veal stock (and let it simmer for 17-plus hours!) to make your own demi-glace; it’s an ingredient that can be found at many large grocery stores and online. It’s also commonly sold by butchers. Some brands sell demi-glace in concentrated form, so check your package instructions to create the cup-and-a-half needed for this recipe.
  • Sub in beef stock, if needed. If you’re not able to find demi-glace, you can reduce down good-quality beef stock or canned consommé until it has halved in volume. 
  • Less is more. This sauce is rich and intensely flavored, so when it comes to serving size, less is more — even a couple of tablespoons of sauce per person would suffice.
  • Skip the bone marrow. Bone marrow, which is traditionally whisked in at the end, can be hard to come by. Sub in butter for a tough of silkiness.
  • Add flour. Suppose you prefer a slightly thicker sauce over a syrupy consistency. In that case, you could mix a tablespoon of softened butter with a tablespoon of flour to create a paste to thicken the sauce. This method is called beurre manié

The Best Wine to Make Bordelaise Sauce

Bordeaux wines are traditionally used in Bordelaise sauce, but the French-imported variety can be a little pricey. Using any of the following domestic dry red wines (or a blend, such as Red Meritage) would work perfectly.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Malbec
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Any Red Meritage wine 

Bordelaise Sauce Recipe

Hailing come the French region of Bordeaux comes a quintessential red wine sauce made with dry red wine and infused with shallots and herbs.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Makes about 1 cup

Serves 4 to 8

Nutritional Info


  • 2

    large shallots

  • 1/2 small bunch

    fresh parsley (about 10 large sprigs)

  • 2 cups

    medium to full-bodied red wine, such as merlot or cabernet sauvignon

  • 4 large sprigs

    fresh thyme

  • 2

    dried bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon

    whole black peppercorns

  • 1 1/2 cups

    veal or beef demi-glace (if using concentrate, dilute enough according to package instructions to get 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1/2

    small lemon

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper


  1. Peel and finely chop 2 large shallots (about 1/2 cup). Trim the bottom 3 inches from 1/2 small bunch flat-leaf parsley. Place the shallots and parsley stems in a medium saucepan (save the parsley leaves for another use).

  2. Add 2 cups red wine, 4 large fresh thyme sprigs, and 2 dried bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and skimming any foam if needed. Adjust the heat as needed so it remains at a steady boil and cook until syrupy and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, make 1 1/2 cups demi-glace by following package instructions for dilution or reducing beef or veal stock. Juice 1/2 small lemon until you have 2 teaspoons.

  4. Add the veal or beef demi-glace to the reduced wine. Reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, skimming if needed, until the liquid is reduced by half again (to about 1 1/4 cups) and thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon, 20 to 35 minutes.

  5. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a measuring cup with a spout; discard the contents of the strainer. Rinse and wipe out the saucepan. Pour the sauce back into the saucepan. Return to low heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter until it’s melted and the sauce is silky, about 1 minute.

  6. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and stir to combine. Taste and add more lemon juice as needed. Serve spooned or alongside steak or prime rib beef.

Recipe Notes

Demi-glace substitutes: Although the flavor will not be as rich or intense, you can substitute demi-glace by reducing down a good-quality beef or veal stock by half (start with 3 cups).

Storage: Leftover sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Reheat in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until heated through.