Six easy steps to the greatest pan sauce

The end of the pan-frying process is the beginning of your mouth-watering sauce. Here's how to turn those delicious, beefy caramelised brown 'bits' into the perfect pan sauce every time.

What you need to know

What is pan sauce?

Pan sauce is the delicious accompaniment to your beef, made from the leftover bits in the pan after cooking.

The bits are important!

As you pan-fry beef, juice oozes from the meat and evaporates, leaving brown bits in the pan. And you're in for a treat, as these caramelised crusts have rich, concentrated meaty flavours – just what you need for the most delicious sauce. 

Simply by adding liquid like wine or stock to the hot pan, you create the foundation of a pan sauce – a process called deglazing. The result is a flavour-packed sauce that's the perfect accompaniment to your juicy beef.


Try these!

Great deglazing liquid ideas

  • Stock – a good base that seasons as well as flavours. Try using half stock and half water or salt-reduced stock.
  • Wine – both red and white contribute distinctive flavours. Remember, most of the alcohol evaporates as you boil and then simmer the mixture — but it doesn't eliminate it entirely!
  • Beer and other drinks such as brandy – yes really! Like wine, they add flavour and a little alcohol.
  • Juice – tomato or even apple juice suits some beef dishes.

Six easy steps to the greatest pan sauce

  1. While the cooked beef rests, drain excess fat from the pan.
  2. Return pan to stove and heat for a few seconds. Add a little crushed garlic and cook for 30 seconds. 
  3. Add stock, wine or other liquid. Bring to the boil, scrape the base of the pan to dislodge and dissolve the crusty bits as the liquid comes to the boil.
  4. Keep stirring the liquid until smooth, and then simmer until reduced by half. 
  5. Add ½ cup cream and continue to cook until it reaches a sauce-like consistency. A good guide is when it coats the back of a metal spoon. 
  6. Once beef has rested, a little of its juices will appear. Add this delicious liquid to the simmering pan sauce to give it extra colour and flavour, and then serve with your beef.