What Are the 5 Mother Sauces?

In French Cuisine, sauces can be divided into two groups; mother sauces or compound (small) sauces. The five classic mother sauces are bechamel, veloute, espagnole, tomato, and hollandaise. The mother sauces are considered “leading sauces” because they are often used to create compound sauces. The only mother sauce that is rarely used as a leading sauce is the hollandaise. These sauces are distinguished principally by the liquid and thickeners that were used to create them. Each mother sauce leads a compound sauce.



What is the uses of the 5 mother sauces?

Each mother sauce has a distinguished taste, quality, and use. Below are some ways you could incorporate a mother sauce to your meal.


Mother Sauce Qualities Compound Sauces Use
Bechamel Smooth, creamy; cream colored; no graininess. Cream, cheese, mornay or nantua Vegetables, pasta, eggs, fish, shellfish, poultry, veal or pork
Veloute Smooth, rich; ivoy-colored; good flavor Fish valoute, allemande, or supreme Poached fish, lobster, white fish, crab, sweetbreads or beef
Espagnole Smooth, rich; dark brown color; good meat flavor Bordelaise, chasseur, chevreuil, madeira, marchand de vin or mushroom Sauteed, grilled, broiled, or roasted meats/poultry
Tomato Thick; slightly grainy; full-flavored Creole, spanish, milanaise Meats, poultry, vegetables, pasta, fish or eggs
Hollandaise Smooth, rich; buttery flavor; pale yellow color; light and slightly frothy Choron, foyot, grimrod, maltaise Grilled or sauteed meats and fish or poached fish

Tomato Sauce


2 hrs.


1 gal.



  • 4 fl. oz.       Olive Oil
  • 1 lb.            Onion, small dice
  • 3 Tbsp.       Garlic, chopped
  • 7 lb.            Whole Plum Tomatoes, canned
  • 3 lb.            Tomato Puree, canned
  • 2lb.             Pork or ham bones
  • 1 oz.            Fresh Basil
  • To Taste     Salt
  • To Taste     Black Pepper, ground



Step 1

In a wide, heavy bottomed, nonreactive, saucepot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to brown slightly, about 10 minutes.

Step 2

Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is soft and fragrant, for about 1 minute.

Step 3

Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and bones. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the sauce reduces slightly and develops a sauce like consistency, about 1-1/2 hours.

Step 4

Remove the bones and stir in the fresh basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 5

Use the sauce immediately or for a smoother sauce, pass it through a food mill or process it in a food processor before using. Cool in a water bath and refrigerate if not served immediately.

Nutrition Information

per 1 fl. oz.



Total Fat


Saturated Fat








More Recipes