As you grow as a gourmet cook, you will find yourself developing a list of your favorite gourmet sauces. Every now and then we all run across or invent a sauce that turns out be especially yummy and versatile. These will become a major part of your cooking arsenal.

Below are a few of my favorite gourmet sauces. I kind of hate to share them, but then again, that’s what my website is supposed to be all about. I want to help you learn to cook gourmet, and if that means giving up a secret or two, so be it.

Sweet Sauces

Kahlua Sauce

(Wonderful over cake or bread pudding)

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup Kahlua
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Melt butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat. When butter is almost completely melted, gradually whisk in confectioners’ sugar. Add Kahlua and stir.

Remove pan from the heat and add egg yolks, one at a time, whisking constantly. Add heavy cream and stir to combine. Return pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a slotted wooden spoon, until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Don’t increase temperature, or eggs will scramble. When you drag your finger along the back of a wooden spoon, the track of your finger should remain intact in the sauce. This stage of doneness in a sauce is called a nape, which describes the viscosity at which a sauce will nap food without sliding off.

Place pan of sauce on a rack and stir occasionally until it cools from hot to warm. Sauce will thicken as it cools. To hasten thickening, place pan of sauce in a bowl filled with ice water so the ice water level comes up to 2/3 the height of the pan. Stir constantly until desired temperature and consistently are reached. Serve sauce warm.

Basic Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 c whipping cream
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 – 1 ½ tsp. vanilla

Combine all the ingredients in a medium size saucepan. Cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is smooth and creamy. Keep warm to serve, or transfer to squeeze bottle to drizzle over desserts.

Rich Custard Sauce

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 8 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 T. vanilla

Place the cream and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl gently and set aside. Once the cream has come to a boil, temper in the egg yolks, remove from heat and strain. Add the vanilla and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Chocolate Sauce

  • ¾ cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • ½ pound semisweet chocolate chips (1 1/3 cups)
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 oz. amaretto

Bring the half and half, booze, vanilla and butter to a light simmer. Pour over the chocolate in a bowl, let sit for about 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. If necessary, place back on gently heat to warm, but never place over high heat. Serve warm.

Asian Sauces

Spicy Dipping Sauce (Eggrolls)

  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ½ cup carrots, shredded
  • 5 tablespoons sugar or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves chopped

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Makes 1 cup

Dumpling Sauce (Potstickers)

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (Kikkoman)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • Some diced green onion
  • Some minced garlic
  • Hot chili sauce (if desired)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

Meat Sauces

Jalapeno Cream Sauce (Great for Quail)

  • 1 chopped fresh jalapeno (seeds removed)
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • ½ ounce butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Saute jalapeno and garlic in butter. Add cream and seasonings, then reduce to a thick sauce consistency.

Raspberry Sauce (Pork Tenderloin)

  • 3 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Puree 1 cup of raspberries. Stir in remaining ingredients with a wooden spoon, crushing some of the berries. Refrigerate overnight. Serve at room temperature.

Parsley Sauce with Cornichons and Capers (Beef Tenderloin)

  • ¾ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 12 cornichons minced plus one teaspoon of juice
  • ¼ cup drained capers, chopped coarse
  • 2 medium scallions, white and light green parts – minced
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • ½ cups extra virgin olive oil

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cover and set aside at room temperature.

Gorgonzola Sauce (Wonderful with steak)

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 3 to 4 ounces crumbly Gorgonzola (not creamy)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Bring the heavy cream to a full boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, then continue to boil rapidly for 45 to 50 minutes, until thickened like a white sauce, stirring occasionally. Off the heat add the Gorgonzola, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and parsley. Whisk rapidly until the cheeses melt and serve warm. If you must reheat, warm the sauce over low heat until melted, then whisk vigorously until the sauce comes together.

Bernaise (Steak)

  • ¼ cup Champagne vinegar
  • ¼ cup good white wine
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 extra-large egg yolks
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

Put the Champagne vinegar, white wine, shallots, 1 tablespoon tarragon leaves, ¼ teaspoon salt, and /4 teaspoon pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is reduced to a few tablespoons. Cool slightly. Place the cooled mixture with the egg yolks and 1 teaspoon salt in the jar of a blender and blend for 30 seconds. With blender on, slowly pour the hot butter through the opening in the lid. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of tarragon leaves and blend only for a second. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon of white wine to thin. Keep at room temperature until serving.

Creole Sauce (Beef or Quail Raviolis, Crayfish Enchiladas)

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • ½ jalapeno
  • 1 small rib of celery
  • ½ carrot
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups diced canned tomatoes
  • 3 tsp. creole seasoning
  • Roux (2 oz. butter and 2 oz. flour cooked until dark brown)

Saute all vegetables (in a stock pot) with a little butter until soft. Add tomatoes and chicken stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Quickly whisk in roux. Puree (with stick blender) and season to taste.

Yogurt Sauce (Serve with Lamb)

  • 32 oz. yogurt, plain
  • 1 oz. garlic, chopped
  • 2 cucumbers, diced fine
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • ½ bunch chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • In a stainless steel bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Check seasoning, add if needed. Chill and serve.

    Cranberry Sauce with Ginger and Orange (Turkey)

    • 1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries, rinsed, stems and any bruised berries discarded
    • 1 cup sugar
    • Grated zest and juice of 1 large orange (1/2 cup juice)
    • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger

    Bring cranberries, sugar, orange juice (reserve zest), and ginger to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until some of the berries start to pop, about 1 minute. Cover, turn off heat, and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir zest into sauce. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Serve cold.

    Seafood Sauces

    Chiptotle-Lime Crema (Salmon)

    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1 teaspoon pureed chipotles in adobo
    • 1 ½ teaspoon fresh lime juice
    • Sea salt, to taste
    • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    In a small mixing bowl, mix all ingredients and chill for 1 hour before serving.

    Cocktail Sauce

    • 3 cups ketchup
    • ¼ cup horseradish
    • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 1 ½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
    • 3 teaspoon Cajun Chef Hot Sauce (or hot sauce of your choice)
    • 1 ½ teaspoon jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

    Add ingredients according to desired kick. Combine all ingredients; mix thoroughly and chill before serving. When you first make cocktail sauce, it may taste a little hot, but it will mellow the next day.

    Tartar Sauce

    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • Dash of Tabasco sauce
    • 2 tablespoons drained sweet pickle relish
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
    • 1 teaspoon drained tiny capers
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, Tabasco sauce, and relish in a bowl. Stir in the parsley, shallots, capers, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days before serving, for the flavors to blend. Makes 1 ¼ cup.

    Remoulade Sauce

    • 2 green onions, finely chopped, include tops
    • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
    • 3 tablespoons chopped, cooked spinach
    • ¾ cup mayonnaise
    • 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
    • ¾ teaspoon anchovy paste
    • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
    • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
    • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

    Mix all ingredients together. Will last 1 week in refrigerator.

    Miscellaneous Sauces

    Texas Dipping Sauce (Jalapeno Poppers)

    • 1 cup Ranch dressing
    • ½ cup Picante sauce
    • ½ tsp. cumin
    • ½ tsp dried oregano
    • 2 tablespoons minced chives

    Mix ingredients in bowl. Refrigerate.

    Saffron Aioli

    • 1 oz. lemon juice
    • Pinch saffron
    • 1 tsp fresh chopped garlic
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 whole egg
    • ½ tsp. dry mustard (English)
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil

    Put a pinch of saffron in lemon juice and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Put lemon with saffron, garlic, yolks, whole egg, mustard, and salt in food processor and blend. While processor is running, slowly pour olive oil into mixture. After all olive oil has been added turn off processor. Chill and keep refrigerated.

    Hollandaise Sauce (Blender Style)

    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
    • 3 egg yolks
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • Pinch dry or cayenne
    • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice (or more to taste)

    Melt butter over low heat (do not brown). Combine other ingredients in the blender and turn on the machine. Drizzle in the butter. The mixture will thicken. Taste it for seasoning. Add more lemon or seasoning if desired. Transfer to a container and serve, or to keep warm, set container into a bowl of very hot water and stir continuously. This sauce will break if it gets too cool, so serve right away or hold as instructed for up to 20 minutes. You can also keep this sauce in a coffee carafe to keep warm.

    I hope you try each and every one of the terrific sauces on this web page. They really are my very favorite gourmet sauces, and I stand behind them, confident you will love them.