Savory and Classic: English Bread Sauce Recipe

Have you ever heard of English Bread Sauce? If not, it’s time to explore this savory and rich sauce that has been a traditional part of English cuisine for centuries. This sauce made from bread is smooth, tangy and full of the warm flavors of bay leaf, onion, and cloves.

English Bread Sauce is a perfect accompaniment to your roast chicken or turkey dinner. This sauce perfectly balances the crispness and saltiness of the roasted meats. It has a creamy texture that blends well with the meat’s juices and other side dishes on your plate.

In this recipe article, I will guide you through every step of making the perfect English Bread Sauce. Whether you are a seasoned home cook looking to impress your family or a curious foodie exploring traditional British dishes, this recipe will undoubtedly be an exciting addition to your culinary repertoire.

So, get ready with your homemade bread crumbs or stale bread, along with some milk, onion, bay leaf, and cloves. Let’s make this classic British sauce recipe that is sure to win everyone’s heart at your Christmas dinner or any other potentially iconic meals!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

English Bread Sauce
English Bread Sauce

If you’re a fan of traditional British cuisine, then you’re going to love this English Bread Sauce recipe. This sauce is an essential part of any classic Christmas dinner or roast feast and is served alongside roast chicken, turkey, or even duck.

But why will you love this recipe? Here are a few reasons:

Firstly, it’s made with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Milk, bread crumbs, onion, nutmeg and cloves – that’s it! Nothing fancy or hard to find.

Secondly, it’s incredibly easy to make. Even if you’re not an experienced cook, you can whip up this sauce with no problem. It will take only around 15-20 minutes to prepare, and the result is a creamy and flavorful sauce that can take your meal to a whole new level.

Thirdly, it’s versatile. You can switch things up by using different types of bread or milk to create variations that suit your taste preference. You can go for white bread or even use homemade bread crumbs which will enhance the flavor of the sauce even more!

Finally, this sauce is a great way to use up stale bread that might otherwise go to waste. All you have to do is toast it and turn it into breadcrumbs before adding it to the milk mixture. It’s a win-win situation: you’ll reduce food waste while enjoying a delicious homemade sauce.

Overall, this English Bread Sauce Recipe is perfect for anyone looking for an easy yet impressive addition to their roast dinner or Christmas feast. So why not try it out and impress your family and friends with your culinary skills?

Ingredient List

 Thick and creamy bread sauce to complement any roast dinner
Thick and creamy bread sauce to complement any roast dinner

Before starting this recipe, you will need to gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and studded with 4 cloves
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 5 ounces of white breadcrumbs (homemade bread is ideal)
  • Salt and freshly grated nutmeg and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup of butter
  • 2 cups of full-fat milk
  • Additional salt

Make sure you have all of these ingredients on hand before you begin.

The Recipe How-To

 A classic British side that will make you want to lick the spoon
A classic British side that will make you want to lick the spoon

Now, let’s get to the heart of this recipe article — the English Bread Sauce Recipe itself! This recipe makes around 2 cups of bread sauce, which is enough for 8-10 servings. Here are the steps to make it happen:

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Gather all the necessary ingredients for this traditional bread sauce recipe:

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and studded with 4 cloves
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cups full-fat milk
  • 5 ounces white breadcrumbs (fresh or stale)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step 2: Cook the Sauce Ingredients

In a medium saucepan, combine the onion studded with cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, and milk. Add salt to taste. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Step 3: Let It Simmer

Reduce heat to low and let the mixture simmer gently for about half an hour or until the milk has thickened up slightly.

Step 4: Add Breadcrumbs and Butter

Remove the onion, bay leaves, and peppercorns from the saucepan. Then add in the breadcrumbs, butter and freshly grated nutmeg. Stir thoroughly so that everything is well combined.

Step 5: Thicken It Up

Cook everything over low heat until your bread sauce has thickened up to your desired consistency.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy!

Once your sauce is ready, you can serve it alongside roast chicken or turkey. Pro-tip: Although bread sauce traditionally appears as a Christmas dinner side dish; it is also equally good any time served alongside a good roast chicken or duck dish.

Now that you know how to make bread sauce like a pro; go ahead and make homemade breadcrumbs if you haven’t done so already!

Substitutions and Variations

 This no-fuss recipe will leave you with a velvety smooth sauce
This no-fuss recipe will leave you with a velvety smooth sauce

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are several substitutions and variations you can make to this traditional English Bread Sauce Recipe. For example, you can use half-and-half instead of whole milk for a richer taste and creamier texture. You can also substitute butter for the oil used to fry the onion, giving the sauce an even richer flavor.

For a different flavor profile, try adding some nutmeg or freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the sauce. And if you want to make it truly your own, experiment with different types of bread – try using homemade bread or stale bread instead of white bread for a more rustic taste.

If you’re serving this sauce alongside roast chicken or turkey, you can add some black peppercorns or white wine vinegar for a subtle tang that complements the rich creaminess of the sauce.

And don’t be afraid to play around with the amount and combination of recipe ingredients to suit your taste – add a little more onion or cloves if you like that warming spice flavor, or adjust the amount of breadcrumbs if you like your sauce thicker or thinner. The possibilities for customizing this classic dish are endless!

Serving and Pairing

 Impress your guests with a homemade bread sauce
Impress your guests with a homemade bread sauce

English bread sauce pairs perfectly with roasted meats, making it a popular side dish for traditional Christmas dinners and Sunday roasts. It is served alongside roast chicken, turkey, or duck, and can even elevate the taste of the meal.

The sauce’s unique flavor blends well with the meat’s juices, creating a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Its creamy texture and subtle spices make it an ideal companion for hearty meat dishes.

It’s always best served hot, so I recommend you add the sauce to your plate just before serving. Drizzle it over your roasted meat instead of gravy and enjoy the flavors’ perfect complement.

English bread sauce is also versatile enough to pair with other meals. It can be served with homemade pies, roasted vegetables, or sausages for a comforting and hearty meal.

Overall, bread sauce adds a touch of sophistication to any dish you serve it with. So go ahead and prepare this classic sauce to take your meals to another level!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The perfect way to use up leftover bread
The perfect way to use up leftover bread

English bread sauce is the perfect accompaniment to roast chicken or turkey, and it offers a comforting and traditional flavor that’s hard to resist. The good news is that you can make this sauce ahead of time, which is especially helpful if you’re planning a big dinner event like Christmas or Thanksgiving. To make ahead, simply follow the recipe as written, let the sauce cool down to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the refrigerator for up to three days.

When it’s time to serve, take the sauce out of the fridge and reheat it in a small pan over medium heat until it’s warm throughout. You may need to whisk in a bit of milk or half-and-half to get the right consistency after refrigeration. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning on the bottom of the pan.

Leftover bread sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days, but keep in mind that reheated leftovers may not be as smooth and creamy as freshly made sauce. If you have leftover ingredients like onion studded with cloves or bay leaves, they should be removed before storing.

You can also freeze your homemade bread sauce for up to two months. Let it cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or ziplock bags. Thaw frozen sauce overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stove.

In conclusion, making English bread sauce ahead of time can save you time and reduce stress when preparing holiday dinners or special events. Storing and reheating instructions are straightforward, but keep in mind that reheated leftovers may not be as creamy as freshly made sauce. Overall this versatile and tasty bread sauce is perfect for any roast dinner occasion!

Tips for Perfect Results

 A comforting and nostalgic taste of England
A comforting and nostalgic taste of England

Making the perfect English bread sauce can be a challenge. However, with the right tips and techniques, you can achieve culinary greatness. Here are some tips to help you make the perfect sauce.

Firstly, make sure to use fresh ingredients. Fresh bay leaves, cloves and onions can make all the difference in the final taste of your bread sauce. Secondly, use whole milk or half-and-half instead of skim or low-fat milk as it will give your sauce a richer and creamier taste.

Another tip is to soak your bread in milk or cream overnight. This prevents your bread from clumping and also ensures that it soaks up all the flavours of the aromatic ingredients used in making the sauce.

It is also important to add enough breadcrumbs to thicken your sauce. The amount of breadcrumbs used depends on how thick you want your sauce to be. A good rule of thumb is to add 2 cups of breadcrumbs for every pint of milk used.

When preparing the sauce, keep stirring continuously on a low heat, as this will help prevent lumps from forming. Also, if you find that your sauce is too thin, then you can add more breadcrumbs or simmer for longer until it has thickened.

Finally, remember to season your bread sauce well by adding salt, pepper, nutmeg and other spices such as cinnamon or ground cloves. The key is to taste as you go along so that you can adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

By following these tips, you are sure to make a delicious traditional English bread sauce that will complement any roast dinner – be it chicken, turkey or duck – perfectly.


As with any recipe, you may have some questions or concerns before diving into making this English bread sauce. Fear not, as I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and concerns to help guide you through the bread sauce making process. From substitutions to reheating, I am confident that these tips will set you on the path to creating a perfect bread sauce every time. So, let’s get started!

What is bread sauce made of?

In England, a popular sauce made using milk, breadcrumbs and a blend of spices is commonly served during Christmas meals and is known as bread sauce.

What does bread sauce taste like?

If you haven’t had the pleasure of tasting authentic bread sauce, let me enlighten you. This delectable sauce is a simple blend of bread, butter, milk, cream, onion, and spices. The texture should mirror that of a smooth porridge, while the flavor should be creamy, delicate, and subtly aromatic.

How to make bread sauce Mary Berry?

Let’s start making the heavenly bread sauce. Begin by placing cloves into an onion and adding it into a pan along with milk, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Give it a gentle mix and allow the flavors to infuse together. Once done, strain the milk and bring it back to the pan. Add breadcrumbs gradually into the pan and stir continuously as you bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low flame and allow the mixture to simmer for two to three minutes, while occasionally stirring it. This will ensure that the sauce has a perfect consistency and an even texture.

What is the purpose of bread sauce?

Bread Sauce is a quintessential dish of English cuisine with a long history. It has been a staple accompaniment to roast Christmas turkey for generations and is also delicious when paired with roast chicken or duck. Its origins can be traced back to the middle ages when ingenious cooks discovered a way to make use of surplus bread as a thickener for various stews, soups and sauces.

Bottom Line

Now that we have reached the end, it’s time for us to reflect on why this traditional English Bread Sauce Recipe is worth trying. With the combination of ingredients such as onion, cloves, and bay leaf, this easy-to-follow recipe will definitely be a delicious add-on to your Christmas dinner or roast chicken.

Making bread sauce is not a complicated task, especially with the help of half-and-half and whole milk. This recipe only requires some basic kitchen items and will take up minimal prep time, making it an ideal recipe for busy days or last-minute family dinners.

The beauty of this traditional bread sauce is that it’s extremely versatile. You can substitute the traditional white bread with homemade bread or use stale bread. Plus, adding freshly grated nutmeg, black peppercorns or even switching the type of milk used can all lead to new taste profiles.

In conclusion, whether you celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving or simply enjoy a tasty addition to your roasted meats, English Bread Sauce should definitely be among your go-to recipes. It’s quick and easy to make and will elevate your meal in ways you never thought were possible!

English Bread Sauce

English Bread Sauce Recipe

A traditional British sauce that is normally served with roast poultry or game.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine English
Keyword < 30 Mins, European, Sauces
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Calories 142.6kcal


  • 2 cloves
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 ounces fresh breadcrumbs (they should be rather large in size)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half


  • Stud onion with cloves (stick them into the outside of the onion) and place in saucepan with the bay leaf and milk.
  • Bring to a boil, slowly, over medium heat; remove from heat, cover, and let flavors infuse for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf and onion.
  • Add breadcrumbs, return to heat, cover, and let simmer 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the butter and half and half; serve.


Serving: 90g | Calories: 142.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.7g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6.3g | Saturated Fat: 3.6g | Cholesterol: 18.3mg | Sodium: 166.1mg | Fiber: 0.9g | Sugar: 1.7g

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