Whether you’re a home cook that loves making delicious food for the family or a professional chef that works in a top kitchen, you’ll most likely know the importance of a good sauce.
High-quality, fresh sauces elevate a dish, providing unparalleled flavors and beautiful textures.
One sauce that does this brilliantly is demi-glace. Popular all over the world, demi-glace is a wonderfully creamy, thick sauce originating from French cuisine.
Primarily obtained from the simmering of veal broth, your meat dishes are taken to the next level with the sauce’s silky texture and burst of flavors.
However, it can take hours, sometimes days to make the best demi-glace sauce, and let’s face it, we don’t all have that much time.
Luckily for us, there are 6 demi-glace substitutes that take less time and still offer plenty of flavor and texture.
In today’s article, we’re going to show you the 6 best demi-glace substitutions and what you can expect.
If you don’t have 14 hours to make the best sauce, make sure you stick around!
What Is A Demi-Glace?
Before we show you the best demi-glace substitutes, it’s probably a good idea to gain a better understanding of what the sauce actually is.
Only then can you understand how the flavors and textures of the other sauces we talk about act as a good alternative.
Demi-glace is an extremely rich, thick brown-colored French sauce made by reducing brown stock.
This stock usually comes from veal and beef, but it can also be made from chicken broth and vegetable broth.
Red wine or Espagnole sauce is then added to the sauce. This leaves us with a thick sauce that has a consistency similar to syrup and a color similar to soy sauce.
When the sauce has been fully seasoned with various herbs and spices, the end result is a tasty, meaty sauce.
It isn’t uncommon for the demi-glace to have a both sweet and salty taste as a result of caramelization so not much seasoning is needed.
Now you know what to expect from a demi-glace sauce, we can start to look at the best substitutions.
1. Beef Demi-Glace
If you’re not in a rush and simply need a demi-glace alternative because you don’t like veal, a homemade beef demi-glace sauce could be perfect for you.
In our opinion, when it comes to looking for a veal alternative, beef is the best substitute you can use.
The sauce the beef’s bone marrow produces is incredibly thick just like the original demi-glace and it still provides that beautiful meaty taste.
In fact, you’ll be surprised by just how similar the two different sauces taste.
Despite taking hours to make, this sauce is the best professional choice if you want to impress your guests.
How To Substitute
All you have to do to make this substitute is let the bones and meat chunks simmer for hours and hours over a low heat for at least 4 hours, remove them from the heat and leave the liquid left in the pan to evaporate. Once the excess liquid has evaporated, you’ll be left with a delicious creamy sauce. You may add red wine while making it.
2. Vegetable Or Chicken Demi-Glace
If you have time spare to make your own demi-glace but don’t like eating veal or beef, there are still plenty of substitutions for you.
Two of the best are using chicken broth or vegetable broth to make your demi-glace.
Obviously, if you’re a vegetarian, the vegetable demi-glace option is ideal.
One of the best things about making a demi-glace from chicken is that the whole process is quite easy.
After just a couple of hours, your chicken broth will turn into a delicious creamy chicken demi-glace.
You can then serve it up with your choice of meat and vegetables.
The vegetarian option, for obvious reasons, won’t have the meaty taste a traditional demi-glace does but it will still offer plenty of flavors and a lovely thick texture.
How To Substitute
The process to create a chicken demi-glace is quite similar to a veal demi-glace. You first need to cook the chicken down until you’re left with a chicken broth. Once cooked, remove any pieces of chicken and let the broth simmer. It will thicken after hours, becoming a creamy sauce.
By far the easiest and arguably the most suitable substitute for demi-glace is gravy.
Available in a wide range of flavors, gravy is a sauce that closely resembles demi-glace.
In fact, gravy is just as flavor-packed and thick as most traditional demi-glace sauces.
It also tends to be very similar in smell and color.
As if that wasn’t enough, gravy is also the fastest demi-glace substitute you can make.
In no time at all, you can produce a sauce that tastes and looks just like a demi-glace but takes much less time to make.
How To Substitute
While making your own gravy isn’t too difficult to do, we recommend using gravy granules. The reason we suggest this is simply down to the amount of time you’ll save. In just minutes, you can make a gravy to accompany your roast beef, roast potatoes, and pies. The less hot water you add to your gravy, the thicker it will be.
4. Canned Soup
This one might surprise you but it is possible to use some varieties of canned soups as a demi-glace substitute.
Having said that, we would only recommend this option as your last resort.
If you have other options available, definitely try those first. Apart from not being as effective as the other substitutes on this list, canned soups usually contain high levels of salt and sugar.
They have high content levels of saturated fats too.
With the negatives aside, let’s look at the more positive points. Canned soup is extremely thick and velvety, just like demi-glace.
They also taste pretty great. Above all else, canned soups are also very quick and easy to prepare.
How To Substitute
Using canned soup as a demi-glace substitute couldn’t be any easier. All you have to do is cook the soup until it reaches the consistency you’re after. The hardest decision you’ll have is deciding which soup to use. Ideally, you should go for beef or chicken soup. However, a vegetable soup will suffice.
5. Chicken, Vegetable, Or Beef Stock
If you’re all out of gravy granules or don’t have the ingredients to make a broth, don’t panic, you can quite easily make fantastic, flavorful demi-glace out-of-stock cubes.
Aside from being incredibly quick to make, one of the best things about a demi-glace made out of stock cubes is that you have free reign over flavors and the opportunity to unleash your creativity.
That is because stock cubes come in an amazingly wide range of different flavors.
This gives you the chance to make your own version of the traditional demi-glace.
You could use pork stock cubes to create something more unique and vegetable stock cubes if you need a vegetarian alternative.
If you want a more traditional demi-glace that has that recognizable color, texture, and meaty texture, we recommend using beef or chicken stock cubes.
How To Substitute
All you need to do in order to make a beautiful demi-glace out of stock cubes is pick your stock cube of choice, place it in a pan, pour hot water on it, and let it simmer. You should simmer the stock cube until most of the water has evaporated. It is at this point that you’ll be left with a silky, thick sauce full of flavor.
6. Condensed Stock
The final substitute on our list is condensed stock. This is a great alternative if stock cubes just aren’t for you.
It is super easy to make and produces a broth not too dissimilar to most stock cubes.
When it comes to picking the best-condensed stock, chicken, vegetable, and beef stocks are all solid options.
If you’re looking for the closest tasting demi-glace, the beef condensed stock is your best option.
The texture, taste, and color created using the beef condensed stock won’t be too far away from the real thing.
How To Substitute
To use condensed stock as a substitute for demi-glace, add the condensed stock to your pot and dilute it with some water. If you want to impress guests even more, use red wine instead. This will give your sauce a more luxurious appearance. A personal favorite of ours is veal condensed stock and red wine.
Choosing The Best Demi-Glace Substitute
Now we’ve finished our list, it’s time for you to pick the substitute that suits you and your recipe best.
Most of the methods we’ve taken a look at will deliver similar results, especially if you use beef, chicken, and vegetables to make your homemade demi-glace sauce.
If you have time on your side, of course, nothing beats making an original demi-glace to compliment your meat. However, this could take 14 hours.
If you’re short on time and you’re not fussy about how authentic the sauce is, gravy is probably your best option.
It is perfect for mimicking demi-glace and comes with a distinct flavor and thickness.
If you want a quick fix but don’t want something as rich, stock cubes are the way to go.
They’ll provide a delicate, yet delicious flavor, in very little time.
Individuals looking to experiment with flavors and those of you out of options could use canned soup.
While canned soups might not produce the same flavors, they are a great way to bring a creamy, flavorful sauce to a dish.
Finally, if you have plenty of time on your hands but not enough time to make a traditional demi-glace, we recommend making your very own sauce out of beef, chicken, or vegetable broth.
What’s The Difference Between Demi-Glace And Gravy?
A lot of people are easily mistaken when it comes to demi-glace and gravy.
So much so that some people don’t know the difference between the two.
To put it simply, demi-glace is a flavorful, rich sauce with a syrup-like texture and consistency.
Traditional recipes are complex and often take all day.
On the other hand, gravy is a meaty, savory-tasting sauce that has a varying texture and consistency.
It can be runny or thick. Authentic gravy doesn’t take anywhere near as long to make either.
Gravy granules even make it possible to make gravy in a couple of minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Demi Glace Powder?
Demi glace powder is a seasoning powder used to make a flavorful sauce for meat and vegetables.
Demi-glace powder is a powdered sauce used as a base for sauces and soups. It is made by reducing the liquid of a sauce or soup until it turns into a powder.
What Is Demi-Glace Made Of?
Demi-glace is a sauce that is the base for many other sauces, such as bechamel. It is made from browning butter in a saucepan, adding flour, and then adding a liquid, such as milk or stock, before cooking for several minutes. The liquid is then removed and the mixture is thickened with roux.
What Is Demi-Glace Used For?
Demi-Glace is a classic French sauce made with a rich brown stock, butter, flour, and herbs. It’s typically used to add flavor to braised meats and stews, as well as soups and sauces.
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