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How to make soubise, a 3-ingredient onion sauce for grilled meat

Jazz up your meat with this delicious sauce

A plate of onion sauce on pork chops
Quade / Adobe Stock

If you’re looking to level up your grilled meat dishes without using barbecue sauce, then soubise sauce is the sauce for you. This sauce is quick and easy to make. You only need a few ingredients and you’re good to go. By the way, it not only goes well with grilled meats, but it also pairs well with roasted meats and chicken.

In classical French Cuisine, the five mother sauces are the foundation of all the smaller sauces. One of these smaller sauces is the soubise sauce, which is an alteration of the béchamel mother sauce. With just a few simple pantry ingredients, you are on your way to a thick and velvety sauce that can elevate most meat dishes.

The traditional way to make soubise sauce is to blanch the onions, make a béchamel sauce, and then puree the onions and béchamel together. The more modern process is to add onion, butter, and cream and then puree. Either process will result in a nice, rich sauce you can spoon over roasted chicken, grilled steak, or even roasted pork loin.

A béchamel sauce is an easy way to create a creamy and flavorful sauce, but you need to cook the butter and flour sufficiently to avoid that floury starchy taste. However, if you use the three-ingredient recipe, you won’t have to worry about cooking the flour, and you will also make your sauce gluten-free!

The beauty of using mother sauces to create smaller sauces is that you can make variations of them. For example, the soubise sauce recipe calls for sliced and cooked onions. Another way to prepare the onions would be to smoke them at a low enough temperature to ensure they don’t char. You could even smoke the onions or roast them inside their husk,s so if they do char, you could easily remove the charred bits along with the husk.

This process would create an onion flavor with a hint of smokiness. After the onion is smoked, slice it up, place it in the saucepan with the cream and butter, and heat through. Then, continue to the blender and strainer. You successfully added some depth of flavor to your classic French sauce.

Maybe you’d like to add additional seasonings. You could add a cheese such as goat cheese, Comté, Parmesan, or even Gruyere. You could even play around with the types of onions you use. The recipe below uses white onions, but what if you used Vidalia onions or Walla Wallas?

Maybe you take it a step further by using only spring onions or cippolini onions. Of course, these onions are smaller than regular onions, so you would need to use more of them, but the spring flavors they bring out will be amazing.

If you have a meatless diet, you can drizzle these over roasted rosemary potatoes, cauliflower steaks, or how about a grilled portobello mushroom? The possibilities are endless and you can adjust however you like. Another idea is to add curry powder or saffron and create an international-style sauce.

Soubise sauce recipe

White onions
Obed Hernández / Unsplash

Soubise isn’t just a sauce; it can also be a casserole dish. All you need to do is add parboiled rice to the recipe below, add some grated cheese, and bake it until the rice is cooked through. The casserole is a perfect side dish for those roasted meats. You can find the complete recipe in Julia Child’s .


  • 2 medium white onions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups cup heavy cream
  • Salt to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Add the sliced onions and sweat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Be careful not to brown the onions. You want them to stay as white and clear as possible. There can be some discoloration, but not much.
  3. Add heavy cream and warm through.
  4. Salt to taste.
  5. Blend the onion and cream. Pass through a fine strainer to make the sauce even more velvety.
  6. Serve with your favorite roasted or grilled meat or poultry.

Classic soubise sauce recipe

Chopped white onion.
MaRaze / Shutterstock

Now that we’ve shown you the modern way to make the classic French soubise sauce, we thought it would be fun to share the classic recipe as well. If you want the authentic taste and have a little more time, here’s how to make soubise sauce the old-fashioned way by combining onions with béchamel sauce.

(From the Spruce Eats)


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound chopped onions
  • 1 quart béchamel sauce (recipe below)


  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent. Do not let them brown.
  3. Puree the onions in a food processor and return to pot.
  4. Whisk the béchamel sauce into the onions and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  5. Serve immediately.

Béchamel sauce recipe

Cook salting pot on the stove
RDNE Stock project / Pexels


  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1/4 medium onion, peeled
  • 2 to 3 whole cloves
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground white pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg


  1. Warm the milk in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. It should be warm, not hot.
  2. In a different heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the butter. Add the flour gradually until it’s fully mixed with the butter, making a roux.
  4. Heat the roux for a minute and then slowly add the milk, using a wire whisk to combine.
  5. Attach the bay leaf to the onion with the cloves and add to the sauce.
  6. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture should be reduced by about 20%.
  7. When the sauce is smooth and velvety, check to see if it is the right consistency. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  8. Remove from heat. Take out the onion, cloves, and bay leaf, and pour the sauce through a strainer.
  9. Season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Keep the sauce covered until you use it.

Editors' Recommendations

Joe Morales
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Joe Morales is a trained chef with over five years of experience working in fine dining and Michelin recommended restaurants…
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