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Simple homemade bread sauce recipe

bread sauce ingredientsI got up quite early this morning to check the washing machine and dishwasher. One or other was leaking massively. It looked like both but discovered that it was the dishwasher and put a load of clothes on to wash while I did the big shop. I like shopping (don’t get out much at the moment) and had taken up Amanda’s idea of a meal plan. My list shimmered with an orchestra of relevant ingredients. Although I was tempted by a prima donna, not on the list. I signed her up on the spot. Spinach, in case you are wondering..

Rushing off to work this afternoon with the happy thought that Danny would be cooking roast chicken for supper, I was stopped in my tracks by this comment.
“I forgot to put bread sauce on the list!”

Danny and I are addicted to the Schwartz Luxury Bread Sauce Mix. For a moment I dithered. Danny’s roast chicken just wouldn’t be the same without bread sauce. I looked at the options. I could drive to Cambridge via Newmarket and get a pack. This would be a ridiculous waste of time and petrol.

Sometimes I am horrified how set in our ways we’ve become. Even though I say that we cook from scratch, we do use this instant ingredient a lot. I hadn’t thought about it until today. It was just something that we like and buy regularly. Quick reckoning tells me that the just the bread sauce element of our roast chicken meal costs £1.00/$2, with milk and electricity.

As I was pressed for time and am on the save 25% challenge I considered all options and finally settled on the most practical solution.

Why not have a go at making our own bread sauce?

When I announced this thought to Danny the response was quick.
“But do you know how to make it?”
“Well yes and no. In the olden days everyone made it. It can’t be hard.”
I could understand his aprehension. The Shwartz mixes are good.

I was in a rush so didn’t have time to examine our recipe books to find the best recipe. Occasionally in the past I had seen bread sauce kept warm with an onion studded with a few cloves sitting in the saucepan.

I quickly poured half a pint of milk into a saucepan, peeled and halved an onion, tossed in some blade mace and a couple of cloves and let the ingredients come to simmering point. I removed the saucepan from the heat to infuse until I returned from work. I also found a small end of a white loaf that I had secreted in the freezer just before it went stale.

I checked Prue Leith when I got home for the amount of bread needed and a method. Her recipe includes butter and cream and refers to bread crumbs.

The former too fattening, the latter too much of a hassle.

I removed the onion and spices. Then I cubed the bread and added it, and brought the milk slowly up to simmering point again. After a few minutes the bread softened and became a sauce. I added a large pinch of salt, pinch of nutmeg and quite a bit of freshly ground white pepper.

Danny tasted the bread sauce gingerly,
“Yes. It tastes just like bread sauce mix.” After I added the nutmeg he courageously sampled a bit more.” Great.. Less salty than Schwartz and much more subtle.”

Our bread sauce saved a bit of dosh too – 50% including the electricity and took just 10 minutes to prepare and cook after steeping.

Simple homemade bread sauce recipe


  • Half a pint of milk
  • 1 small onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 piece of blade mace 1.5cm X0.25cm
  • Large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 50g of fresh white bread cubed or crumbed
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste


  1. Put the milk, onion, blade mace, cloves and nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to simmering point and allow to infuse for at least an hour.
  2. Remove the onion and spice and add the cubed bread. Bring to simmering point and allow the mixture to simmer gently until the bread has broken down and with the milk and has formed a sauce. Season with salt and paper to taste.
  3. Pour into a warm dish and serve with roast chicken or turkey.

Before D lived in England, he had never tasted bread sauce. He’s now a convert. He agrees that it is an essential part of the quartet – roast chicken, streaky bacon, really good gravy, and bread sauce. For a feast, we’d both add Fred’s chipolatas but never stuffing. D uses the cavity to create exceptional gravy and ingredients that infuse the bird and create a melt in the mouth dish plus gravy to die for. But that’s another story…

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Magic Cohin

    Bread sauce is something that either gets you by the short and curlies or just flops.

    I grew up with bread sauce but only began to really appreciate it in my thitrties. Danny was introduced to it just a few years ago. His Sunday roasts are sublime. I just had to add bread sauce to his roast chicken. He is now a convert.

    I blogged this as I had become addicted to the Schwartz sauce and had to make my own (due to non availablitity!) Next time I’m going to try Kate’s idea of butter and cream! Just to taste the full fat twist – and I reckon that it must be sublime.

    Hi Mildred,

    Having introduced D to the delights of BS he couldn’t contemplate roast chicken without it! I love it and the dogs didn’thave any leftovers this morning for breakfast.

    Hi KJ

    I love it too. It is wonderful with roast chicken – I’ve even added it to chicken sandwiches in a naughty past life.

    Hi Kate

    Thanks so much for the tips. Much appreciated.

    Why not use the heat from the oven to cook the bread sauce? A perfect use of power. Lateral thinking that passed me by.

    We are using the steamer (saucepan) like mad now. Great veg on one ring. I used this all the time in the 80™s and 90™s why did I give up? No matter, we™re back now.

    Hi Amelia

    Bread sauce is great with roast chicken. A strange yet delicate sauce. Beware, if you taste a good one you may become addicted.

    You have a great car. Better not to show Jalopy the photographs…

    Hi Pat,

    I™m impressed by you making your very own Tartare Sauce! Having dived n for the bread sauce, why not make more sauces? I love tartare sauce “Danny does too and wonders if you have a good recipe?

    Hi Kate USA

    Great that you are enjoying the site!

    Bread sauce is best ever eaten with chicken and turkey. The smoothness matches the texture perfectly. When you make it, you™ll sample it and wonder what the applause is all abut. Don™t change it (tempting) as when you taste it with the meat all should unfurl. It is subtle, delicate and almost made me spend 4 x the value of the ingredients to fetch a pack yesterday.

    Take Kate (UK)™s tip and add butter and cream and it will be sublime!
    Hi Amanda

    Good bread sauce is the ultimate comfort food. I reckon in the past it was used to pad out the meat and add moisture to dried out flesh. We love it and I miss it when we eat roast chicken without this luscious, delicately flavoured sauce.

    Hi Mildred

    I reckon that homemade sauces are the best apart from tomato ketchup. Do you have a good recipe?

  2. oooh Pat, tartare sauce sounds good, have you made mayonnaise I wonder?

  3. Like Magic Cochin bread sauce didn’t really feature in our family meals. My first Christmas cooking for Hubs I was preparing everything and he asked where the bread sauce was. I asked what bread sauce. He then told me he always had bread sauce with Christmas Dinner and it wouldn’t be the same without it. I looked up how to make it. We didn’t have cloves, I ran around to neighbours asking for cloves and eventually got some. I made the bread sauce, half hoping it would catch in his throat, inducing a small and painless coughing fit. Now I make it every year but usually when everything is almost ready to be served. Expletives escape my mouth and like a maniac I quickly boil up some chopped onion, cloves and milk. I then take the cloves out, add chunks of bread, grate some nutmeg over and blitz with the stick blender. Quick, easy, not authentic, but it doesn’t taste any worse or better than my mother in laws… I’m not that fond of it. Maybe I’ve never had decent bread sauce.

  4. Kate - USA

    I love your website! It is so much fun to read about your domestic life in England; some things are quite different in the US. For example, I have never heard of bread sauce. Can you explain a little more about it? Thank you so much for taking the time to blog all these fascinating things.

  5. Ohhhh sounds yummy!!! And so does Kate’s version. I actually made my own tartare sauce for the first time last week and it was a big hit with Brian. Sounds like I may be doing a few more homemade sauces. Thanks Fiona and all!!!

  6. Sounds wonderful. Cannot wait to try this, never have had this but should be wonderful. Thanks.

  7. Kate(uk)

    Even cheaper- put the milk in an ovenproof bowl deep enough to cover the onion.Cut criss cross slashes in the top of the onion so the flavour can escape. Stick cloves in it. Put it in the bowl of milk and put the bowl in the oven with the roasting chicken so it warms through and the flavour gets into the milk. You can even take out the onion later, add breadcrumbs, stir regularly and cook it in the oven from start to finish- less reliable than finishing in a saucepan, but possible.
    I always add a knob of butter, a tablespoon of cream ( or half fat creme fraiche)and ground red peppercorns- very yummy!

  8. I like bread sauce, but I rarely think to make it. I am going to give your recipe a try.

  9. I keep forgetting how good bread sauce is! And your speedy method is just the job for a last minute addition – thanks Fi!

  10. magic cochin

    🙂 I like bread sauce (Cliff luuuuuuuuvs bread sauce) but it’s a Christmas only treat for us, elevating the Christmas roast bird above the regular Sunday dinner. I had never had bread sauce until I cooked Christmas dinner for Cliff – he asked for bread sauce. !!! panic !!! it was never in my families repertoire! Apparently Cliff’s friend Jane cooked a bread sauce to die for, so I felt under pressure!!!!
    I follow a recipe in an ancient edition of the Good Housekeeping Cook Book, I think my bread sauce is pretty good (but I haven’t tasted Jane’s so can’t really judge). I buy a good white loaf from Waitrose a week before Christmas and leave it to go a bit dry then whizz it into breadcrumbs in the processor. I have all the crumbs I need for the festive stuffings and bread sauce.


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