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The skill to prepare outstanding white sauce is one of the characteristics of a great cook.

Sauces complement a dish, adding flavor and texture, turning dry, unpalatable food into juicy, appetizing fare.

Sauce basics

Sauces enhance cooked food in many different ways.

The sauce may enrich the flavor of the dish by using some of the cooking liquid and some added thickening.

The sauce may contrast the dish, in the way that a sharp, slightly acidic apple sauce cuts through the richness of pork meat, or redcurrant sauce may complement a game dish and a cold mint sauce enhances lamb.

A strong flavored sauce may boost the mild flavor of the main ingredient, like a cheese sauce does to cauliflower.


Thin sauces serve as a base for soups.

Pouring sauces just accompany and enhance a dish, either fish, meat, and vegetables. Sweet sauces are served with puddings and desserts.

A coating sauce is of a thicker consistency and the thickest of all sauces, known as panada is used to bind foods together and as a base for soufflés.