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3 Demi Glace Substitutes & Homemade Recipe

In the culinary world, certain flavors and techniques are revered for the depth and richness they bring to our palates.

Demi glace is one such ingredient—a luscious reduction that can elevate a dish from the everyday to the extraordinary.

But what do you do when you find yourself without this cooking elixir in your pantry? Fear not, as we’m here to share three simple substitutes and even a homemade recipe for bravely venturing into demi glace creation yourself.

Whether you’re a home cook, a food blogger, or a culinary enthusiast, this deep-dive into the world of demi glace brings a new level of mastery to your kitchen.

Key Takeaways:

  • Demi glace is a rich brown sauce used in classic French cuisine.
  • It can be substituted with mushroom-based demi glace, red wine reduction sauce, or vegetable broth reduction.
  • You can also make demi glace at home, using a combination of brown stock, espagnole sauce, and other ingredients.
  • Patience is crucial when making demi glace, as it requires slow cooking and constant monitoring.

Delving into Demi Glace: A Quick Overview

Before we explore its alternatives, it’s vital to understand what demi glace is and why it’s so special. This rich brown sauce—derived from a mixture of half brown stock and half espagnole sauce—is the backbone of classic French cuisine.

It’s renowned for its luxurious flavor, which is achieved through a time-consuming reduction process, often with the inclusion of meaty bones.

Used in beef dishes, game meats, and other savory delights, demi glace embodies the art of slow cooking and patience.

1 – Mushroom-based Alternative

Our first demi glace substitute caters to the growing population of plant-based epicureans. A mushroom-based demi glace is rich, meaty, and instead of using beef, it harnesses the umami power of fungi.

This alternative boasts a savory flavor akin to traditional demi glace, thanks to umami-packed mushrooms. It offers a dark, viscous texture that mimics the reduced state of classic demi glace.

The earthy undertones come from dried porcini, morel, or shiitake mushrooms. Their rehydrated broth, combined with a hint of tomato paste for added depth, creates a robust sauce. The texture should be glossy and coat the back of a spoon like its beefy counterpart.

Usage Tips and Substitution Ratio:

To use this substitute, employ a 1-1 ratio in place of demi glace in your favorite recipes. Balance the savory notes with a splash of red wine, which will also contribute to the color and complexity of the sauce.

2 – Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Our second alternative brings out the celebratory essence of red wine, offering a lighter, yet still deeply satisfying, alternative to demi glace.

A red wine reduction sauce is beautifully simple. It shines with the flavors of wine, so choose a good-quality, full-bodied red wine.

The reduction will concentrate the wine’s fruity and tannic elements, resulting in a sauce with a slightly sharp but complex flavor. The texture should be glossy and lightly cling to the dish.

Usage Tips and Substitution Ratio:

The key here is to reduce the wine to about a quarter of its original volume, then add a dash of stock, and reduce further. Maintain a 2-1 stock to wine reduction ratio for best results, or to taste. This substitute is perfect for enhancing the flavor of beef and lamb dishes.

3 – Vegetable Broth Reduction

Lastly, for our health-conscious and vegetarian readers, we present a striking demi glace alternative that champions vegetable power without compromising on taste.

A concoction that focuses on the depth and complexity of root vegetables and aromatics, this substitute achieves a similar effect to the beefy original.

The rich, stocky flavor comes from slowly reducing a flavorful vegetable broth until it develops a hearty, umami-rich taste. Its texture should be thick enough to lightly coat the spoon, indicating a concentrated flavor.

Usage Tips and Substitution Ratio:

For those looking to reduce their carbon footprint, this demi glace alternative provides a 1-1 substitute in most recipes utilizing a supportive cast of mushrooms, soy sauce, and even a hint of natural sweetener to round out the flavors.

Crafting Demi Glace at Home

Now, for the truly adventurous, I offer a step-by-step guide to creating your own demi glace in the comfort of your kitchen. Doing so will provide a connection to the foundations of fine cooking and an unparalleled sense of accomplishment.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Equal parts brown stock and espagnole sauce, or a mixture of the ingredients to make these
  • Mirepoix (onions, carrots, and celery)
  • Beef or veal bones, including marrow bones
  • Tomato paste
  • Bouquet garni (herb bundle)
  • Optional red wine for deglazing

Cooking Instructions:

Begin by roasting your bones, then sauté your mirepoix until caramelized. Deglaze with wine if desired, then add your stock, espagnole, and remaining ingredients. Simmer gently for several hours, skimming the surface often. Strain, cool, and reduce to your desired thickness.

Serving Suggestions:

Your homemade demi glace can be used immediately or portioned and frozen to add depth to future meals. It’s exceptional with roasted meats, in stews, or to enhance the flavor of gravies and sauces.

Tips on Making:

Patience is paramount in demi glace production. It’s a slow process that rewards the vigilant and the methodical. Keep an eye on the reduction, ensuring it doesn’t burn, and taste the demi glace periodically to adjust seasoning.


Homemade Demi Glace Recipe

This homemade demi glace recipe is perfect for those looking to add depth and complexity to their dishes. Made with a combination of brown stock, espagnole sauce, and other ingredients, this sauce will enhance the flavor of your meals and impress your guests.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Course Sauce
Cuisine French
Servings 6 people
Calories 158 kcal


  • Large pot or Dutch oven
  • Roasting pan
  • Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer


  • 2 lbs beef bones including marrow bones
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 4 oz tomato paste
  • 8 cups beef stock or veal
  • 1 cup espagnole sauce
  • 1 bouquet garni thyme, parsley, and bay leaves tied together
  • Optional: red wine for deglazing


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place beef bones in a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour until golden brown.
  • In a large pot or dutch oven, sauté onions, carrots, and celery until they begin to caramelize.
  • If using red wine, deglaze the pot with a splash of wine.
  • Add roasted bones, brown stock, espagnole sauce, tomato paste, and bouquet garni to the pot.
  • Bring mixture to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 4 hours, skimming the surface often.
  • After 4 hours, remove the pot from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Using a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer, strain the demi glace into a clean pot or bowl.
  • Return the strained liquid to low heat and continue to reduce until desired thickness is achieved.
  • Use immediately or portion and freeze for future use.


  • For a vegetarian option, substitute beef bones with vegetable stock and omit espagnole sauce.
  • If time allows, extra depth of flavor can be achieved by roasting the mirepoix (onion, carrots, celery) before adding to the pot. This step adds an additional 30 minutes to the prep time.
  • Adjust seasoning as needed, adding salt and pepper to taste. You can also add a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar for added depth.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 158kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 8gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 879mgPotassium: 914mgFiber: 3gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 3880IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 90mgIron: 3mg
Keyword homemade demi glace, substitutes for demi glace
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5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating