Bread Sauce: A British Holiday Tradition

Yield: Makes 2 cups (500 mL)

It’s almost inconceivable for me to think of a holiday turkey without bread sauce. It’s so traditional in Britain, and one of the classic sauces.

Gravy is great on potatoes and other veggies, but you can’t beat bread sauce on your bird. In medieval times, bread was used to thicken sauces as a way of using up stale loaves, and now bread sauce is the last survivor of these recipes. It’s so quick and easy to make, and you probably already have the ingredients in your cupboards and fridge, so go British this holiday season, and give it a whirl! 


6 cloves

1 medium onion, skin removed

6 black peppercorns

Few blades of mace or 1 bay leaf

2 cups (500 mL) milk

1 Tbs butter

100 g white breadcrumbs, best made in a food processor from day old bread

To taste salt and pepper

2 Tbs (30 mL) single cream (optional)


  1. Stud the onion with the cloves, and place in a saucepan with the peppercorns and mace or bay leaf. Pour in the milk and heat, stirring occasionally until hot.
  2. Cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
  3. Discard the peppercorns and mace or bay leaf, and add butter and breadcrumbs. Heat until thickened, stirring often. Remove onion, season to taste (it’s good with lots of pepper) and stir in cream if using. Add more breadcrumbs if the sauce is too runny, or add a little milk if it’s too thick.
  4. Leave to cool and freeze up to a month, or pour into a warmed gravy boat or bowl and serve immediately.
  5. Tip: Can be made up to three days in advance and reheated on the hob or in a microwave on medium for 3 minutes.

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