How to Make a Basic Pan Sauce




  • Large sauté pan
  • Spoon


  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons, divided)
  • Garlic (2 cloves, sliced)
  • Shallots (4 cloves, minced)
  • Salt (2 teaspoons, divided)
  • White wine (1/4 cup)
  • Cherry tomatoes (2 1/2 cups, halved)


  1. Coat a cold sauce pan with one tablespoon of olive oil and add shallots and garlic. Bring the heat to medium-high. Add a pinch of salt to extract the natural oils of the shallots and garlic. 01:41

  2. To deglaze the pan, take the pan off the heat and add the white wine. 04:30

  3. Add the tomatoes to the pan with another pinch of salt. Let this cook down for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 05:57

  4. Using the back of your spoon, gently smash some of the tomatoes. 08:06

  5. To finish, take the pan off the heat and add the rest of the olive oil. Serve over pasta with some Parmesan and basil, or use as the base of a meat sauce. 08:53


Various fats can be used as the base for these sauces. Butter and olive oil will yield slightly different results in terms of flavor and texture.

“Fond” is a French culinary term meaning “base” or “foundation.” It refers to the flavorful browned bits at the bottom of a pan that become integrated into a sauce.

Avoid using a non-stick pan when making sauces, as it will prevent the fond from developing on the bottom of the pan.

Water, liquor, brandy and wine can all be used to deglaze the pan, but different liquids will work with different recipes. Red wine has a robust flavor that goes well with meat, whereas white wine has a crisper flavor that works with vegetables, chicken, and seafood.

A mirepoix, or mixture of chopped celery, onion, and carrots, is a great start for any basic sauce.