Peppercorn sauce

Peppercorn sauce
Peppercorn sauce is a versatile sauce that is a popular accompaniment with beef steak, but it works well with many other foods; including haggis and chicken.
The ingredients in peppercorn sauce are actually quite flexible; you can use crème fraîche instead of heavy cream if preferred, and you can vary the number of peppercorns to your taste.
If you want a more luxurious sauce you can use fresh whole peppercorns, making the sauce thicker and with a stronger taste. Fresh peppercorns won't be dried, and are usually bought as small tins or jars.
Mixed peppercorns could also add a touch more flavour, colour and elegance to the sauce, as opposed to just using black peppercorns.
If you are cooking a steak at the same time, when you let the steak rest, or you remove them from the pan; capture all the beef juices and fats and add them to this peppercorn sauce. These fats and flavours add a huge boost to the taste of the sauce – so don't waste any!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine French
Servings 4


  • 150 ml double/heavy cream
  • 150 ml chicken stock
  • 1 small onion (finely minced)
  • 2 tbsp black or green peppercorns (cracked)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp  ground black pepper
  • salt


  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the onion, and gently cook until the onion has broken down – but don't let it brown.
  • Add the chicken stock and simmer until it has reduced by half.
  • Stir in the cream and the peppercorns, and heat through and simmer at a gentle heat for 5 minutes or until it thickens and reduces to the desired consistency. The sauce might need a little salt and seasoning, and it's best to do this during cooking so they impart the sauce – and should prevent too much being added!
  • Serve whilst hot. The sauce can be stored in a refrigerator and reheated later, but once made, it's best enjoyed the same day.


Is peppercorn sauce gluten free?

Yes, this sauce contains no gluten as it uses no flour.

Is peppercorn sauce vegetarian?

Yes, this sauce contains no animal products.

Is peppercorn sauce healthy?

Most sauces are calorie-dense, so to reduce the fat content you could use crème fraîche, which is a lower fat alternative.

Is peppercorn sauce spicy?

Whilst there is a gentle kick from the black peppercorns, this is not regarded as a spicy sauce, to reduce the kick though you could use milder green peppercorns instead.

A peppercorn sauce without cream

This sauce uses cream, but you could also use crème fraîche.

As of 2008, Vietnam was the world's largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world's Piper nigrum.