White wine sauce

  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 30 minutes


  • 300ml/10fl oz white wine
  • 250ml/9fl oz fresh double/heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. plain flour (Optional)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 25g/1oz butter
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
White wine sauce

This classic white wine sauce is the perfect accompaniment for white meat, fish or seafood. The process is very simple, but as with all sauces it requires patience and attention to do properly.

An often overlooked step when making a white wine sauce is selecting a decent wine. Though the wine need not be expensive, it is still important to use a wine that is palatable. For a white wine sauce I would avoid using “cooking wines” as they tend to be of low quality and often lack the complex subtleties that make a white wine sauce enjoyable.

In addition to complementing meals, white wine is also a fantastic base for making other sauces that bring out rich, subtle flavours; and we have an excellent article about the mother sauces which goes into more detail.


  1. Melt the butter in a pan, and gently fry the shallots and thyme for a few minutes or until the onion is soft but not coloured.
  2. Add the wine, bring to the boil and boil the mixture for 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Stir in the cream and mustard and warm through thoroughly. If you want to thicken the sauce further, you can add one or two tablespoons of plain flour and mix it through the sauce.
  3. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and some salt and black pepper to taste.
  4. Strain into a jug and serve.
In ancient Greece, a dinner host would take the first sip of wine to assure guests the wine was not poisoned, hence the phrase “drinking to one’s health.”

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Caroline Hug - Aug 26, 2013, 15:54


Can I freeze cream based sauces?

KitchenGeekery - Sep 08, 2013, 16:56


I would recommend not freezing creamy sauces, they can split or impair flavour quite easily… unsure what everyone else’s experiences have been?

Kevin Dempsey - Dec 24, 2013, 08:25


This is a fantastic sauce - one that I use over and over again.

Kathy - Mar 11, 2018, 15:47


What kind of wine do you suggest for this?

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