White creamy French sauce in a pot with spices next to a small pitcher of milk and basil leaves
What Is Soubise Sauce, And What Does It Taste Like?
By Carly Weaver
Béchamel, velouté, espagnole, sauce tomate, and hollandaise are considered the five foundational French sauces from which all other sauces are derived. Soubise sauce is a derivative or variation of its mother sauce, béchamel — a simple mixture of roux (cooked flour and fat) and dairy.
Soubise is essentially a béchamel sauce mixed with sautéed onions and it’s traditionally served with meats, fish, and eggs, in dishes like scalloped potatoes and lasagna. To make this sauce, simply sautée onions in butter until they’re soft and cooked (but not browned), purée the cooked onions, whisk in bechamel sauce, and bring it to a simmer.
Like béchamel, soubise is rich and velvety, but the buttery onions add an extra layer of dimension and just a hint of that caramelized flavor. You can experiment with soubise sauce by replacing the béchamel sauce with cream, whisking in shredded cheese, adding tomato purée, or including different spices like curry powder, nutmeg, or cayenne pepper.