Demi-glace substitutes can be a quick solution if you can’t access the authentic one or have enough time to cook a fresh batch.
As you might know, it requires days to produce demi-glace successfully, so you might want to start really soon before you cook with it.
If not, scroll my list and save your recipe. Most of my options are pantry-friendly, family-friendly, and exceptionally delicious.
Some can go straight to your dish, while some might need to adjust a little bit to mimic the texture and flavor of demi-glace.
Let’s take time to read each of the alternatives carefully. This way, you will know how to work with them and make them a perfect part of what you’re cooking.
Table of Contents
Demi-glace is a classic French brown sauce made by simmering beef stock, chicken stock, or even vegetable stock for days until it becomes thick, velvety, and intensely flavorful. Traditional demi-glace is made with veal.
Demi means “half,” so the name implies the half-and-half ratio of brown broth and Espagnole sauce. This sauce is then reduced by half and strained carefully to remove any unwanted impurities.
To round up, people often add sherry wine to create a perfect aroma which everyone loves. Demi-glace can be used alone or as a base for other delicious recipes such as stews, soups, sauces, dressings, and more.
Let’s see how to use, portion, and store demi-glace now!
Depending on what you have in your refrigerator, whether they’re beef bones, chicken bones, or vegetables, you can make an excellent replacement for demi-glace at home if you’re in the middle of a recipe.
|Demi-glace Substitutes||Recommended For|
|Chicken Stock||Soups, stews, sauces, and glazes|
|Beef Stock||Pork, steaks, lamb dishes, stews, and soups|
|Beef Consomme||Stews, gravies, soups; can be used to braise meats and vegetables|
|Concentrated Stock||Soups, stews, marinades, sauces, stir-fries, grilled foods, and meat dishes|
|Beef Broth Brown Gravy||Meats, meatballs, turkey, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes and is excellent for soups, stews, and stuffings|
|Mushroom Stock||Risotto, soups, sauces, and stews|
|Demi-Glace Concentrates||Soups, stews, and braising|
|Bouillon Cubes||Casseroles, stews, soups, and more|
|Thickened Vegetable Stock||Salad dressings, casseroles, gravies, pasta, and grains|
|Homemade Demi-Glace||Stews, soups, sauces, dressings, and more|
Let’s scan my following list to find a possible alternative you could prepare right now!
Chicken stock can be an excellent candidate in a place of demi-glace. Plus, it’s easier to cook than you imagine. Just toss chicken bones, aromatic vegetables, spices, and herbs in a pot and let it simmer for a couple of hours.
When done, the chicken stock features a deep golden color with a clean, mild, meaty flavor. Depending on your taste, you can add more spices and seasonings to mimic the aroma of demi-glace.
A thickening agent might be needed to enhance the texture because the chicken stock is pretty thin.
As far as I know, chicken broth is essential to making great-tasting sauces, soups, stews, and glazes.
Let’s make delicious chicken stock for your next soup recipe!
2. Beef Stock
Demi-glace is made by prolonged simmering beef stock; therefore, it’s possible to consider the beef stock as a substitute when you haven’t prepare demi-glace beforehand, and also don’t have all day in the kitchen.
It’s said that beef stock is the best option for beef demi-glace because they feature the same flavor profile. However, the beef stock might not have a rich taste and thick texture like the demi-glace version. For this reason, don’t add more water to the stock to avoid diluting its savor.
At best, it offers a savory, potent beef flavor with a thin, smooth consistency. It would be helpful if you could roast bones before simmering, this will bring a richer mouthfeel and deeper aroma.
Beef stock performs well in pork, steaks, lamb dishes, or it can be used in a recipe that requires a tremendous amount of liquid like stews and soups.
Do you want a less labor-intensive yet still flavorful alternative for demi-glace? Beef consomme will be your best choice which you can easily make at the comfort of your house. All you need is ground beef, beef or veal stock, tomato, eggs, aromatic vegetables, and herbs.
As you can see, beef consomme is made from concentrated beef stock so that it can impart a rich, full-bodied, and strong beef flavor to your recipes, such as soups, gravies, and stews. Many people would like to use it to braise meats and vegetables.
In terms of texture, it features a brown, clear, and mellow liquid. If you’re lazy, opt for canned products which are available in the nearest grocery store. Keep in mind that you should buy low-sodium ones for the sake of your health.
4. Concentrated Stock
Concentrated stock products are widely sold in supermarkets and grocery stores, which you can use as a stand-in for demi-glace when you’re not in the mood for time-consuming cooking recipes.
They’re made by reducing chicken or beef broth to produce a concentrated and rich paste that might be a part of soups, stews, marinades, sauces, and meat dishes.
Thanks to their intense aroma, people often consider them a quick way to boost the flavor of dishes such as stir-fries or coat grilled foods.
High-quality concentrated stock often doesn’t consist of colorings, preservatives, artificial additives and also is gluten-free and dairy-free.
Beef broth brown gravy can be on the table in about 10-15 minutes so it can be a quick fix for your recipes if you run out of demi-glace. They both have the same consistency and color.
This rich and delicious gravy comes with a thick and creamy texture resulting from adding thickening agents such as cornstarch or flour.
It pairs well with meats, meatballs, turkey, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes and is excellent for soups, stews, and stuffings.
Although you can shop for a wide range of brown gravy products in the supermarket, including the powdered form, I think homemade versions still taste far better.
Decide to make beef gravy yourself? Check this out now!
With umami-rich flavor, mushrooms can make an incredible stock that can replace demi-glace if you prefer vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Not only delicious and comforting, but the mushroom stock is also an excellent source of plant-based proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
This stock should be simmered for a minimum of 15 minutes or up to 1 hour so that mushrooms can release their full flavors: deep and rich. Plus, they feature aromatic savors from other ingredients.
It’s quite versatile and can work well with many recipes, including risotto, soups, sauces, and stews.
Make sure the stock has cooled completely before storing it in the fridge or freezer.
7. Demi-Glace Concentrates
Demi-glace concentrates can help you to get a homemade demi-glace version in 5 minutes. All you need to do is follow the manufacturer’s cooking instructions and add a recommended amount of this paste to water.
The ingredients of demi-glace concentrate will vary depending on who makes it. You can try a few reputable products and choose the brand that you like the most.
Some high-end demi-glace concentrates are made with real beef, veal or chicken stock, aromatic vegetables, tomato paste, and red wine. Most of them are gluten-free, trans-fat-free and no MSG added.
They’re believed to add depth and complexity to your recipe and are perfect for making soups, stews, and braising.
8. Bouillon Cubes
I think bouillon cubes are a pantry-friendly staple that might be readily available in your kitchen. For those who wonder, these cubes are made from dehydrated vegetable or meat broth, salt, fat, seasonings, and MSG. (1)
They feature a wide range of flavors from beef, pork, chicken, and vegetables. Just drop a cube into the pot, add water, and you can have an intensely flavorful broth to replace demi-glace.
They’re known to add an umami-rich and savory aroma to the dish and are considered a great addition to casseroles, stews, soups, and more.
9. Thickened Vegetable Stock
Thickened vegetable stock is another brilliant option for people who love plant-based foods. It is aromatic and savory, which can pair well with various dishes such as salad dressings, casseroles, gravies, pasta, and grains.
To get the consistency like demi-glace, you must add flour to the boiling pot and stir well until the stock becomes dense. It’s easy to adjust its thickness by using more or less amount of flour.
First, you need to have vegetable stock to start making this demi-glace substitute. You can use any vegetable you have in the kitchen, preferably onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Keep in mind that you should add an equal amount of each to achieve a balanced flavor.
Here’s a step-by-step instruction in case you need it right now.
- 4 celery stalks
- 1 small bunch of fresh parsley
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Step 1: After rinsing them under running water to remove dirt, you start chopping all the vegetables coarsely. Then, put them in a high-quality pot and fill them with water a few inches above the vegetable.
Step 2: Start cooking with medium-high heat until boiling, then switch to medium-low heat and simmer for about 1 hour. Stir occasionally so that the vegetables are evenly cooked.
Step 3: When done, strain the stock with a colander and store it in the freezer for subsequent use.
This is the most flavorful vegetable broth you’ve ever made!
10. Homemade Demi-Glace
This homemade demi-glace is a short version of restaurant-style demi-glace, and it takes nearly 2 hours to complete. Therefore, you can try to make it at home as a demi-glace substitute.
It’s rich and meaty and can be used alone or as an ingredient for other dishes.
Below is how-to instruction to make homemade demi-glace:
- 5 cups of low-sodium beef stock
- 2 tablespoons of clarified butter
- A half-cup of chopped yellow onions
- A quarter cup of chopped celery
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- A quarter cup of chopped carrots
- 6 fresh parsley stems
- A quarter cup of all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- 8 whole peppercorns
- Step 1: Pack the bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme, and parsley stems with a cheesecloth. Tie it up to form a spice sachet.
- Step 2: In a pot, melt butter and add chopped carrots, onions, and celery. Keep stirring the ingredients to keep them from getting burnt. You should do so until the onion turns semi-transparent.
- Step 3: Add all-purpose flour and continue stirring until the flour turns to a light brown color.
- Step 4: Fill the pot with 3 cups of beef stock, choose medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- Step 5: Lower the heat, put the sachet into the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Step 6: Strain the stock with a fine mesh colander, use a spoon to press on the sauteed vegetables to filter out all the liquid from it.
- Step 7: Put the pot back to heat, add the used sachet and the rest of the beef stock. Repeat Steps 4 and 5, but simmer for 50 minutes.
- Step 8: Remove the sachet and strain again through a colander with a new cheesecloth.
- Step 9: Depending on your cooking purpose, you can add salt or not.
Curious about an almost instant version of demi-glace? Here’s how.
Let’s find out more about popularly-asked questions you might have about demi-glace. Keep reading and note down what you’re interested in for better cooking.
It’s the truth that everyone will love steaks with demi-glace once they have a chance to try this combination.
However, not all people could find demi-glace as an easy-to-access ingredient whenever they sear steaks or any red meats. Therefore, demi-glace substitutes are proven to be necessary because they’re readily available and can make up for the lack of demi-glace ideally.
If you’re like me, who always has beef or chicken stock handy in the fridge, you can prepare your own sauce for steaks without having to skip this step. For those who are vegetarians, mushroom stock or vegetable stock can be used instead.
I love demi-glace, and sometimes I spend time cooking a batch of it, but most of the time, I find its alternatives are helpful enough.
- En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Bouillon cube – Wikipedia.
- En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Demi-glace – Wikipedia.