Demi-glace (from the French word glace, meaning “glaze”) is a rich, flavorful, brown sauce that can be used as a base for other sauces or on its own. Traditional components of classic demi-glace are one part beef stock to one part Espagnole.
Espagnole is a type of “base sauce” in classic French cuisine that uses a combination of tomato paste, mirepoix (chopped onion, carrot, celery), and beef stock that has been thickened with roux.
Another method for making demi-glace is simmering stock and wine, with added herbs and aromatics, until it is reduced and concentrated.
If you don’t have time to create a demi-glace, what can you use as a substitute?
Substitutes include reduced, thickened beef broth, condensed beef stock, jarred beef gravy, or beef consommé. Thickened mushroom stock is a great choice if you need a vegan substitution for your demi-glace.
What to Use in Place of Demi-Glace
Whether you’re following a classic French recipe or wanting to add impressive flavor to your dish, demi-glace packs a powerful punch. When short on time or ingredients, the following substitutions will work in place of demi-glace.
Reduced Beef Broth
Homemade beef broth or stock would be a wonderful choice but store-bought would work equally as well, is affordable, and easy to find. Simply simmer your broth until it is reduced by half and thickened enough that it will coat the back of a spoon.
Condensed Beef Stock
Condensed broth or stock is readily available in most supermarkets and online stores. The condensed form becomes broth by reconstituting with hot water and the flavor becomes more mellow, the more water is added. Condensed beef stock is a great substitution for demi-glace as it is already thickened and extremely flavorful.
Jarred Beef Gravy
A jarred beef gravy is the correct consistency to match a demi-glace very well and has the same rich brown color and thickness. Jarred gravy would be preferable to a powdered beef gravy mix as the flavor intensity is superior and getting the right level of reconstitution to equal a demi-glace can be tricky. Try this substitution as a replacement for demi-glace as a sauce or braising liquid.
Beef consommé is an intensely flavored form of broth that has been clarified to remove solids and impurities. It is much lighter in color than typical beef broth but much more concentrated in flavor and consistency. Consomme very closely mimics the flavor profile of a rich demi-glace and would be a great substitution when needing a sauce or braising liquid.
Reduced Mushroom Stock
When needing a vegan option, reduced and thickened mushroom stock is an excellent substitute for demi-glace. Mushroom is often a beef replacement in vegan dishes to achieve the desired flavor profile. Simply bring your mushroom stock to a low boil and simmer until it is reduced by half and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Whichever of these substitutions you choose to utilize in place of a demi-glace, your outcome will not disappoint. As long as your method bestows a flavor intensity comparable to demi-glace, the results will yield a delicious dish with no noticeable difference.