An easy au jus recipe is a simple sauce that can be made in just 5 minutes. With this recipe, you don’t even need to have beef drippings on hand! Use it to drizzle over your favorite cuts of meat, pair with French dip sandwiches, and more.
about this au jus recipe
I absolutely adore a rich au jus, especially when it’s served alongside a classic French dip sandwich. This sauce is a staple in the culinary world and a secret weapon that elevates even the simplest of dishes.
The beauty of any au jus lies in its versatility. It’s not only the ideal dipping sauce but also an excellent option to drizzle over your favorite meat cuts. It really enhances their flavor!
What’s even better is that creating this au jus sauce requires just a handful of basic ingredients, and it doesn’t compromise on taste.
The truth is, this au jus recipe is very versatile. While traditional au jus relies on the precious drippings from a beef roast, the version I’m about to share with you can be made with or without those flavorful meat juices. It’s an excellent option when you want to whip up a quick roast beef slider or a French dip sandwich to dip in au jus, but you don’t have a reserve of beef drippings on hand.
Now, as we transition into the fall and winter months, I find myself preparing more roast beef recipes. Having a reliable au jus recipe in my arsenal is a must. This sauce is not only light and full of flavor, but also serves as a fantastic means to keep meats moist when you’re reheating them.
The best part? You can whip up this au jus in a mere 5 minutes, transforming your dishes with an infusion of rich, savory goodness. Whether it’s a French dip, roast beef, or any other meal, this au jus will undoubtedly elevate your culinary creations to a new level of deliciousness.
what is au jus?
Au jus is a term that simply means “with juice” in French. It is a delightful and versatile sauce or light gravy. Traditionally, it’s prepared using the drippings and juices obtained from cooking beef. Therefore, I’m sure you can understand why it gets its name “au jus”. The sauce complements a variety of meat dishes, including beef, lamb, and chicken.
In the United States, the most common association we have with au jus is its pairing with a classic French dip sandwich. This iconic sandwich features tender, thinly sliced beef nestled between slices of bread and often topped with cheese. What makes it truly special is the dipping ritual. The sandwich is dipped into a flavorful bath of au jus, lending it not only its name but also a unique and scrumptious taste.
Beyond its legendary combination with French dip sandwiches, au jus has a lot more to offer. It’s a companion for roast beef, enhancing the flavors of the meat and adding a touch of elegance to the dish. Furthermore, it can elevate your experience with lamb, lending a subtle, savory note to each succulent bite. Even chicken dishes can benefit from a drizzle of au jus, creating a harmonious union of flavors.
Au jus is a quintessential culinary component that has transcended its origins. It provides a savory touch to numerous dishes, making each meal an opportunity to savor the rich, comforting essence of this delectable sauce. Whether it’s a simple French dip or a gourmet roast, au jus is a versatile companion that elevates your dining experience.
drippings (or butter). Use the drippings from your roasting pan that you used for roasting beef! If you don’t have any drippings, you can use unsalted butter instead. I do not recommend using salted butter, as it will make the sauce too salty.
beef broth (or juices). A high-quality beef broth or beef stock is preferred. If you can use a homemade recipe, that is the best. You can also use bone broth, if you prefer. Alternatively, if you have enough juices from the roast beef, you can also use those in the recipe.
Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire sauce is a fermented sauce with a base of vinegar and is flavored with molasses, sugar, onion, garlic, and other flavorings (depending on the brand). It gives an added depth of flavor to the mixture.
red wine. Use a drinking red wine. I prefer to use a dry red wine like a Cabernet sauvignon. You should also use a wine that you enjoy drinking, since you will have some leftover to enjoy.
spices. If you are not using drippings, you will want to add in garlic powder and onion powder.
herbs. Fresh herbs are not always added into au jus, but I love the flavor it brings. Usually I use a sprig of rosemary, but a sprig of thyme also works!
this recipe’s must haves
like to use a fine mesh strainer to strain out any clumps or bits that might form from the drippings. This ensures that you have a completely smooth sauce.
here’s how to make au jus
bring to a boil
Add drippings to a saucepan over medium heat. If you are not using drippings, use 2 Tablespoons butter. Stir in beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine. Whisk in garlic powder and onion powder, if using. Add herb sprig, if using, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain out the herb sprig and any other bits from the drippings.
Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm with prime rib, roast beef, pot roast, or french dip.
tips and tricks
whisk well. Make sure that you whisk the au just well as it is cooking. This will help prevent it from getting too clumpy. Don’t worry if there are some bits in there, though. You will be straining the mixing to get it perfectly smooth.
use high-quality beef broth. Make sure that you are using good quality beef broth or beef stock to get the best flavor. You can also use beef bone broth!
use drippings. For the best flavor, you will want to use drippings from the roasting pan. However, if this isn’t available, don’t worry! I’ve got you covered.
what is au jus sauce made of?
Au jus sauce is made from the drippings of a beef roast, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and red wine. I also like to throw in a sprig of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme for added flavor, but this isn’t traditional and is completely optional.
can you use beef broth instead of au jus?
While au jus is a thinner liquid like beef broth, they are not the same thing. Beef stock or beef broth is used in the au jus recipe. Au jus actually uses drippings from a roasting pan, making it a light sauce. Even if you don’t have the drippings to work with, this recipe gives added flavor that beef broth and stock just do not have.
what is the difference between au jus and gravy?
Au jus and gravy are similar, but they are not the same thing. While both recipes are made with pan drippings from a roast, au just is a much thinner, lighter sauce. Gravy, on the other hand, is a thickened sauce that uses a roux as the base. Gravy is traditionally poured over a meal, whereas au jus can be used to pour over or as a sauce to dip in.
do I have to use drippings to make this au jus?
You do not have to use drippings to make this au jus! If you have the drippings from roast beef or pot roast, definitely use that. However, this recipe also offers options for when you do not have any drippings to incorporate into the sauce.
If you don’t have the drippings, you will need to add in 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder to add more flavor to the sauce.
can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, this is an easy recipe to make ahead of time. When stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it will last for up to 3 to 4 days.
what kind of red wine should I use?
The red wine that you use for this au jus recipe doesn’t have to be expensive. I recommend using a dry red drinking wine, not a cooking wine, to get the best flavor. Since the au just has such limited ingredients, the sauce will highlight the flavors of the wine you use. I recommend using one that you enjoy drinking! Especially since you won’t be using the whole bottle and will have some leftover to pair with your meal.
do I have to use fresh herbs?
The fresh herbs in this recipe are optional! I personally enjoy the added flavor, but it is not a requirement. Technically, it’s not the way a traditional au jus is made. Yes, I am bucking tradition a bit, but sometimes even the classic recipes need a little revamping.
Need more inspiration for dinner tonight? Check out my dinner recipes page!
what to serve with au jus
Au jus is perfect for serving with your favorite sandwiches and meats. The classic combination is serving a cup of it with a french dip sandwich or roast beef sliders. You can also serve it with herb crusted rack of lamb, slow cooker pot roast, and instant pot pot roast. It’s an easy sauce to dip in or pour over your favorite recipes, and it can also be used in place of gravy.
For more creative ways to use au jus (or to use up leftover au jus) that don’t just include freezing it into cubes, here’s some new ideas!
Use it as a base for vegetable soup. It can be used in place of broth called for in soup recipes!
Dunk hunks of crusty bread in it.
Use it as the liquid in a marinade for your favorite cuts of meat!
It can be used to add flavor to gravy, pasta sauces, and more.
Stir it into your next risotto to add a burst of flavor!
how to store and freeze
Store. Au jus can be kept in an airtight container after cooling it completely in the refrigerator. It will last for up to 3 to 4 days.
Reheat. Reheat the sauce in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through. You can also reheat it in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl.
Freeze. To freeze au jus, I like to add it to ice cube trays! Freeze the cubes after cooling the au jus completely, then transfer them to a resealable freezer safe plastic bag or airtight container. The cubes will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Thaw. To thaw, reheat on the stove over low heat until warmed through.
Finally, if you make this au jus recipe, please be sure to give this recipe a rating and/or leave a comment! I love to hear when you all make recipes, and I do take the time to respond to every single comment.
Feel free to drop questions below too, if you have them!
Oh and be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make the recipe! I love being able to see these recipes come to life in your homes – it’s my favorite thing to look through those photos. It really means the world to me!
Au Jus Recipe
- Drippings from roast beef you can also use 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups juices from roast beef or beef broth/beef stock
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- Optional: sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- Combine drippings (or butter), beef juices (or broth/stock), Worcestershire sauce, and red wine in a saucepan over high heat. Whisk in garlic powder and onion powder, if using. Add fresh herb sprig.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
- Strain through a fine mesh sieve so the sauce is completely smooth.
- Serve warm with French dip sandwiches, roast beef, prime rib, chicken, lamb, etc.