How to Make a Flavorful Sauce from Steak Drippings

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steak sauce from steak drippings
Photo by Naotake Murayama licensed under CC BY 2.0

Most steaks are perfect just the way they are. There’s no need for gravy, steak sauce , or any spices that cover up the beefy flavors you love, save for a little salt and pepper to enhance the bite. However, a pan sauce is something you may not want to cast off as just another thing to ruin a good steak.


Making pan sauce is super easy, just about anyone can handle creating one from scratch in the kitchen. Grab your stainless steel pan and get ready to make a sauce that elevates the flavor of just about any steak.

What’s a Pan Sauce?

Pan sauce is a thin sauce that’s made from the drippings your meat cooked in, also known as fond. Steak usually leaves behind delicious, brown, crisp fond that’s super flavorful, making it the perfect base for a pan sauce that you can drizzle over your steak once you’re ready to eat.

Unlike gravy, the consistency of pan sauce is juice-like, which helps keep steak tender and juicy rather than covering it in a thick sauce (although, that can be delicious too!).

How to Make a Simple Pan Sauce

To make a pan sauce for steak, grab the following ingredients, so they’re ready to go:

  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Beef or vegetable broth, or your favorite cooking wine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 rosemary
  • 1 basil

You’ll also need a whisk or spatula and your stainless-steel or cast iron skillet (whatever you used to cook the steaks).

Once your steaks cook to your desired temperature, remove them from the pan and set them aside. Then:

  1. Drain the leftover fat from the pan but leave the bottom greased and don’t get rid of the fond. You want all that flavor left in there for your sauce. Keep the pan set on medium heat.
  2. Add thyme, rosemary, and garlic to the pan. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until you start to smell the aromatic mixture.
  3. Pour in the broth or wine until the liquid coats the bottom of the pan. You don’t want too much, or your sauce will be too liquidy. Allow to simmer for about 3 minutes, consistently scraping the fond off the bottom of the pan with your whisk or spatula to mix it in with the liquid.
  4. Now, add a little more of the same liquid, about ½ a cup. Simmer the mixture until it begins to thicken slightly.
  5. Add the butter and stir into the sauce until fully melted. This helps thicken up the mixture to the perfect consistency and adds a buttery flavor to complement your steak.

Once it’s done, you can turn off the heat, but try to keep the sauce warm until you’re ready to serve your steak dinner. Then, pour it over freshly sliced steak and enjoy!

Sprucing Up Your Steak Pan Sauce

Once you’ve made the sauce, you can taste it and add in some kosher salt and pepper, if necessary. There are other ways to spice up your pan sauce, too, like adding a little zest with fresh lemon juice, sprinkling in some fresh, chopped herbs, or even amping it up with a little steak seasoning. If you love mushroom-topped steak, you might want to try sautéing mushrooms in a separate pan and mixing them into the finished pan sauce.

Conclusion: Making Pan Sauce for Steak

There you have it: The perfect steak pan sauce. Try it with filet mignon, which is one of the most accepting cuts for gravy and sauce because it sometimes needs a little extra flavor. However, if you want to do something a bit different to your ribeye steak or T-bone, the pan sauce can be just the thing to switch things up. Check out our selection of best-selling steaks and order online conveniently and quickly for your next steak dinner experiment.