The 6 Best Demi-Glace Substitutes For Your Recipes

Demi-glace is a staple of French cuisine known and loved everywhere in the world. It is a thick, creamy sauce, similar to gravy, that adds incredible flavor to your dish.

It is originally obtained by the simmering of veal broth, but a few alternatives can also be beef or chicken broth and vegetables broth. Either way, you will obtain a silky texture, perfect to accompany your meat dishes.

Since it requires hours to make and sometimes even days, it is not the most casual sauce to prepare at home. Luckily, there are some demi-glace substitutes and variants that will take less time and will complement your dishes just like demi-glace would do.

The best substitutes for demi-glace

It takes lots of passion and dedication to make demi-glace at home. It typically requires making homemade beef broth from scratch, using the best veal meat and bones.

These ingredients need to simmer for hours and hours, sometimes even up to 14 hours, to release their intense flavor into the broth.

After hours on the stove, you will find out that the liquid, delicious broth gave way to a creamy, silky veal sauce. That is the famous demi-glace.

Although it is totally worth the interminable wait, it is completely understandable if you do not have time to prepare this delicious sauce.

And this is why we have compiled a list to find the perfect substitute for demi-glace

1. Chicken or vegetable demi-glace

If you have the time to make homemade demi-glace, but do not like the taste of beef or veal, there is an alternative for you.

You can obtain demi-glace from chicken broth too. The process is pretty straightforward, similar to preparing veal demi-glace.

Cook your chicken to obtain a delicious chicken broth out of it, then remove the chicken pieces and allow the broth to simmer.

After a couple of hours, the chicken broth turns into a tasty and creamy chicken demi-glace ready to be served.

If you are a vegetarian or simply do not like the taste of meat, there is an option for you too. Let your veggies simmer in a big pot for a few hours. After the liquid has evaporated, you will obtain a thick, creamy veggie demi-glace.

If what you are looking for is a demi-glace substitute, there are other ingredients and methods listed below.

Whether you are looking for a chicken demi-glace substitute or a vegan-friendly vegetable demi-glace substitute, there are plenty of recipes and options to resort to.

2. Beef demi-glace

Again, if time does not represent an issue for you, and you simply do not like veal, beef demi-glace is what might work for you then.

Whether it is for ethical reasons or simply personal preferences, beef demi-glace can be considered the best veal demi-glace substitute.

For your broth, use beef marrow bones instead of veal bones and the result will be pretty astonishing and quite surprising.

After hours and hours of simmering, remove the bones and chunks and let the excess liquid evaporate until that delicious, creamy sauce forms in your pan. 

3. Gravy

The first option that comes to mind when you think about a demi-glace replacement is gravy. It can come in distinctive flavors, and it is the sauce that most resembles demi-glace.

Gravy is as thick and as flavorful as its French counterpart. It is extremely similar in color, smell and it even takes half the time to produce.

In fact, it is incredibly easy to find gravy granules in every supermarket, cutting down the preparation time to just a matter of minutes.

Beef gravy can provide a valid substitute for veal demi-glace, and you can include it in delicious meals such as roast beef, pies, or simply roast potatoes.

The same thing goes for chicken gravy and vegetable gravy, which are perfect demi-glace alternatives.

4. Beef, chicken, or vegetable stock

If you do not have the ingredients to make homemade broth, and if you do not have gravy granules at hand, do not panic!

Grab some beef stock cubes and make your own quick and easy demi-glace. Add the cube to a pan and pour just a little bit of water in. Let it simmer until most of the liquid evaporates.

At that point, you will obtain a thick and silky sauce that will smell and taste exactly like the perfect beef demi-glace substitute.

While using stock cubes, it is possible to unleash your imagination in the kitchen. There are plenty of stock cube flavors to choose from on supermarket shelves everywhere around the world.

For example, it is easy to find pork stock cubes pretty much everywhere. As a result, it would be quite something to treat yourself to your own version of pork demi-glace.

If that does not tickle your fancy, it is not that difficult to find a pork demi-glace substitute. If you have chicken stock cubes at home, or if you want to make a veggie alternative, go for it. The process is exactly the same.

Having a gooey and delicate demi-glace obtained from chicken or veggie stock cubes will make up the most excellent substitute for beef demi-glace.

5. Condensed stock

If granular stock cubes are not for you, you can always use condensed stock. It is incredibly easy to find, and super easy to make too.

Whether you choose from beef, chicken, or veggie condensed stock, the process is pretty much similar to the broth stock cubes one.

Take a pot, add your condensed stock and dilute it with water. If you are feeling extra fancy, feel free to use red wine instead of water for that lavish extra kick.

Red wine and veal condensed stock work particularly well together. However, if you prefer a veal demi-glace substitute, there is plenty to choose from.

6. Canned soup

Canned soup can also be used as a demi-glace substitute, in a way. This should be your last resort, as canned soups usually have quite high percentages of sugar, salt and are high on saturated fats as well.

Nonetheless, they are incredibly creamy and velvety, and taste delicious, making them a valid alternative for a super easy, astonishingly quick homemade demi-glace.

Canned soups come in a variety of options: from standard beef, chicken and veggie, to more elaborated and interesting flavors.

It would be fascinating to try and make demi-glace from a base of vegetable soup such as tomato soup, mushroom soup, lentil soup, or even Thai coconut soup.

If you want to try making demi-glace using a meat-based soup, it would be fun to see how a chicken soup or beef stew would taste like. Or for the less faint of heart, try to make demi-glace out of clam chowder soup.

The result obtained will clearly not be or taste like the original demi-glace, but it might work as a fun and compelling alternative

What is the difference between gravy and demi-glace?

To those who are not experts in the culinary field, gravy and demi-glace might be the exact same thing. They both have a brown color, frequently going from beige to deep brown.

They can both be produced of beef, chicken, or vegetables, and are used in similar contexts. So what is the difference between gravy and demi-glace?

Demi-glace

Demi-glace is incredibly rich in flavor. Its preparation process is incredibly long and complicated, and it requires an elevated level of expertise in the kitchen.

The slow, prolonged simmering gives it that extraordinary taste and detailed essence that is extremely difficult to replicate.

On top of that, it is a sauce made of a thick, dense, and syrupy texture. As its own name suggests, it has the semblances of a glace.

Demi-glace is served on the side as a serving sauce to accompany other foods or as an ingredient to bring more flavor and compliment the dish.

Furthermore, it can often be the base to produce other types of sauces, like the Breton sauce, the Bordelaise sauce, or the Sauce Africaine.

Gravy

Gravy has an intense, appetizing aroma, and its consistency varies from runny to thick, even condensed at times.

It is often employed to cover foods like a Sunday roast and roasted potatoes. And it’s also eaten with biscuits, adding that delicious, signature taste.

Gravy, unlike demi-glace, is super easy to make, and it can be prepared in no time, sometimes even in less than ten minutes.

While demi-glace is a serving sauce, the main use of gravy is to be poured on top of foods to add some moisture and more essence to the dish.

Despite their differences, gravy can be easily used as a substitute for demi-glace.

How to choose a demi-glace substitute

Most of the methods listed above will give you a pretty much similar result. Making your own demi-glace sauce out of beef, chicken, and vegetables is most likely the closest you will get to an authentic demi-glace.

Therefore if you require a perfect sauce to accompany and complement your dish, and if time is not an issue for you, it is recommended to make your own demi-glace at home.

It might take more than 14 hours, but it will be worth it. It is possible to choose from beef, chicken, and veggie according to your needs and the preparation of your meal.

If you are not too fussed about authenticity, but still need a pretty close option, gravy is the best option out there.

It is ideal if you need to add moisture to your foods while adding a robust, distinct flavor to your main dishes.

If you do not want to overpower your food, try stock cubes or condensed stock instead. They represent the perfect alternative to your needs if all you want to do is add a delicate, mild flavor.

Last but not least, try using canned soup as a demi-glace substitute if you feel like experimenting with the preparation of your meal.

Although it works as a reasonably decent substitute, it is pretty far from the likeness of a demi-glace. Therefore, it would wonderfully work if added to an experimental meal.

Or maybe if it is added to a plain dish to complement it and bring out its maximum potential.