Are you looking for side dishes to serve with your Christmas dinner? Our bread sauce recipe is the perfect accompaniment to roast turkey.
It’s easy to make at home using basic ingredients - bread, milk, onion, butter and spices.
Serve up an exceptional feast this year with this traditional English condiment by your turkey's side!
How to make bread sauce
Check out the video below for how to make this homemade bread sauce.
Prepare ahead and serve warm or cold; it tastes delicious either way and pairs well with poultry, meat or vegetables!Jump straight to the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and step by step pictures.
What is Bread Sauce
Bread sauce is a traditional British dish with origins in medieval England. The recipe for bread sauce varies across Britain and Ireland but generally consists of milk thickened with stale bread crumbs and delicately spiced.
It has become traditional for bread sauce to accompany the roast turkey on Christmas Day.
Bread sauce is an age-old tradition that most of us are familiar with, but few know the history behind it.
The use of bread as a thickening agent for sauces traces back to the medieval period; it’s believed cooks used it in this way because they wanted to make their stale bread go further and didn't want to waste any food.
Today we still use this concept of leftover or slightly stale bread to thicken up many types of dishes like soups and stews!
The basic bread sauce recipe calls for milk infused with onion, cloves, nutmeg, bay leaf, pepper and salt, with breadcrumbs added to thicken the sauce, then butter and cream for extra richness.
We find it best to use full-fat milk, but any milk will work.
To season the milk, we like to stud the cloves into the onion to make it easier to remove at the end without having to strain the milk. Place the studded onion into a saucepan with the milk.
Add a bay leaf, nutmeg, pepper and salt into the saucepan.
Gently bring to the boil over low heat, stirring regularly and take the pan off the heat as soon as it starts bubbling to prevent overcooking the milk.
Cover with a lid and allow all the flavours to infuse into the milk for at least 15 minutes.
Remove the onion, cloves and bay leaf from the milk using a slotted spoon.
Use any white bread you have available. Traditionally it would be stale bread used up to save waste. But you can use fresh white bread instead if that’s what you have to hand!
Cut away the crust and break it into small pieces by hand or use a food processor to make slightly finer breadcrumbs.
I do not recommend using shop-bought white breadcrumbs; they are too fine and won’t add much texture.
Stir the breadcrumbs into the milk in the saucepan allow to soak. When thoroughly soaked into the milk, reheat the sauce over a low setting and add butter.
Whilst it thickens you can add extra bread for a thicker sauce or milk for a thinner sauce.
A splash of cream makes a lovely rich addition if serving it up with Christmas dinner.
Bread sauce can be made ahead and stored covered in the fridge for 4 days. Or freeze for up to a month, defrost in the refrigerator the day before using.
Should bread sauce be served hot or cold?
This hearty sauce is the perfect condiment to poultry, meat or vegetables and enjoyed hot or cold. I prefer it warm, but you can make your mind up!
📖 Step by Step Recipe
- 1 Onion
- 4 - 8 Cloves
- 300 ml Milk Full Fat
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 pinch Nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 70 grams White Bread
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 2 tablespoon double cream Optional
- Stud cloves into an onion.1 Onion, 4 - 8 Cloves
- Place into a saucepan, add milk.
- Finally add bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and pepper.300 ml Milk, 1 Bay leaf, 1 pinch Nutmeg, 1 pinch salt, 1 pinch pepper
- Heat over low heat until it comes to a gentle boil.
- Turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Leave to infuse flavours for 15 - 30 minutes.
- Cut the crust off of the bread.
- Either chop / break into small pieces by hand or use a food processor
- Remove onion and bay leaf from the infused milk
- Stir in bread allow to soak for at least 20 minutes.70 grams White Bread
- Reheat sauce over low setting, add butter1 tablespoon Butter
- Heat for 10 minutes, if too thin add some more bread or too thick add more milk, for extra richness add double cream before serving.2 tablespoon double cream
- Can be served warm or cold.
Pop the bread sauce into a serving dish and sprinkle with a pinch of nutmeg.
Serve on the table with the rest of your Christmas dinner; we have a whole range of Christmas recipes here.
More Traditional Christmas Recipes
This traditional Christmas sauce is perfect served up as seen in the above picture with our turkey crown, turkey gravy, honey roast parsnips, air fryer roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots and pigs in blankets. Another great condiment to make at home is our cranberry sauce.