How to Make a Pan Reduction: A Step-by-Step Guide

Flip through our guide to making everyday dinners into something special, then watch our how-to video.

Category:
Sauce

Sautéed chicken for dinner? Don't stop there. Use the same pan to make a rich, savory sauce in minutes.

Step 1: Drain Your Pan
Once you've cooked your chicken, set it aside and drain the excess fat. See those crusty brown bits? That's call the fond. Tip: The fond comes from the meat's caramelized proteins but what it really means is flavor, and lots of it.

Step 2: Add Oil and Onions or Shallots
Next, add some new oil or fat to the pan. Then, add some aromatics, like onions or shallots.

Step 3: Add Wine
Add a little wine. White wine works best for a lighter sauce while red works for a more robust flavor. Tip: You can also use vinegar, lemon juice, cider or water.

Step 4: Reduce
Scrape up those bits. Let it reduce. A reduction means boiling to evaporate the liquid and intensify flavors.

Step 5: Add Broth
Add some broth and let it reduce again. See how it's getting thicker? Pour in any juices that may have accumulated from the chicken you set aside earlier.

Step 6: Taste and Season
If you want it a little richer, pour in butter or cream (or both) at the end, but it's not necessary. Taste and season.

Step 7: Add Lemon Juice for Balance
You can add a little lemon juice for balance but it's also great without.

Step 8: Add Herbs for Flavor
Herbs can add freshness and a robust flavor to pan sauces. The important thing is the flavor. Watch our how-to video for more.