Can you make bread sauce in advance?

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Many are looking forward to celebrating Christmas in a few days time. In anticipation of the big day, kitchens across the country are preparing for the traditional Christmas dinner feast. Cooking for family and friends on Christmas Day can take a lot of planning, and many choose to get some of their prep done before the big day arrives.

So more time can be spent enjoying the day, preparing trimmings and accompaniments like pigs in blankets and stuffing is common prior to Christmas Day.

As is traditional, many will be having a turkey this year in celebration of the festive season.

And while some may opt for gravy with their Christmas dinner, others may opt for a classic turkey accompaniment – bread sauce.

Basic bread sauce recipes are usually made with milk, which is thickened with breadcrumbs.

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Many bread sauce recipes include onions and butter, and they are often seasoned with spices such as nutmeg, clove and bay leaf.

Bread sauce can be very cheap and easy to make.

Because of the simple nature of bread sauce, many will have the ingredients for it already in their cupboards.

A lot of bread sauce recipes call for slightly stale bread to be used, so it’s a great way to use up any bread sitting in the cupboards before its expiry date.

Bread-thickened sauces like bread sauce were often consumed during the Medieval era.

And nowadays in addition to turkey, bread sauce is often used as an accompaniment to other fowl such as chicken.

Many regard bread sauce as a Christmas staple, as renowned TV chef Nigella Lawson attests in her own Christmas recipe for bread sauce.

She writes on her website: “I couldn’t have Christmas lunch without bread sauce: just the smell of the milk, infusing on the hob, giving off that familiar scent of onion, mace, bay and clove, lets me know it is Christmas.”

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Can you make bread sauce in advance?

Some choose to make their bread sauce a day or two before Christmas Day.

The BBC Good Food recipe for bread sauce states if you make it a day or two before eating, make the sauce a bit looser as it will thicken once reheated.

The recipe adds to reheat the bread sauce over the hob or in a bowl in the microwave.

The BBC Good Food recipe for bread sauce is as follows:


  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 570ml/1 pint full-fat milk
  • 110g/4oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 40g/1½oz butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Press all the cloves into the whole peeled onion and place in a saucepan. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns and milk. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Pass the liquid through a sieve into a saucepan or remove the onion, bay leaf and peppercorns. Stir the breadcrumbs into the milk and place over a low heat for five to 10 minutes or until the breadcrumbs have absorbed all the liquid and the sauce is the desired consistency. Stir occasionally.
  3. Stir in the butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

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