Every cook needs a good easy creamy mushroom sauce recipe. It’s perfect stirred through pasta and fantastic on grilled steak.
When I was 14 years old I asked my mom if I could start cooking dinner for our family every now and then. She didn’t hesitate for a second to let me take the reigns while she went to settle on the couch with her book. I didn’t have a clue what to make but luckily my mom kept a pretty well-stocked fridge/freezer and I quickly settled on store-bought breaded chicken drenched in creamy mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes and carrots.
There was only one problem, I had no idea how to make mushroom sauce. My mom gave me direction from the couch but for the most part I was on my own. I chopped the garlic, sliced the mushrooms and added them to a hot pan with some oil. Fried them (for not nearly long enough) and poured in WAY too much cream. In went a slurry of milk and corn flour to thicken it all up and I seasoned it (again, not nearly enough). It was the first recipe I had ever made by myself. Since then, I have perfected it and this recipe is used weekly in our household. It’s fantastic over al dente pasta, crispy chicken or over a juicy steak.
Feel free to play around with the flavorings but I honestly think thyme, garlic and lemon were all made for mushrooms. If you wanted to keep the sauce more on the low-calorie side, substitute the cream for milk. Of course, the sauce won’t be as rich and luscious but it will still be delicious. And that’s really it. This recipe is SO easy and so simple but will quickly become a favorite in your home too. Guaranteed.
- Butter + Olive oil.
- Mushrooms. I used portabellini/chestnut mushrooms/cremini mushrooms but use any mushrooms you like.
- Fresh garlic cloves.
- Fresh thyme. Other herbs like oregano, rosemary and parsley can be substituted.
- Cream. Heavy cream/whipping cream.
- Milk mixed with cornstarch.
- Fresh lemon juice.
- Salt and black pepper.
- Fresh parsley.
How to make creamy mushroom sauce?
Melt butter and olive oil together in a large frying pan or skillet set over high heat. Add the mushrooms then fry until they are golden brown. For intense flavor, it’s important to let the mushrooms brown well. The mushrooms might release a bit of liquid, simply let that evaporate and cook until golden brown. Add garlic and allow to cook for another 30 seconds.
Reduce to medium-high heat then pour the cream into the pan and bring to a simmer. Stir in the milk and cornstarch mix. Allow to simmer until the sauce has thickened and any flouriness has cooked off. (If you prefer, you can omit the cornstarch mix and reduce the sauce down to thicken. You might need to start with more cream though as this will result in less sauce, overall.) Season with lemon, salt and pepper and serve.
Can I make mushroom sauce ahead?
Yes, you can. Make the sauce as instructed then allow to cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Leftovers can be stored this way too. Reheat over medium heat in a saucepan until hot and bubbling. You could microwave the sauce but stir it every 30 seconds to prevent it from splitting. I wouldn’t advise freezing this sauce as it is likely to split once thawed.
Why did my sauce split?
With the use of cornflour in this recipe, your mushroom sauce shouldn’t split as there is starch keeping the water and fat molecules together. A sauce splits when too much water has evaporated and there is nothing for the fat to emulsify with. To save a split sauce, simply whisk in a few tablespoons of water to restore the balance between water and fat.
Why is my sauce lumpy?
It could be that you didn’t whisk the corn flour and milk well enough before adding it to the sauce. Whisk with a wire whisk until smooth and add a little more stock/water.
Why is my sauce pale in color?
If you didn’t allow the mushrooms to brown well, the end result will be a paler sauce. There’s nothing wrong with this but if you prefer a more golden sauce, make sure to allow the mushrooms to brown properly before adding the liquid. Also take care not to over-crowd the pan, rather frying the mushrooms in batches. Some mushroom varieties are also more pigmented. Button mushrooms are very pale in comparison to portabellini/chestnut mushrooms so it could also be the type of mushroom you used.
Ways to use creamy mushroom sauce
- Creamy mushroom pasta bake
- Creamy mushroom pork chops
- Easy creamy mushroom chicken
- Creamy mushroom pot pie
Creamy mushroom sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 5 cups portabellini/chestnut mushrooms, halved/sliced approximately 500g/ 1 pound
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup milk mixed with 3 teaspoons corn flour/corn starch
- 1-2 tablespoon lemon juice to taste
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Heat the butter and olive oil together.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan with the thyme and season with salt and pepper.
- Allow the mushrooms to fry until golden brown then add the garlic and fry until fragrant.
- Pour in the cream and milk and allow to simmer gently for 5-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and cooked through.
- Season with lemon, salt and pepper and add the parsley.