How to Make Au Jus from Pan Drippings

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Learn how to make au jus to serve with prime rib, roast beef or a French dip sandwich.

You may know au jus as the classic accompaniment for French dip sandwiches. But this liquid can be used to enhance the flavor of a Sunday roast, prime rib and more. This is how to make au jus from the pan drippings of any beef roast.

What Is Au Jus?

Au jus is a French term meaning “with juice” and is made with the juices that come from your meat during cooking. It’s not the same as beef broth, as broth is made from simmering beef shanks in water and adding other herbs and seasonings to create a flavorful liquid. (You may combine your pan drippings with beef broth to create au jus for dipping, though.)

There is also confusion between au jus and brown gravy; however, these are not the same thing. In most kitchens, gravy is made by combining the pan drippings along with a thickening agent, such as cornstarch, to create a thick, rich sauce.

How to Make Au Jus from Scratch

Ingredients

Au Jus IngredientsApril Preisler for Taste of Home

  • 3/4 cup meat drippings
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2-1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Tools You’ll Need

  • To cook your prime rib or beef roast, look for a sturdy roasting pan with a rack to allow the heat to circulate.
  • You’ll need a fine mesh strainer to strain out the large chunks before serving your au jus.
  • To scrape the browned bits from the pan after cooking and to saute vegetables, a wooden spoon is a great tool.

Directions

Step 1: Heat the drippings

In a roasting pan, heat meat drippings over medium-high heat. Alternatively, you can pour the drippings into a saucepan to create the au jus. Be sure to scrap up any bits from the bottom of the pan.

Step 2: Add the vegetables

Vegetables And DrippingsApril Preisler for Taste of Home

Add carrot, celery and onion; cook and stir until vegetables are lightly browned and tender. It will take about 3 to 5 minutes. Keep scraping brown bits from the bottom of the roasting pan with a wooden spoon.

Step 3: Add wine and stock

Wine And Stock In DrippingsApril Preisler for Taste of Home

Add the wine and stock into the roasting pan or saute pan. Be sure to use a high quality wine for optimal flavor. I suggest a malbec or merlot. If you want to add a boost of flavor to your homemade au jus, use homemade beef stock!

Simmer until slightly thickened and aromatic, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure to whisk continuously while cooking to create a smooth sauce.

Step 4: Strain

Strain Au JusApril Preisler for Taste of Home

Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Season with salt and pepper and serve with prime rib or other cooked beef. If you want to thicken your au jus slightly, you can mix together equal parts corn flour and water and pour slowly into the sauce.

What to Serve with Au Jus

If you’re making this au jus out of the drippings from a freshly roasted prime rib or roast beef, spoon the sauce over the meat before serving. You can also put it in a small bowl on the side for dipping. Using your slow cooker to make shredded French dip is another great option!

Au jus isn’t unique to beef roasts. You can also make it out of a roast leg of lamb or a roasted chicken. Follow the same steps in the recipe above and swap out the beef broth for chicken broth for either of these options.

Au Jus Tips

To store leftover au jus, keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze leftover au jus by dividing it in an ice cube tray, freezing and then placing the cubes into a resealable plastic bag in the freezer for up to 6 months. (Here’s our ultimate guide to freezing food.)

If you are gluten-free, the above au jus recipe is 100 percent for you! If you add other flavors to your homemade au jus, such as Worcestershire sauce, be sure the ingredients are gluten-free.

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April Preisler
April is a food and travel lover, wine enthusiast, ice cream obsessed and the vision behind the blog, Food n' Focus. Her favorite cuisine is Italian and loves to cook international recipes.