Easy Homemade Bread Sauce

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Bread sauce is a bit of a British oddity, but it tastes much better than it sounds – and it’s easy to make too! Here’s how to make homemade bread sauce.

Homemade bread sauce in a white jug.

Bread sauce is a weird one. It’s one of those strange things that no Brit would be without… but the rest of the world probably finds a bit odd. I totally get why, but perhaps I can convince you just how wonderful bread sauce really is. If you’d like to make your own British-style bread sauce at home, it’s easy peasy. Here’s how to make it!

What is bread sauce?

Let’s begin with: what on earth is bread sauce? Surely you can’t pour bread onto your dinner?

Well… yes, you kind of can.

Bread sauce is basically breadcrumbs cooked in milk (with some other flavourings, to make it taste a lot better than it sounds). It’s usually served with a roast dinner (or Christmas dinner!). It’s actually my favourite part of any meal… perhaps tied with the roast potatoes!

It sounds utterly bizarre, I know, but it’s so good. I’ll admit, I do also enjoy the kind of bread sauce that comes as a powder in a packet (please don’t take away my food blogger licence), but since Christmas is quickly approaching, I thought I’d celebrate by making this easy homemade bread sauce from scratch.

Homemade bread sauce in a white jug.

Where did bread sauce come from?

A lot of traditional British recipes can be traced back to a time when the country was pretty poor, and people had to make use of absolutely every scrap of food. That’s why a lot of classic British recipes are super simple, with humble ingredients like vegetables, grains, and bread.

Bread sauce has actually been traced back to the medieval period – so we’re potentially talking hundreds and hundreds of years ago. Isn’t that bonkers?! Bread sauce has lasted this long as a popular British recipe because it’s so flipping delicious. If that’s not proof of how good it is, I don’t know what is.

A spoon scooping homemade bread sauce from a jug.

How do you make bread sauce?

Bread sauce doesn’t need much – we Brits are pretty good at making something out of nothing. The main ingredients are literally just breadcrumbs and milk. So simple.

However, if those were the only ingredients you used, your sauce would be completely bland. I can imagine what most of you are picturing right now, if you’re unfamiliar with bread sauce, and it’s not nice.

Luckily, there are ways to transform that strange soggy bread mixture into a delicious bread sauce.

Bread sauce: looks odd; tastes ace.

A hand spooning homemade bread sauce onto a vegetarian roast dinner.

Homemade bread sauce recipe

To make homemade bread sauce, you need to start by getting as much flavour into your milk as possible – before it’s actually gone anywhere near the bread. This will ensure you end up with a super tasty bread sauce!

Just simmer the milk with onion, garlic and a bay leaf for a while, and you’ll be so surprised at how much flavour you can impart.

Feel free to add any other extras you fancy. Whole cloves, peppercorns, nutmeg, woody herbs like rosemary or thyme… it’s all good.

Once your extra ingredients have given as much flavour as possible to the milk, remove them, and mix the breadcrumbs into the milk. Then, your sauce is ready to pour over your favourite roasted vegetables, or whatever else you’ve got for dinner. Easy!

It’s fine if you want to use slightly stale bread to make your crumbs – I imagine that’s why bread sauce was invented in the first place. It’s a great way to avoid food waste.

How to serve bread sauce

Bread sauce is generally served warm, with some kind of roast dinner. I love to use my bread sauce to liven up my veg (it’s great spooned over Brussels sprouts and green beans!).

It’s also a vital element of any British Christmas dinner.

In these photos, I served it alongside my cheesy bean roast and some roast potatoes. Perfection.

A vegetarian roast dinner with homemade bread sauce.

Easy homemade bread sauce

Bread sauce is a bit of a British oddity, but it tastes much better than it sounds – and it's easy to make too! Here's how to make homemade bread sauce.

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5 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 104kcal
Author: Becca Heyes


  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into a few chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500 ml (~ 2 cups) milk
  • 100 g (~ 1 1/2 cups) breadcrumbs (approx. 2 thick slices bread, blitzed)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt
  • Black pepper


  • Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf to a pan with the milk. Place over a fairly low heat, and cook gently for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
  • Use a sieve or a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables and bay from the milk (if using a sieve, don't forget to put a bowl underneath when you pour it out!).
  • Return the pan to a low heat, and add the breadcrumbs and butter. Cook for a minute or two until the breadcrumbs have cooked right into the milk, and season generously with salt and pepper. Serve warm. You can make the sauce in advance and reheat in the microwave if necessary.


Nutrition Facts
Easy homemade bread sauce
Amount Per Serving (1 portion)
Calories 104 Calories from Fat 38
% Daily Value*
Fat 4.2g6%
Saturated Fat 2.4g12%
Cholesterol 12mg4%
Sodium 148mg6%
Potassium 116mg3%
Carbohydrates 12.1g4%
Fiber 1.4g6%
Sugar 5.4g6%
Protein 4.9g10%
Calcium 125mg13%
Iron 0mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.

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Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/6 of the recipe.

Your roast dinner also needs some vegetarian gravy – it goes great with bread sauce!

The best homemade vegetarian gravy

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  1. I adore bread sauce – always have, always will – but I’m about the only member of my family who does! The secret is in the long, long, long simmering – put your milk with the clove-studded onion in it, bring to the boil and let it sit. Then add the breadcrumbs, and let them soak for ages and ages, and finally give it a last boil just before serving (at which point you remove the clove-studded onion and hope nobody notices you licking it!)

  2. Definitely a British thing! It looks like porridge, and I expect it’s honestly not that different (aside from the added flavours to the milk). Thanks for enlightening this American expat!

  3. I absolutely LOVE bread sauce but I seem to be the only one in the family who is interested in it so we haven’t had it for a year or two…..I’d got lazy and used a packet mix too, though they are often a bit clove-flavoured for my taste.

    One weird thing occurred to us though – what with nut roast, stuffing and bread sauce our Christmas dinners were basically – bread!!!