Browning sauce is requires only two ingredients but can provide complex flavor to a wide variety of dishes.
This homemade Browning Sauce recipe only needs two ingredients – brown sugar and water. It can add great depth to both sweet and savory dishes, making it a very versatile sauce recipe to know.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
What Is Browning Sauce?
Browning Sauce has Jamaican origins and is made by caramelizing brown sugar and adding water. That’s all you need, although some like to add a pinch of salt as well.
It’s used in small amounts in both sweet and savory dishes and has a smoky caramel flavor that can add complexity and depth to recipes. It’s not to be confused with brown sauce, which is common in the UK and is a thick, savory condiment.
What Does It Taste Like?
I’m obsessed with this stuff! It tastes a bit like a toasted marshmallow, but gone too far. For sweet dishes, it adds a toasted caramelized sugar flavor, even a tad smoky. But it’s savory dishes where it really shines.
I will admit that the first time I made it and saw and smelled that super-dark sugar, I thought it was going to make my food taste burnt. But this is a classic beloved sauce for a reason! When you add a little bit of this to any soup, stew, or anything, really, it makes it taste like roasted caramelized vegetables must have been added at some point in a slow-simmering process.
How To Use Browning Sauce
People who like their marshmallows well done could use this as a dessert sauce on ice cream. But, it’s actually meant to be used sparingly in both sweet and savory dishes. It can be used in fruity, spiced cakes like Black Cake to add richness. It’s often used for Jamaican oxtails and Caribbean brown stew chicken. You could definitely use small amounts in gravies and stews to deepen the flavor.
I suggest you make this sauce and then try the following: Warm up some chicken broth or stock. Then drizzle in the browning sauce, 1 teaspoon at a time. Taste it after each addition. You’ll know when to stop – it’s almost like there’s suddenly roasted carrots going on in there. It’s amazing! I bet once you try it, you’ll find all sorts of ways to use this simple sauce.
How To Make Browning Sauce
The key to making this is to really stir it the whole time. You need to be there monitoring it, making sure that the sugar is melting evenly but not burning, and not all on one side.
Once it has melted, you’ll keep stirring it until it’s really dark brown and starting to boil but not smoke. Turn off the element and remove the pan from the heat if your element stays hot. And then, slowly drizzle in some water. Be careful because it wants to erupt at you. Stand back and just add a bit of the water at a time and keep stirring.
The sugar is going to start clumping up into a soft candy or like taffy. Keep stirring and let the heat from the pan transfer to the water and melt the sugar. If it doesn’t fully melt, don’t worry, it will in the next step.
Then return the pan to low heat and stir it until it has thickened enough that when you scrape the bottom of the pan, a trail is left and remains for a second. Then immediately transfer it to an airtight container to cool. You can store this homemade browning sauce in the refrigerator for up to six months, so you have it handy whenever you need it.
Podcast Episode About Making Browning Sauce
Listen to me explain briefly about how to cook bacon from frozen, along with some other great tips, by clicking the play button below:Print
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water (cool or room temperature)
- Set a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and spread it out as much as possible. Let it sit a minute and then start stirring every 10 seconds or so, trying to keep the sugar moving evenly so that it is evenly exposed to the heat of the pan.
- Continue to cook and stir until the sugar starts melting in spots, this will take 3-4 minutes. Then be sure to scrape up melted bits as you stir.
- Once the sugar has melted evenly and is a liquid, keep stirring and scraping until it is a dark brown and starts to bubble. Then remove the pan from the heat and carefully add in about half of the water. It’s going to bubble and sputter so be sure you’re standing back. Wearing an oven mitt on your pouring hand is a good idea too. Stir the water as best as you can and then add in the rest of it and keep stirring. The sugar will be clumping into taffy-form and you want it to melt into the water as much as possible, but not all of it has to melt in.
- Return the pan to low heat and cook and stir until your spoon leaves trails in the sauce that last about a second.
- Immediately and carefully pour it into a container to cool.
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