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Fabulous Tasting Madeira Sauce Recipe (Plus Fun Facts)

My husband is a wonderful cook. We share the kitchen and we each have our specialties. He often does the cooking for our dinner parties.

Madeira sauce over steak with accompanying vegetables

Madeira sauce over steak with accompanying vegetables

Madeira Sauce

This Madeira sauce recipe is an original one created by my husband. I am always happy to be on his taste panel, and we have many friends who have also offered their services to lend their opinions when he creates new recipes.

This sauce recipe gets our highest rating, which is excellent. Recipes that rate "very good" to "excellent" make it into our cookbook folders for a repeat performance another day.

Preparation for this sauce is quick and easy. The majority of time spent on this recipe is reduction time on the stove as the flavors concentrate and the sauce thickens.

Please enjoy my husband's Madeira sauce recipe, and if you are curious about the Madeira Islands and the distinctive wine made there, you will also find that information below.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

1 hour

1 hour 10 min

8 to 10 servings


  • 2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans Campbell's beef broth
  • 10 1/2 ounces half and half
  • 10 1/2 ounces Blandy's Rainwater Madeira
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Mince the shallot and saute in butter until softened and lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat.
  2. Pour the Campbell's beef broth into a large saucepan. Fill one of the empty cans with the half and half, and the other with the Madeira. Pour both into the saucepan with the beef broth.
  3. Add the shallot to the liquids in the pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the mixture over high heat by half. Depending upon the size of your saucepan, this may take up to 1 hour. If the saucepan has a wider circumference, it will take less time to reduce the mixture.
  4. When reduced by half, mix some of the liquid with cornstarch and add the thickened slurry back to the saucepan.
  5. When satisfied with the consistency of the sauce, finish it off with a final pat (or two) of butter.

Tips and Serving Suggestions

  • Beef broth brand: Campbell's beef broth provides a rich, concentrated flavor. It is the brand that my husband prefers using when making this sauce. If you substitute some other brand, you might wish to reduce the liquid mixture further to get that same rich flavor.
  • Consistency: If you like a thicker sauce, you can adjust the amount of cornstarch you add to the liquids by adding a bit more.
  • Doubling or tripling: This recipe may be doubled or tripled very easily.
  • Refrigerating and freezing: This sauce keeps nicely refrigerated for several days. You can also freeze it for future use.
  • Serving suggestions: The flavorful Madeira sauce is excellent served over beef, veal, pork, or breast of chicken. Once you taste it, you may dream up other uses for it. It is so delicious!
  • Wine pairings: Accompanying wine suggestions include Merlot, a soft-tannin Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot-Cabernet Blend, or a Valpolicella Ripasso.

The Madeira Islands and Their Wine

The Madeira Islands are volcanic in origin. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, not far from Africa, they are politically controlled and are autonomous regions of Portugal. The islands, like Portugal, are a part of the European Union.

Tourists now flock to these scenic islands comprising in numbers almost five times the number of permanent residents annually. They come because of the mild subtropical climate, the food, the varied landscapes (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the history, the culture, and the Madeira wine, among other things.

Ancient shipping trade routes in the 15th to 18th centuries made these islands a natural stopping-off point. By way of trade, the fortified wine taken on board from the islands gradually became known in other parts of the world. But what made Madeira wine celebrated, as we know it today, happened by accident!

According to history, one lot of unsold wine ultimately returned to the island by a ship. It had been on board for a more lengthy amount of time, and the fortified wine was continually heated and cooled. Upon opening a bottle, the tasters discovered a much richer and pleasing taste. Sometimes happy mistakes occur! Today, the wines are purposely heated and oxidized through several methods. These vary whether it is meant solely for cooking or also for drinking.

Madeira wines can pair with almost every type of food as they range from sweet to dry. Those fermented with the grape skins left on tend to make more sweet wines. The skinless ones during fermentation become drier wines.

To learn more about how the grapes to make Madeira grow, the different varieties of grapes, the various aging methods, and labeling, click on the links at the bottom of this page. You will learn, among other things, that some of the longer-aged varieties can last up to a century and more even after being opened and recorked!

Old Blandy's Wine Lodge, Funchal, Maderia, Portugal

Old Blandy's Wine Lodge, Funchal, Maderia, Portugal


© 2021 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 10, 2021:

Hi Linda,

I enjoyed learning about the Madeira Islands as well. Enjoy this tasty sauce recipe, and thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 10, 2021:

Hi Amara,

I am so glad you liked this article. Sending love your way today.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 10, 2021:

Hi Jana Louise,

My husband is a great cook! We are both happy to share some of his recipes with you and others. Enjoy! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 09, 2021:

The sauce sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing your husband’s recipe and the interesting information about the Madeira Islands, Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2021:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

This Madeira sauce is equally good over chicken. Add some mushrooms to it for extra flavor! In the meantime, enjoy your salads. I love eating salads. There are so many good things that can become a part of a salad.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2021:

Hi Amara,

Thanks for checking out my husband's recipe for a great tasting Madeira sauce. Wishing for you a beautiful Mother's Day.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2021:

Hi Denise,

Good sauces do enhance flavors. Let me know if you decide to make this sauce vegan and how you use it. Thanks!

Amara from Pakistan on May 09, 2021:

Peggy its an interesting article about Madeira sauce recipe.. Thanks for sharing..

Love and gratitude..

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2021:

Hi MG,

Thanks for your comment on this Madeira sauce recipe and the islands where that type of fortified wine originated. Perhaps your girlfriend does not drink alcohol? The alcohol would dissipate in the reduction of this sauce, leaving only the flavor behind.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2021:

Hi Lorna,

This Madeira sauce is very versatile. It would be fun to visit the islands from where Madeira is made. I am happy that you enjoyed reading this. Happy Mother's Day!

Jana Louise Smit from South Africa on May 09, 2021:

I simply adore sauce with a hot meal. I've never tried this one but it looks delicious. Kudos to your husband for creating this and you for sharing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2021:

Hi Pamela,

I agree that my husband is a gem. The fact that he also cooks well is an added attribute to his many charms. I am glad you enjoyed this recipe and learning about Madeira.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2021:

Hi Iqra,

You are correct in that Madeira wine is named after the place where it originates. The flavors vary depending upon how long they are aged, etc. Thanks for your comment.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 08, 2021:

Although I haven't eaten beef in many years, I can almost taste the dinner in that photo. And I'm darn sure that recipe is good. I'm going to focus on salad for punishment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2021:

Hi Liz,

It is terrific that people will be able to visit Madeira soon since so much of how they earn money is through tourism. I am glad you found this article to be of interest. I can assure you that the recipe is delicious! Thanks for your comment.

Amara from Pakistan on May 08, 2021:

Hi Peggy.. It is an interesting hub about madeira sauce recipe.. Thanks for sharing..

Love and gratitude..

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on May 08, 2021:

I bet I could use this recipe using vegan beef broth instead. Madeira is definitely vegan so why not? I find that most vegan cooking is enhanced by good sauces and seasonings. I will pin this for later. Thanks for sharing.



Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2021:

Hi Vidya,

Like you, I also found it interesting to know more about the islands and how Madeira wine originated. Thanks for your comment. Enjoy your weekend!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2021:

Hi Chitrangada,

I am so pleased to be able to share this delicious tasting Madeira sauce with you and others. Enjoy! Happy Mother's Day tomorrow!

MG Singh emge from Singapore on May 08, 2021:

You must be feeling mighty happy. Best of luck. Your sauce recipe looks good but I dare won't try making it at home. My GF refused !!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2021:

Hi Audrey,

We are excited that we will once again be able to entertain people who have had their Covid vaccinations as we have had. It has been well over a year since we have been able to do that. Our plans are to have some neighbors over next Saturday. Hooray! So happy to know that you enjoyed reading this recipe and learning a bit about Madeira.

Lorna Lamon on May 08, 2021:

I like the idea of using the broth in the sauce Peggy which is a great time saver. The dish itself looks very tasty and the sauce is also versatile. The Madeira Islands look beautiful, and I enjoyed this read. Thank you for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 08, 2021:

Your husband is a real gem! The recipe sounds delicious. I enjoyed reading all the history about wine that was created accidentally. This is a very interesting article, Peggy. I appreciate the recipe.

Iqra from East County on May 08, 2021:

Hi Peggy, Madeira sauce sounds delicious. Madeira wine is named after the Madeira islands in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Portugal, where the grapes for it are grown. It has a sweet, caramel flavor. I will try to follow it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 07, 2021:

I enjoy reading about your recipes. This sounds very tasty. Interesting background facts too about Madeira. We know several people who have visited. It is especially popular with British tourists. We have recently heard that it has been placed on the green list for travel from mid-May.

VIDYA D SAGAR on May 07, 2021:

A very interesting article Peggy. It was nice to know about the Madeira islands and the history of it's famous wine. Have a good day, stay safe.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 07, 2021:

Hi EK Jadoon,

I agree with you that Madeira Island sounds like a great place to visit even if you do not partake in drinking or cooking with Madeira wine. Enjoy your days ahead with many blessings.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 07, 2021:

This sauce recipe sounds delicious indeed! It looks rich with a creamy texture, and I love sauces!

So nice of you to share the related details about this Madeira recipe, especially about the island!

Thank you for a wonderful presentation!

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on May 07, 2021:

Two great cooks in one household! Please give my thanks to your husband for this unique recipe. I enjoyed the history lesson about Madeira. These photos have me drooling. Thanks for sharing, Peggy.

EK Jadoon from Abbottabad Pakistan on May 07, 2021:

That was a nice read, Peggy. Your recipe sounds good. Thanks for sharing information about Madeira Island.

Have a blessed day!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 07, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

Thanks for making the very first comment on this recipe. The Madeira Islands sound like they would be gorgeous places to visit! Enjoy your upcoming weekend!

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on May 07, 2021:

The sauce looks good, Peggy. I have never tried it but I enjoyed learning about it. Thanks for sharing

Blessings and Love

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