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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 to use 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 was 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 more pleasing taste. Sometimes happy mistakes occur! Today, 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