Easy recipe for bacon cream sauce from scratch. Master it on your first try and enjoy it in a variety of dishes.
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Read on for relevant tips and step-by-step video + pictures (2 mins)
Our Bacon Cream Sauce Recipe
This is a flavorful, rich sauce that can take on a lot of extra seasonings should you want to exceed what our recipe calls for. At the same time it is not heavy – we do not add butter or thickeners. Instead we solely rely on heavy cream and its accomplished composition to create the perfect sauce base – stable and suave.
In terms of culinary applications it is very versatile – you can use it with proteins, carbs and vegetables. While a little bit goes a long way, doubling the recipe is a seamless process, should you want to serve more people.
Get the best quality thick cut smoked bacon you can – it is after all the star of the show and infuses the heavy cream with the nuances of the wood it was smoked with. If you are not a fan of cured smoked bacon then pancetta, which is made by salt-curing and drying, is an ideal choice here with its deep, distinct porky flavor.
Ingredients You Will Need
- Bacon. The best choice would be thick cut, cured and smoked bacon with moderate amount of fat. As mentioned above, if you’d rather do without the smokiness opt for pancetta. You can dice the bacon or cut it into small strips.
- Shallots. They will infuse the heavy cream with savory aroma. Red onions are a suitable substitute. You can either dice them very small or grate them if you’d rather have a smoother sauce.
- Heavy cream. Be sure to use heavy cream. It has the necessary fat content to create a stable backbone for the sauce, it withstands prolonged simmering and absorbs the rest of the flavors from the recipe beautifully.
- Parmesan. It adds depth, an earthy saltiness and umami to the sauce. You can grate it yourself as shown in the video or simply add a couple of teaspoons of store bought grated Parmesan.
- Salt & black pepper, red pepper flakes and parsley. Season to taste, but be prepared to do so liberally to balance the sweetness of heavy cream. Red pepper flakes and finely chopped fresh parsley are our favorite flavor agents to add to the finished sauce. Alternatively consider scallions.
As per the steps shown above, to make our bacon cream sauce you first need to cook the bacon until just crispy. Next you sauté the shallots in the flavorful rendered fat, add the heavy cream and allow it to reduce (thicken) before you proceed to flavor it and add back the bacon bits. Consider the points below before you make it for the first time.
Pan. Choose a pan that is at least 10 inches in diameter. Reducing the sauce happens much faster when you have a larger surface area to simmer it over. A non-stick pan is generally better than one that isn’t – heavy cream can be tricky to clean from cast iron for example.
Bacon fat. Once you’ve removed the crispy bacon bits from the pan, leave only as much of the rendered fat as you need to sauté the shallots. Discard the rest or reserve it for pan frying potatoes when you want to impart an deeper flavor. We usually keep a container in the fridge with rendered bacon fat and keep adding to it – always good to have on hand for stews, braises and all sorts of recipes that require sautéing in a bit of fat in the beginning.
Simmer! Be very careful to simmer the heavy cream and not boil it. There should be a tranquil succession of bubbles over the surface, gentle and small.
Parmesan. The grated parmesan will thicken the sauce a bit, in addition to lending it umami. If you add the cheese to a boiling base it will quickly clump together – another reason to make sure you are simmering the heavy cream.
What Can I Use Bacon Cream Sauce For?
Besides the obvious tossing of long or short noodles, the following are ideal candidates on the receiving end:
- Specialty pasta. Ravioli, gnocchi etc.
- Steak. In particular filet mignon, which lacks the fat content of other beef steak cuts.
- Lamb chops. A drizzle of creamy bacon sauce uplifts oven baked lamb chops.
- Chicken. Plainly cooked chicken breast or boneless thighs are instantly transformed by the richness of the cream and bacon.
- Scallops. Add only a bit so as to not overpower the delicate flavor of the scallops.
- Salmon or white fish. Baked cod fillets or pan seared salmon fillets welcome a spoonful or three of sauce.
- Potatoes. Baked potatoes are particularly well suited for a generous helping.
- Avocado. We consider a plated thinly sliced avocado with a modest drizzle of this sauce both a decadent and healthy snack.
How to Store/Reheat Leftover Sauce
You can refrigerate any unused quantity for a couple of days and easily reheat it on the stove top over low heat. When reheating, it is likely that the sauce can benefit from a bit of thinning out – add a bit of extra heavy cream and simmer until you get the desired consistency. You may need to add a touch of extra seasoning as well.
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- 6 oz thick cut bacon, diced or cut into small strips*
- 2 shallots, finely diced**
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan (adjust to taste)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- red pepper flakes, to taste, optional
- parsley, finely chopped, to taste, optional
- Heat a non-stick skillet or another pan*** over medium heat. Cook the diced bacon until it renders its fat and gets crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- Leave about a teaspoon of the bacon fat in the pan, remove the rest. Sauté the diced shallots until softened.
- Add the heavy cream, bring to simmer (adjust heat to low or medium-low as necessary, you want to see gentle bubbles, do not allow the cream to boil). Simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the Parmesan and gently stir it in. Simmer a bit longer until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.
- Season liberally with salt and pepper to offset the sweetness of the cream (taste). Fold in the bacon bits and serve (use with pasta etc.) immediately. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and parsley to taste.
* You can increase the quantity if you prefer your sauce to be loaded with bacon. Consider pancetta as a substitute if you prefer bacon that has not been smoked.
**Substitute with one small red onion.
***A 10 inch diameter or even a bit bigger skillet works much better than a sauce pan because the larger surface area allows the sauce the thicken faster.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 862mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 18g