I've just booked my Christmas meal. This included Sausage, mashed potatoes and an Onion Jus. Why Jus and not Gravy?

Begs the question, What is the difference between a Jus, Sauce and a Gravy?

  • What region is this in?  Usage of the term gravy varies — for example, in the Southern US it can refer to a pale béchamel-like sauce, while Italian-Americans can use it to refer to a pasta sauce, and in India and Singapore it can be a curry sauce (none of which would make sense in the UK).
    – gidds
    Dec 8, 2023 at 14:26

3 Answers 3


What’s the difference between gravy, jus, sauce and coulis?

Will says...

• 'Gravy is made from the juices of oven roast meat, thickend with a starch such as corn flour.

• Jus is made from the same juices that has been refined and condensed to get a clear liquid naturally thickened.

• Sauce could be made from the same juices with other ingredients added such as wines or spirits to compliment the food. Sauces can be served hot or cold.

• Coulis is a thin fruit or vegetable purée, used as a sauce. If the purée is too thick, you can add some water and sometimes sugar'.

Source: http://www.41portlandplace.com/news/116/send-head-chef-will-carvalho-your-questions-about-the-kitchen

My personal feeling for sauces is they can be made from anything. Parsnips, Mushrooms, Celeriac etc when 'Gravy' and 'Jus' must have Meat juices as their base.

On menu's you'll often see 'Gravy' on pub menu's where they aren't trying to sound to posh, probably using some sort of packet mix. Jus' on French style menu's OR people trying too hard. Finally you'll see something like "Beef and Juniper Sauce" on my menu and many others because... Gravy sounds too common and Jus sounds too poncy.

  • I mostly agree here, but I'd add that I expect a jus to be clear and thin, whereas I expect gravy to be opaque and thick--often flour thickened. Edit: I guess that's pretty well covered in the quote though.
    – Preston
    Dec 9, 2014 at 10:02
  • 4
    Aye that's why I didn't re-write it ;-) I was intending on just leaving the quote originally but couldn't help but add a little. I wouldn't say Jus needs to be 'thin' I've always been taught it's ready when it coat's the back of a spoon, which is about the same thickness I make my 'Bisto Gravy' at home.
    – Doug
    Dec 9, 2014 at 10:07
  • And yes, sauce can be "made from anything" - think of chocolate sauce.
    – Stephie
    Dec 9, 2014 at 13:23

Au jus means "in the juices" that cooking the meat produced. It can only be thickened by reducing it without additions, otherwise it is something else entirely.


My instinct is that one puts a sauce ON something, but a gravy is what one cooks the food IN. Same basic concept, but nuanced. I'm also curious if an au jus with herbs and veggies - onion, sweet pepper, tomatoes - would still be considered au jus or be converted​ to a gravy or sauce.

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