How to Make Chinese White Sauce – Step-by-Step Tutorial

by Ella

Chinese cuisine is renowned for its rich flavors, diverse ingredients, and intricate sauces. Among these sauces, Chinese white sauce stands out as a versatile and essential component in many dishes. Whether used as a base for stir-fries, a drizzle over steamed vegetables, or a dipping sauce for dumplings, Chinese white sauce adds depth and complexity to a wide range of recipes. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of Chinese white sauce, exploring its ingredients, preparation methods, and various uses.

Chinese White Sauce

Chinese white sauce, also known as white gravy or white sauce, is a fundamental component of Cantonese cuisine and other regional Chinese cuisines. Despite its name, Chinese white sauce is not purely white but rather has a creamy, translucent appearance. It serves as a neutral base that enhances the flavors of other ingredients in a dish without overpowering them.


The key components of Chinese white sauce typically include:


Chicken broth or stock: Provides a savory base and depth of flavor to the sauce. Homemade chicken broth is preferred for its richness, but store-bought broth or stock can also be used.


Cornstarch or potato starch: Acts as a thickening agent to give the sauce its smooth consistency. Cornstarch is the most commonly used thickener in Chinese cuisine, although potato starch can be used as an alternative.


Seasonings: Soy sauce, salt, sugar, and white pepper are commonly used to season Chinese white sauce. These ingredients add depth of flavor, umami, and a hint of sweetness and spiciness to the sauce.

Optional ingredients: Depending on the recipe and personal preference, additional ingredients such as minced garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and Shaoxing wine may be added to enhance the flavor profile of the sauce.

Now that we have an understanding of the basic components of Chinese white sauce, let’s explore how to make it from scratch.

How to Make Chinese White Sauce

Making Chinese white sauce is a straightforward process that requires only a few simple ingredients and minimal cooking time. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making this versatile sauce:


  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine


In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water, stirring until the cornstarch is fully dissolved to create a slurry. Set aside.

In a saucepan or skillet, heat the chicken broth over medium heat until it comes to a gentle simmer.

If using, add the minced garlic and ginger to the broth and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Stir in the soy sauce, sugar, salt, and white pepper, mixing well to combine.

Slowly pour the cornstarch slurry into the simmering broth while stirring constantly. Continue to stir until the sauce thickens and becomes glossy, usually 1-2 minutes.

If using, add the sesame oil and Shaoxing wine to the sauce, stirring to incorporate.

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning according to your preference, adding more soy sauce, sugar, salt, or white pepper if desired.

Once the sauce reaches the desired consistency and flavor, remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly before using it in your dish.

That’s it! You’ve successfully made Chinese white sauce from scratch. Now, let’s explore some tips and variations to customize the sauce to your taste.

Tips for Making Chinese White Sauce

Consistency: Adjust the thickness of the sauce by varying the amount of cornstarch or water in the slurry. For a thinner sauce, use less cornstarch, and for a thicker sauce, use more cornstarch.

Seasoning: Chinese white sauce should have a balance of flavors, including savory, salty, sweet, and peppery notes. Taste the sauce as you go and adjust the seasoning accordingly to achieve the desired flavor profile.

Aromatics: Adding minced garlic and ginger to the sauce enhances its aroma and complexity. However, if you prefer a milder flavor, you can omit these ingredients or reduce the amount used.

Optional ingredients: Customize the sauce by incorporating additional ingredients such as sesame oil and Shaoxing wine for extra depth of flavor. Be mindful of the quantities used, as these ingredients can be quite potent.

Storage: Chinese white sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat the sauce gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before using it in your dishes.

Now that you’ve mastered the basic recipe for Chinese white sauce, let’s explore some delicious ways to use it in your cooking.

Ways to Use Chinese White Sauce

Chinese white sauce is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to steamed vegetables to noodle dishes. Here are some creative ways to incorporate this flavorful sauce into your cooking:

Stir-fries: Use Chinese white sauce as a base for stir-fried dishes by tossing it with your favorite proteins, such as chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu, and a medley of vegetables. The sauce will coat the ingredients evenly, creating a delicious and savory dish.

Steamed vegetables: Drizzle Chinese white sauce over steamed vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, or snow peas for a simple yet flavorful side dish. The sauce adds a touch of umami and richness to the vegetables, making them more enticing.

Dumpling dipping sauce: Serve Chinese white sauce as a dipping sauce for dumplings, potstickers, or spring rolls. The sauce’s savory and slightly sweet flavor complements the dumplings perfectly, enhancing their taste without overpowering them.

Noodle soups: Add Chinese white sauce to noodle soups such as wonton soup or egg drop soup for extra flavor and richness. Simply stir the sauce into the broth before adding the noodles and other ingredients for a comforting and satisfying meal.

Fried rice: Use Chinese white sauce as a flavoring agent for homemade fried rice by tossing cooked rice with the sauce, along with your choice of vegetables, protein, and aromatics. The sauce will infuse the fried rice with savory goodness and elevate its taste.

Experiment with different combinations of ingredients and cooking methods to discover new and exciting ways to use Chinese white sauce in your culinary creations. Whether you’re cooking a quick weeknight dinner or entertaining guests, this versatile sauce is sure to impress.

See Also: Chinese Four Seasons Dish: Key Ingredients & Preparation Methods


In conclusion, mastering the art of Chinese white sauce opens up a world of culinary possibilities, allowing you to create delicious and flavorful dishes with ease. By understanding the basic components, preparation methods, and various uses of this essential sauce, you can elevate your Chinese cooking to new heights. So go ahead, stock up on the ingredients, and start experimenting with Chinese white sauce in your kitchen. With a little practice and creativity, you’ll soon become a master of this indispensable sauce.



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