Sauces and Condiments

Easy Brown Butter Sage Sauce

0 comments This post may contain affiliate links from which we get a commission. We may earn money from any companies mentioned in this post. Thank you for supporting our site.

Share this recipe!


Last updated on December 27th, 2021 at 04:19 pm

This sauce is simple, yet delicious. It seems fancy but is easy to make. And only two ingredients make up a brown butter sage sauce.

I mean, my website editor tells me that butter is one of my most used recipe tags. With good reason. Because what dish isn’t better with butter?

You’ll end up with a buttery, nutty sauce with hints of sage and beautifully crunchy fried sage leaves that add so much to a dish. Use more sage leaves for even more flavor.

Crisping sage to make a brown butter sage sauce

Typically I love growing sage at home and using fresh-cut sage from the garden in this recipe. But, this first gardening season after moving has been a bit of a learning curve and our sage is a bit scraggly at the moment. So I went to the store for some sage.

You can usually find fresh herbs in a refrigerated section of the produce area of your grocery store. Or try to find some at a local farmer’s market!

Once you have your sage leaves washed and cut from the stem you are ready to make this sauce.

What is Brown Butter?

Brown butter is not a specific type of butter that you must buy from the store. It is just butter that has been browned on the stovetop.

Melting butter to start the sauce recipe

Or rather, butter cooked on the stovetop long enough that the milk solids start browning.

First, melt the butter in a pan. I prefer a wide, shallow pan that makes it easy to stir and gives a large surface area for the butter to be in direct pan contact.

Note that you can make a sauce of just brown butter. But it does take well to the introduction of an herb or two. In our case, some fresh sage leaves. These fresh herbs leach a lot of flavor out into the butter and will cook up crispy to add a delightful crunch to any meal.

Fresh sage added to butter for the sauce

After the butter is melted (or almost melted if you just can’t wait, like me), Toss the sage leaves into the butter and give it a good stir. Make sure all of the leaves are coated with butter. The more they are covered, the more of that sage flavor will seep into the sauce.

Now keep stirring and carefully watching the sauce. Though it is a very simple recipe, it can be easy to burn.

Sage in butter beginning to brown as a sauce

Butter likes to be tricky and look like it isn’t really doing much until all of the sudden it is very brown and, if you aren’t careful, burnt. After adding the sage leaves and stirring, the butter will start to foam up.

Do not worry, this is normal.

Just keep stirring and make sure to peek under the foam as you stir around to see what the color is underneath. You are looking for browned butter solids that will collect at the bottom of the pan. They will start to form as you cook it but will be much lighter at first. Look for a light- to medium-brown color.

Mine might be a little bit dark in the photos. But I kind of like it that way…

But you don’t have to rely on sight alone. Smell the sauce as it cooks. You will start to get a distinctly nutty aroma from the butter. Plus, the sage leaves should be fully fried and crisp. When you match the color and aroma, it is time to pull that off the heat. You have a brown butter sage sauce.

Browned and foamy butter

It can be helpful to pour the sauce from the pan into a serving bowl when done to ensure no residual heat from the pan burns your finished sauce. Even with the heat off, it may be in danger.

Using Brown Butter Sage Sauce

The first thing you must know when making and using brown butter sage sauce is that it is not meant for fully coating your food like many other pasta sauces. Unlike my tomato cream sauce, you don’t want to douse your whole bowl of pasta with this sauce.

This sauce should be used as a drizzle and with a lighter touch. You don’t want to overwhelm things. It should be a complementary flavor to your main dish. Too much brown butter sauce will also feel really oily and unpleasant.

Gnocchi and brown butter sage sauce with crunchy fried sage leaves

Pair this with any of the following:

  • Homemade pasta – The fresh, silky texture of homemade pasta will pair well with the robust flavor that brown butter sage sauce brings to the table.
  • Gnocchi and shaved parmesan – I mean, shaved parmesan just makes things seem fancy, so why not add brown butter sage sauce for the height of fanciness. Also, the nutty flavor and crunchy leaves just work with what is essentially potato pasta.
  • Butternut squash ravioli – Cook the ravioli, drain it, and then add it to the pan after the butter has melted (the same time you add the sage). This will give a sort of pan-fry to the ravioli. In the sauce. It is so good. You can also just drizzle the sauce over the top of drained ravioli, but why do that when you can fry it.
  • Sausage and pasta – The flavor of sage complements sausage very well, so it just makes sense.
  • Sage Roasted Turkey – A turkey recipe worthy of Thanksgiving that is flavored with sage and thyme where I use some brown butter sage sauce to baste the turkey during part of the cook

Trust me, you want some of those crunchy sage leaves.

Easy Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Recipe by Marc PetersonCourse: SauceDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



Buttery and nutty, this brown butter sage sauce hits with sage flavor and texture in its beautifully crunchy fried sage leaves


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter

  • 1/4 cup packed sage leaves (15 to 20 medium-sized leaves)

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


  • Melt the butter in a wide pan over medium to medium-low heat
  • When the butter is melted, add in the sage leaves and black pepper and stir to combine
  • Continue stirring as the butter browns, a light brown within about 5 minutes and darker and darker from there
  • Pull the sauce off the heat at the desired doneness, but before it has burned


  • If you use unsalted butter, then make sure to add salt to taste

Get recipes like this straight to your inbox:

Share this recipe!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *