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Sauce vs. Gravy: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 6, 2024
Sauce is a broad term for flavored liquid condiments, while gravy specifically refers to a sauce made from meat juices and thickened with flour or cornstarch.

Key Differences

Sauce is a general term for a variety of liquid or creamy condiments used to add flavor to food. Gravy, however, is a specific type of sauce made from the juices of cooked meat and thickened with flour or cornstarch.
Sauces can be made from a wide range of ingredients, including vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. Gravies are typically made from the drippings of cooked meats, combined with a thickening agent.
The texture of sauces varies greatly, from thin to thick, and can be served both hot and cold. Gravy is usually served hot and has a consistently thick texture due to the thickening agents used.
Sauces encompass a wide array of flavors, from sweet to savory and spicy. Gravy primarily focuses on enhancing the savory, meaty flavors of the dish it accompanies.
Sauces can be an integral part of a dish or served as an addition. Gravies are typically served as an accompaniment, often poured over meat and other dishes to add moisture and flavor.

Comparison Chart


Liquid or creamy condiment for flavor
Sauce made from meat juices and thickening agents


Varied, including vegetables, fruits, dairy
Meat drippings, flour, cornstarch


Can range from thin to thick
Consistently thick

Serving Temperature

Both hot and cold
Usually served hot

Flavor Profile

Wide range, including sweet and spicy
Savory, meaty flavors

Sauce and Gravy Definitions


Sauce is a liquid or creamy substance used to add flavor to food.
The pasta was served with a rich tomato sauce.


Gravy is served as an accompaniment to meats and potatoes.
Mashed potatoes taste better with creamy gravy.


Sauce is often used as a dip for snacks and appetizers.
They enjoyed the nachos with a spicy cheese sauce.


Gravy is a traditional sauce in many cuisines, often part of family meals.
Sunday dinners at her house always featured chicken with gravy.


Sauce can also refer to a liquid dressing for salads.
She dressed the salad with a tangy vinaigrette sauce.


Gravy is a sauce made from the juices of cooked meat.
She poured homemade gravy over the roasted turkey.


Sauce can be used as a marinade to flavor and tenderize meat.
The chicken was marinated overnight in a garlic herb sauce.


Gravy is thickened with flour or cornstarch for a rich texture.
The beef gravy was thickened to perfection.


Sauce is used as a garnish to enhance the presentation and taste of a dish.
He garnished the steak with a drizzle of peppercorn sauce.


Gravy enhances the savory flavor of dishes.
The savory gravy complemented the pork chops.


A flavorful liquid or semisolid condiment or mixture of ingredients served as a topping or other accompaniment to food.


The juices that drip from cooking meat.


A sauce made by thickening and seasoning these juices.


Can sauces be sweet?

Yes, sauces can range from sweet to savory.

What is sauce?

Sauce is a liquid or creamy condiment used to enhance the flavor of food.

What is gravy?

Gravy is a sauce made from meat juices, often thickened with flour or cornstarch.

Can sauces be used as a marinade?

Yes, many sauces are excellent for marinating meats.

Is gravy always made from meat?

Traditionally, yes, but there are vegetarian versions using vegetable stock.

How many types of sauces are there?

There are countless types of sauces, varying across cuisines and dishes.

Can sauces be healthy?

Yes, some sauces, especially those made with fresh ingredients, can be healthy.

Is making gravy complicated?

Making gravy can be straightforward, but it requires proper technique to avoid lumps.

Are all sauces liquid?

Most sauces are liquid or semi-liquid, but their consistency can vary.

Is gravy a type of sauce?

Yes, gravy is a specific type of sauce.

Are sauces essential in cooking?

While not always essential, sauces greatly enhance and complement dishes.

What role do sauces play in cuisine?

Sauces add complexity, moisture, and flavor to dishes.

Can gravy be vegetarian?

Yes, vegetarian gravy can be made using vegetable broths and stocks.

Do all gravies contain flour?

Most gravies are thickened with flour or cornstarch, but some may use other thickeners.

Is sauce used in all culinary traditions?

Most culinary traditions incorporate some form of sauce in their cooking.

Can sauces be stored?

Many sauces can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.

Can gravy be served cold?

Gravy is typically served hot, but it can be consumed cold in some dishes.

What makes a good gravy?

A good gravy has a balanced flavor and smooth, thick consistency.

How is gravy flavored?

Gravy is flavored with the juices of the meat it's made from, along with seasonings.

Is gravy only for special occasions?

While often associated with special meals, gravy can be enjoyed anytime.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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