Steak with Creamy Whiskey Mushroom Sauce

Every cook should have a great steak topping in their repertoire. Either because you

A) enjoy having a sauce smothering your steak

B) want to to stretch out a piece of meat to feed the family or

C) attempt cover up a botched steak job. I’m in category A, especially if it involves heavy cream and whisky, but I’ve been known to practice C more often that I care to admit.

When my in-laws are in town, there’s always whiskey in the house. It makes for a more pleasant stay. But your in-laws might prefer bourbon, white wine or other such happy-drink. That’s fine too. Just don’t use red wine, as it makes your cream sauce pink and people in my house don’t eat pink food, especially if it’s on a steak.

How to make a creamy mushroom sauce (with booze)

For this recipe, I’ve used morel mushrooms, but you can use any type of fresh mushrooms you like. Anything from shiitake, crimini, baby portobello, Hokto Kinoko’s maitake, brown/white beech, king trumpet, to even the old standby white button mushroom. The mushrooms can be cut into big chunks, halved or sliced, depending on the type and the size. The general rule about mushrooms is to avoid washing them under water, and instead use a paper towel to brush off any dirt. Mushrooms are like sponges, and when you soak them or even rinse them, they will absorb the water, which makes it difficult to get a good browning in the saute pan.

1. Start with fresh mushrooms, clean the mushrooms by wiping surface with a damp cloth and trimming the stems off.
2. Saute onions slowly in butter or oil (or combo) so that they gently cook.
3. Once the onions are softened and browned (not burnt!) add the mushrooms and saute for just a couple of minutes.
4. It’s time. For the booze. Add a glug of bourbon, whiskey or even beer. Let it bubble a bit to burn off the alcohol.

5. Pour in some heavy cream – the amount is up to you. You can add as little as a tablespoon if you want. I like a lot of cream. I guess that’s why my jeans don’t fit.
6. Let it reduce for a bit.
7. And here’s the secrete ingredient….pour in just a touch of balsamic vinegar. This is to balance out the creaminess of the sauce….because the steak, the mushrooms and the cream is so rich, you need that little acid (or tang) to balance out the flavors. Trust me on this.

And here you go:

This steak was dry aged – see Dry Aging Steaks at Home.

It’s rich, decadent and the best part is that the recipe is flexible. In fact, check out Pioneer Woman’s cookbook – I made her Whiskey Sauce and then used it to top grilled LOBSTER. Oh yeah.


Steak with Creamy Whiskey Mushroom Sauce Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes


4 steak cuts of your choice (filet, ribeye, sirloin, strip, etc)
cooking oil
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2-3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons whiskey, bourbon, beer or white wine
1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup heavy cream (though you can use as little as 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh herb of your choice (chives, parsley, tarragon, basil, etc.)


1. Rub both sides of each of the steaks with some cooking oil. Season steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.

2. Heat a large frying pan or grill pan over high heat. When very hot, add the steaks. Cook both sides until desired doneness - timing depends on thickness of steak. Generally, for 1-inch thick steak, I grill 5 minutes per side then check with meat thermometer (145F is medium-rare, 160F is medium). Remove steaks to a plate and tent with tin foil to rest.

3. Return the same frying pan to the stove, heat the butter over medium heat. When the butter starts bubbling, add the onions and saute until the onions are soft, transluscent and just slightly golden. Take care not to burn the onions by keeping your heat on medium or even medium-low. This will take about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for an additional minute until the garlic is fragrant.

4. Turn your heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms all at once. Immediately start tossing so that the onion/garlic/butter mixture is evenly distributed amongst the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until they are browned and softened, about 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness and size of your mushrooms.

5. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour in the whiskey and the balsamic vinegar and let the mixture bubble a bit to burn off some of the alcohol. Turn the heat down just a bit and add in the heavy cream. Let it bubble for another 30 seconds and then taste to adjust the salt. Stir in the freshly minced herbs and pour over just-grilled steak.

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Comments 51

  1. Diane-The WHOLE Gang

    This looks so delicious. Wish I could eat it. I really enjoy making these type of sauces for steaks. Mine are gluten and dairy free, but full of flavor. I think a sauce is that added touch that people don’t always expect and when you add it, they see you as a Top Chef. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Grifola frondosa

    OK, this is it… perfection on a plate.

    Where in the world did you get fresh morels in the middle of Winter (including FLA)?

  3. Alta

    I’m usually a salt-and-pepper (maybe a bit of herb butter) only steak kinda person, but this does look decadent! I could definitely go for this once in a while. Also a bonus for a cheaper steak!

  4. Buzz

    Have made similar for years but never thought about balsamic vinegar–a touch of acid helps so much in many places!

  5. Debi(Table Talk)

    Boy do I want some buttery cream sauce right now…I will look away and eat my almonds and drink my giant glass of water. At least for a few weeks until all of those Chistmas cookie calories are gone!
    Happy new year~I’m sure your book is a smash success!

  6. Simone (junglefrog)

    This looks delicious Jaden! I made one of the recipes from you book this week and totally loved it. I chose the chicken with sweet chili sauce (I sort of forgot the name and am too lazy to get up and check it) and the taste was fabulous. Kafir lime leaves are not something we have around here (or I haven’t been able to find it) but I didn’t miss it.
    I would actually try to cook with morel mushrooms at some point which are also hard to find here… But maybe I should first learn how to do a proper steak (I am bad at large chunks of meat!)

  7. my spatula

    we just had steak au poivre the other night and how i wish i had your mushroom sauce at hand! is it wrong to want this for breakfast? 🙂

  8. Dave

    Just a comment about mushroom washing and logging water. It’s a myth. Alton Brown disproved that on an episode of Good Eats. You get a little bit more water. But the quantity is negligible. There is no sponge soaking involved…. Consider where the shrooms grow, I’ll wash mine thank you very much. 🙂

    Sauce looks amazing though. Will definitely have to try it….and the salting of the steaks….

  9. Bruce


    Yeah, the mushroom=sponge theory is an old wives’ tale. Though farmed mushrooms are grown on a thoroughly sterilized medium (the medium would otherwise quickly become moldy), I still like to wash them for same reason I wash any other produce: the cooties from countless other people pawing through them in the store.

    Also, one other minor nit: if you’re cooking onions gently over lower heat you’re not sautéing, you’re sweating. Sauté literally means “jump” – picture them jumping around in the hot oil.

  10. [email protected]

    Whiskey makes everything better, it’s true. And so does vermouth. I made a creamy sauce with vermouth the other day and it made my year.

  11. Linda Larsen

    Those are some of the most beautiful mushrooms I have ever seen! Where did you find fresh morels in the dead of winter! And I adore your photography.

  12. Chris

    “When my in-laws are in town, there’s always whiskey in the house. It makes for a more pleasant stay. ”

    Funniest line I’ve read all day!

  13. Karen

    Oh! I can’t wait to try this!
    Growing up, we would go moral mushroom hunting in the woods all the time. Going to have to start doing that again!

  14. Winnie

    This looks fantastic Jaden. I’ve been making Pioneer Woman’s rib eye with whiskey sauce recently, which my 10 year old son and I just adore…I love the addition of the mushrooms here so will try this one next!

  15. [email protected]

    Gorgeous and a good way to make sure the steak rests. I like that there is leeway on the amount of cream. A good cream sauce doesn’t need to be so heavy, as long as there’s whiskey. yum.

  16. The Woo

    The sauce looks good. Just a quick question… have you tried doing this sauce starting with the fond after searing off the steaks in a skillet? I usually make pan sauces with or without some wine or liquor and/or cream by starting with the fond. What has your experience been?

  17. The Woo

    Ahhh… I do the same thing also. However, I take the best of both worlds. I sear and get the fond and finish on the grill. Gives me fond and finishing on the grill for flame flavor.

  18. dhanes420

    Did you get those morels at earthy or Fresh Market? Earthy is now out for the season of fresh morels, so I’d have to hit Fresh Market up here in the Tampa area for dried.

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  20. David

    Thanks for this! I’d been looking for a good recipe to recreate one of my favorite Belgian dishes (Bouchee champignons) and this worked quite nicely.

    I used pearl onions, Orval trappist ale, and tarragon and added some asparagus then put the whole mixture into a puff pastry shell and served it next to a steak covered in the leftovers. Thanks again!

  21. tiffin wallah indian take away

    Mouth watering recipe thanks for posting. I also don’t like pink sauce 🙂

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  23. Georgiana Strait

    This recipe was amazing. I made it for my husband and he couldn’t get enough. I found a really neat way to use leftover ingredients. The next night I used chicken instead of steak and red and green peppers instead of mushrooms. Still amazing!

  24. Leeann Plotz

    I was just looking for this info for some time. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your web site. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this kind of informative sites in top of the list. Normally the top web sites are full of garbage.

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  27. Chatterbox

    Just made this with shittake mushrooms. Lovely! Would have liked a thinner cream but daren’t had milk as it may have spoiled it. (used single cream and it went quite thick on warmng. Just thought…could have watered it down with whiskey!

    Following it with a Baileys Yummmmmm

  28. VoraciousTigress

    OMG was this GOOD. I did make some changes to this recipe. I crusted the steaks with freshly cracked black pepper & salt (all sides). Left out the nutmeg. Used 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon.
    I also tented the steaks under tinfoild for about 10 mins once they were done cooking & added the juices that accumulated on the plate to the sauce before serving.

    This was unbelievably GREAT!!!!!!

  29. Brian

    I have been looking for a similar recipe. I’m going to try it and blast it up a notch with some chunks of fresh Maine lobster meat. :))

  30. Voracious Tigress

    Brian I am totally with you – answer “A” all the way! Lobster would be FANTASTIC with this recipe or shrimp, scallops, all three!!!! Do an over the top surf & turf! Enjoy the recipe and happy eating!

  31. Joondabug007

    I have made this three times in the last two weeks and I am ADDICTED. No joke. The third one was the best. It’s a good thing I’m out of cream. (Or maybe a bad thing…)

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