An unforgettable buttery cream sauce with sweet tangy orange and fresh basil. This Orange Basil Cream Sauce works so well with pasta, fish, or chicken. It’ll defiantly be a house favorite.
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask.
The sauce calls for alcohol, what else can I use?
The different ingredients will give different layers of complimentary flavors.
But, if for any reason you don’t want to cook with alcohol, I’d suggest substituting more orange juice or even apple juice for the Cointreau or Grand Marnier, and use broth instead of the dry white wine.
Making these swaps will change the flavor of the sauce, broth will be saltier and more savory than wine. And, depending on what type of broth you use you’ll impart different flavors. Chicken broth will taste different than vegetable broth, or so on.
And, although these changes are different, you may get flavors you will like more, if say, for instance you don’t like the flavor or alcohol, you may be happier with broth. So, don’t be afraid to experiment a bit with a recipe.
Dry white wine
If you are going to cook with the alcohol in this recipe, please do choose a wine that you would drink. Something yummy.
My favorite white wine is Sauvignon blanc. And it works well in this dish!
Sauvignon blanc is often called grassy or crisp, which is because it typically has low levels of sugar and high acidity. Those flavors of grassy and crisp will go very well with the orange and basil of this sauce.
A dry Chardonnay with its buttery flavors will also work well in this recipe.
And, again, as with other flavors, if you have a favorite, that’s probably what you’ll like the most in any recipe.
Want a sauce that’s lighter in calories?
You can lighten this sauce by using whole milk or half & half instead of heavy cream.
Yes, you lose a lot of the calories, but you will also lose some of the creamy, rich, thickness.
It’s still a yummy sauce, just maybe not quite as amazing.
This is a thin sauce; it uses only heat, heavy cream, and butter to thicken it.
It works perfectly over freshly cooked pasta, because the pasta will absorb some of the sauce and thicken it.
If you’d like the sauce to be thicker from the start (my husband likes a thicker sauce), use a little cornstarch or potato starch to thicken it.
Cornstarch to thicken
Start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir until smooth paste forms. This is your slurry. It’s important to make the slurry with cold water, and then add the slurry to the simmering sauce; otherwise, the cornstarch will not blend into the sauce well.
Whisk the slurry into the hot, simmering sauce, towards the end of cooking.
Potato Starch to thicken
Potato starch will work in a similar fashion as cornstarch. Mix equal parts, I’d start with 1 tablespoon each, water and cornstarch into a slurry.
Whisk the slurry in with the hot sauce, continuously until thickened, taking care not to boil if you’re using the potato starch. The large starch granules in potato starch can cause finished sauces to appear grainy, and it tends to thin out after prolonged cooking.
For best results, add potato starch late in the cooking process, and take the sauce off of the heat as soon as it thickens.
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It tasted amazing! Poured it over some chicken coated with flour and added pasta. Came out perfect! Thanks for sharing. ~ Lori & Rick on Facebook
Orange Basil Cream Sauce Recipe
Orange Basil Cream Sauce
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided use
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 ¼ cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Additional fresh basil and orange zest for garnish
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the garlic and the basil and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute; do not brown.
- Add orange juice, Cointreau, and white wine. Bring to a boil, and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
- Add the cream, and simmer for 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
- Garnish with additional fresh basil and orange zest