What’s the difference between a sauce and a glaze? A sauce is a condiment that is added to food after it is cooked and a glaze is applied during the cook. Most glazes tend to be a lot thicker than any sauce you use and the sugar levels are a lot higher.
While hams are the most commonly glazed protein, you can (and should!) use glazes on ribs, chicken, duck, and seafood.
I’ll show you my basics glaze, plus four different variations to use for a variety of different proteins.
Sauce VS Glaze: What’s the difference?
The exact difference is up for some debate but the way I like to think about it, a glaze is a type of sauce that has a thicker, shinier texture and sticks to food.
Glazes are typically applied during the cook (but not necessarily at the start) while a sauce is added at the end.
What about marinades you ask? That is typically when the meat sits in a sauce before being cooked
When to use a glaze
Cooking is personal, what one person does in their backyard or kitchen, shouldn’t dictate what you do in yours.
In saying that, there are some proteins that go so well with a glaze. Pork and chicken would have to be up there.
I love Asian style cooking, whether it be Chinese, Korean Cantonese. These styles of cooking rely heavily on glazes to bring an extra depth of flavor to their style of cooking and the different provinces.
Then there are parts of America that rely on glazes to finish off their proteins. Even the Texas mop sauce, it may be named sauce but it is essentially a glaze, yes it’s thinner and it has more savory notes than the average glaze but it has every other characteristic of a glaze.
Similar to using a Plum sauce in Asian cuisine, it is put on the meat as a glaze in the final part of the cooking process, yet it’s name has sauce in it but it is in fact a glaze when you consider how it is applied to the food.
My standard ‘go-to’ glaze
There’s no need to over complicate making a glaze. The glaze’s primary goal is to add another element of flavor and texture to our food, a sweet sticky awesome flavor.
For this glaze, we just need to place all of the measured ingredients into a small saucepan, the bottom of the pan, the less chance of burning the sauce due to the high sugar count of the glaze.
Now we need to warm up the glaze of a medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly. We are just allowing the sugars to dissolve and the mix to thicken up.
Just remember, stir, stir, stir, we do not want this to burn.
Once the sugars are all dissolved and the glaze has thickened up, it is ready to use, so remove it from the heat.
5 Delicious Glaze Recipes to Try
You can subtract ingredients and also add more ingredients into this glaze to suit other proteins and your own personal taste.
1. Maple Mustard Glaze
- ¾ cup of maple syrup (or honey if you prefer)
- ¾ cup of brown sugar (tightly packed)
- 3 tbsp Dijon mustard (or any plain mustard)
- ¾ tsp of ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp of Allspice (or nutmeg)
2. Asian Chicken Gaze:
- Take out the cinnamon, allspice, mustard and brown sugar.
- Change the maple syrup for honey and lower it to 1/3 of a cup.
- Add a couple of tbsp of kecap manis to the mix.
- A tsp of soy sauce to add a nice savory salty depth of flavor.
- Add 2 tsp of peeled and grated fresh ginger.
- And 2 cloves of freshly grated garlic and the juice of one lime.
- For the heat lovers, add a tbsp of Sweet Chili Sauce, it’s not too hot but will give it a little kick. Although if you really want to add some fire to it, drop in a teaspoon or two if you can handle it, or some Dried red pepper flakes instead of the sweet chili sauce.
3. Duck Glaze:
- Remove the cinnamon and allspice.
- Change the maple syrup for an even amount of honey and maple syrup.
- Change the 3 tbsp of Dijon mustard to only one.
- 1 tsp of Dried thyme
- ½ a cup orange juice
- ½ a cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic garlic
- 3 tbsp of orange liqueur or port wine
4. Pork Chop Glaze:
- Change the maple syrup to just a ¼ cup of honey.
- Remove the brown sugar, Dijon mustard, cinnamon and allspice.
- Add 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (or any white vinegar you have).
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- 6 cloves of minced garlic
- ¼ cup of chicken broth
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tbsp of unsalted butter
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Rib Glaze:
- Remove the ground cinnamon and allspice.
- Lower the maple syrup to only 1/3 of a cup.
- Raise the mustard quantity to 1/3 of a cup of Dijon (or any plain yellow mustard).
- Add in 2/3 cup of ketchup.
- 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (or any white vinegar)
- 1 tsp of black pepper
Maple-Mustard Ham Glaze
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- Add all ingredients to a cold saucepan.
- Bring up to temp over a medium heat, while constantly stirring to avoid burning.
- Heat for around 15 minutes until all ingredients have mixed together, all sugars have dissolved and the glaze has thickened up to the consistency you like.
- Once ready, remove from the heat and use.
Serving or apply:
- A glaze should be applied during the cook.
- Depending on the sugar content, will dictate how far along in the cooking process it should be applied.
- If a very large quantity of sugar is in the glaze, like honey, maple syrup and brown sugar, then the glaze should be used in only the last 30 minutes of the cook to avoid burning.