What is Melba Sauce?

G. Wiesen

Melba sauce is a type of fruit sauce typically prepared using currant jelly, raspberries, and usually includes some cornstarch or a similar thickener. The resulting sauce is sweet and fruity, and is often associated with a dessert dish called Peach Melba, though it can be drizzled onto any dessert such as ice cream, angel food cake, frozen yogurt, or pudding. Melba sauce is usually made with raspberries, though any similar type of fruit could be used to create a variation of the sauce, which would allow a cook to add some unique flavors to otherwise familiar dishes.

Cornstarch is typically used to thicken Melba sauce.
Cornstarch is typically used to thicken Melba sauce.

One of the easiest ways to make Melba sauce is by using a double boiler, with some water in the lower portion over medium heat. A traditional recipe will use raspberries, either fresh or frozen. The berries should be pressed through a sieve to separate the solids and seeds from the juice. Those solids can be used in another recipe if appropriate or discarded, since Melba sauce only requires the juice from the berries.

Peaches are cooked in syrup and then drizzled with Melba sauce to make Peach Melba.
Peaches are cooked in syrup and then drizzled with Melba sauce to make Peach Melba.

The currant jelly and the raspberry juice should be combined in the top of the double boiler and allowed to come up to a boil while mixing. By using a double boiler rather than direct heat, someone making the Melba sauce can more easily avoid scalding or burning the sauce as it comes together. Once it is brought to boiling, some cornstarch, a small amount of salt, and some sugar are added to the mixture and thoroughly combined.

This mixture is then allowed to cook, with frequent or constant stirring, until it properly thickens and becomes fairly translucent. The resulting Melba sauce will be thick and have a strong berry flavor that is the perfect accompaniment for many different desserts. Berries other than raspberry can also easily be used, following the same method and technique to create a slightly different sauce.

Peach Melba is made by first blanching a whole peach in boiling water for about 15 seconds, then removing the peach from the water and peeling the skin off. A syrup of sugar, water, and vanilla is then made and heated, into which the skinned peach is placed and allowed to cook for about seven minutes. The peach is then removed from the syrup and allowed to drain and dry for about an hour, before being cut in half and pitted. Each half is placed into a bowl — the peaches can be warm or chilled — then Melba sauce is drizzled over each peach half and served.

Blanch peaches in boiling water to remove the skin.
Blanch peaches in boiling water to remove the skin.

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Discussion Comments


I have many fond memories of my grandmother's melba sauce. She was an amazing cook and especially loved making desserts with sauce.

On birthdays she really pushed the boat out, and let us choose the treat we'd most like. I always went for her special orange melba sauce, a raspberry and orange juice mixture.

As a cheesecake sauce this could not be beaten. I would love to have inherited her culinary skills but it wasn't to be. Still, at least memories are non fattening!


I’m kind of backward when it comes to making melba sauce. I like to make it out of currant jelly and peaches, and then I pour it over a bowl of raspberries.

Like raspberries, peaches contain a ton of juice that can be used to make the sauce. I mix it with the jelly and add the sugar, salt, and cornstarch to it.

I cook the raspberries in the syrupy mixture of vanilla, sugar, and water. I drain them and put them in a bowl, where they await the melba sauce.


Melba sauce adds flavor to foods like angel cake and lowfat yogurt. I use it over these foods as well as peaches. This way, I can actually enjoy lowfat desserts.

I love eating melba sauce on bananas. Sometimes, I drizzle just a little melted dark chocolate on the banana before covering it with the sauce. Raspberries go so well with chocolate, and I figure just a touch of it won’t hurt my diet!

I have a friend who covers toast with melba sauce. To me, it gets too soggy, but she doesn’t mind the texture, because she says the flavor is amazing.

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