Mirepois: How To And Why To Make It

Here’s something that helps save time, all while creating depth of flavor in a wide array of dishes. It takes about thirty minutes from start to finish. The diversity of ways you can use it is practically endless (in the kitchen, that is).

Basics: Finely chop two parts onion, one part carrot and one part celery (see below for variations, and why). Saute on very low heat with butter. Use or freeze. Details below.

Five Common Variations

Depending on what type of dish you’re making, you can globe-trot with this traditionally French cooking element. Here are three variations to try out (there are more!):

  • The Holy Trinity (Cajun): onion, green bell pepper, and celery in the following ratio: two parts onion, one part green bell pepper, and one part celery. This can be used in gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya and any number of Cajun-inspired dishes.
  • Italian Soffritto: Mince your mirepoix ingredients rather than dicing, and use olive oil rather than butter.
  • Spanish Sofrito: Tomatoes, onions, garlic, and any other herbs or peppers you like in a red sauce.

How to Make Mirepoix

Classic mirepoix is cooked in butter over low heat or medium-low heat. Cook them until they’re soft, fragrant, and translucent (not brown or carmelized).

Basic Mirepoix Recipe


  • 1 medium onion, about 8 ounces
  • 1 large carrot, about 4 ounces
  • 2 celery ribs, about 4 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Wash and trim your vegetables
  2. Chop onions, carrots, and celery, small.
  3. Melt butter over low heat.
  4. Add vegetables and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are translucent.
  5. Use immediately, or refrigerate or freeze for later use.

Suggestions for tweaking the concepts

Start with the ratio of each of these and make them your own by predicting what dishes you’ll be using them for. Do you make a lot of pasta dishes or maybe during the fall some slow cooker faves? Try adding herbs, garlic, potatoes or other kinds of peppers or even chilies for salsa or egg dishes. Think of these as tools in your tool chest. On a slow Sunday, throw a pan on the burner, melt some butter (hey…try using your olive or coconut oil, why not?), dice a few veggies for ten minutes if your already cooking, and mind the heat. Then refrigerate or freeze for yourself to enjoy later on a busy day or just when you feel like upping your game.

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