Béchamel Sauce (White Sauce)

A quick and easy recipe for béchamel sauce (or white sauce) with step-by-step photos.

bechamel sauce in saucepan with bay leaves and wooden spoon

Béchamel Sauce Recipe

If there is one handy sauce recipe to have in your back pocket, it would have to be this béchamel sauce recipe.

From this one basic sauce, you can create other difference sauces, including creamy pasta sauces like for an unctuous macaroni and cheese.

What is Béchamel Sauce?

A béchamel sauce is a French recipe for a white sauce, or a roux sauce.


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You start by melting butter and flour together to form a paste (or a roux), to which you then whisk in milk to form a thick and creamy sauce. And that is your béchamel sauce!

bechamel sauce with bay leaves in saucepan with wooden spoon and knitted cloth

How to Make Béchamel Sauce

Start making the béchamel sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan. Once the butter has melted, stir in the flour with a wooden spoon.

melted butter in saucepan with flour

Cook the paste for a few minutes until it browns a little in colour. This step is also important to cook the flour and prevent the sauce from developing a floury taste later.

flour and butter (roux) cooking in saucepan with wooden spoon

Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time, and keep whisking to ensure that there are no lumps.

Once all of the milk has been added, use a wooden spoon to stir the sauce frequently over medium-high heat.

At this stage, I like to add 1 to 2 fresh bay leaves.

Once the sauce has thickened, take the saucepan off the heat. Grate in some fresh nutmeg and taste for seasoning.

bechamel sauce in saucepan with wire whisk

What to Serve with Béchamel Sauce or White Sauce

I love to use béchamel sauce in pasta dishes like a Spinach Lasagna or a traditional meat lasagna.

At other times, I like to flavour the béchamel sauce with some gentle herbs and spices, together with a good squeeze of lemon juice, to serve alongside grilled fish.

You could also mix in some grated cheese to turn it into a delicious cheese sauce (which the French call Mornay Sauce) to use in recipes like Macaroni and Cheese.

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Béchamel Sauce (White Sauce)

A quick and easy recipe for béchamel sauce (or white sauce) with step-by-step photos.

  • Author: eatlittlebird.com
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 500 ml (2 cups) 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: French

Ingredients

  • 60 g (3 tablespoons) butter
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 500 ml (2 cups) full cream milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • sea salt
  • freshly grated pepper

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour.
  3. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon and cook for 1-2 minutes until it browns a little in colour.
  4. Slowly whisk in the milk and keep whisking until there are no lumps.
  5. Add the bay leaf.
  6. Use a wooden spoon to stir the sauce frequently over medium-high heat until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  7. Take the sauce of the heat and generously grate in some fresh nutmeg.
  8. Taste for seasoning.
  9. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
  10. If you need to thin the béchamel sauce, simply whisk in some milk until you have the right consistency.

Kitchen Notes

ADDITIONAL FLAVOUR
Depending on what you will be serving with this béchamel sauce, you can add more flavour as follows:
* stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard with the flour
* add 1/2 chicken stock cube (or vegetable stock cube) with the flour

CONVERSIONS To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

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