Classic Bechamel Sauce
Classic Bechamel Sauce

Also known as white sauce, bechamel is made with just 3 ingredients: flour, butter and milk. Use this creamy classic béchamel sauce in a casserole, casserole, lasagna or mac and cheese.

White sauce or béchamel sauce is one of the five classic French mother sauces. In the annals of classic French cooking, there are five “mother” sauces: béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise, and tomato sauce.

All of these sauces have descendants, or daughters if you wish, and once you learn them, you can create a variety of sauces by adding other ingredients that suit your intended purpose.

How to make a bechamel

For all its versatility, you might think that preparing the sauce would be difficult and time-consuming. It is not! You can whip up the sauce in less than 10 minutes.

In fact, it only has three ingredients: milk, flour, and butter. It starts with a blonde roux, made by whisking together the flour and butter in a saucepan on the stovetop for about 2 minutes. That’s just long enough to cook the flour without browning it, to get rid of the pasty taste that comes from raw flour. Once the roux is bubbling for a minute or two, add half the milk, beating to remove any lumps. Then stir in the remaining milk.

Many recipes advocate hot milk when making bechamel, but I’ve found that heating the milk is an unnecessary extra step. In practice, the sauce is easier to handle with cold milk, as lumps do not form as quickly.

The sauce will take a little longer to cook than if you add hot milk, but you save an extra step. Once the sauce boils, it needs to continue cooking for at least a minute so that it thickens. Stir constantly and keep an eye on the bottom of the pot to avoid burning.

Bechamel is one of the easiest mother sauces to make and you’re sure to succeed if you pay attention to these details.

  • Prevent the flour from browning as you prepare the roux. If it seems like it’s cooking too quickly, simply slide the pan off the heat and keep stirring until the pan has cooled; It continues to cook with residual heat.
  • Stir constantly as you add the milk to avoid burning the bottom of the saucepan and forming lumps.
  • Cooking the flour is the key to a delicious sauce!
  • Pay attention to the bottom corners of the pan and scrape the edges with the whisk from time to time.

How to adjust the consistency of a béchamel

The béchamel sauce in this recipe has a “medium” consistency. This is how you adjust the consistency of the sauce to your liking. Add a little milk to thin the sauce if it’s too thick. If it’s too thin, you can stir in a few teaspoons of it burre mania.

Burre mania is the French term (literally “kneaded butter”) for a paste made from equal parts butter and flour, mixed until smooth. It can be added to thicken pretty much any sauce. It melts easily in the sauce with the whisk. The sauce needs to simmer gently for a minute or two to fully cook the flour once you’ve added that burre mania.

What can you do with bechamel sauce?

The beauty of all mother sauces is that they are available to you for countless variations. Bechamel is no exception.

Add cheese and it becomes one morning Sauce. Typical French morning Gravy would be added to Swiss or Gruyere cheeses to spoon over eggs, fish or vegetables (think of a plate of perfectly cooked asparagus, for example). Stir in shredded cheddar and macaroni and it becomes macaroni and cheese!

Croque Monsieur, is a famous French sandwich made with hot ham and cheese, where béchamel is the starting point. You can’t say no to succulent cheese sauce on a sandwich rendered golden under the grill. Doesn’t that make you hungry?

Cream is added to béchamel sauce cream for baked or fried gratins. For fish or poultry, add mustard to a classic béchamel for a flavorful sauce. sauce soubise is made with a béchamel sauce and thinly sliced ​​or mashed onions soaked in butter. It can be stirred into risotto or served alongside a roast chicken. The list goes on and on.

How to store or freeze bechamel

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Heat on stovetop over low heat, stirring constantly. You can freeze bechamel in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Heat the frozen block in a small saucepan with a lid over low heat, stirring well. Pour a thin layer of water at the bottom of the saucepan, stirring often as the sauce begins to liquify.

Classic béchamel sauce

preparation time
5 minutes

cooking time
10 mins

total time
15 minutes

8 servings

2 cups of sauce


  • 2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butterdivided

  • 3 tablespoon all purpose flour

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon Saltor more, to taste

  • 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon, white or black pepper (Optional)


  1. Make the blonde roux:

    In a heavy-bottomed 6-cup saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the flour and whisk until the butter and flour mixture forms small bubbles with a faint hue, about 2 minutes.

  2. Stir in milk:

    Add 1 cup milk (at a time) and beat until sauce is smooth and free of lumps. Whisk together the remaining 1 cup milk (all at once) with the salt and white or black pepper.

    Increase the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a boil, breaking up small bubbles on the surface and creating puffs of steam. Stir the boiling sauce for an additional 2 minutes or until thickened and no longer tastes like raw flour.

    The finished sauce should have a thick, sauce-like consistency.

  3. Use or store the sauce:

    Use immediately or transfer to a storage container. Spread the remaining 1 teaspoon butter over the top of the hot sauce to prevent a skin from forming.

    Chill the sauce for 10 to 15 minutes before storing. Keep tightly closed in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

nutritional information (per serving)
78 calories
5g Fat
5g carbohydrates
2g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!