French Béchamel Sauce (White Sauces)

French Béchamel Sauce (White Sauces)

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Raise you hand if you remember making your first Béchamel Sauce or it’s cousin, Velouté Sauce in your home economics class!

Both are considered sauces méres, (mother sauces) because so many other sauces are derived from them.  They sound really fancy, but they belong to the family of white sauces because they are made with milk or cream, (for béchamel), or white stock, (for velouté).  They are not identical, but are often used interchangeably.

Are you aware of how many dishes you can make with béchamel sauce?  Allow me to go back to my 7th grade Home EC class. Our teacher had us make a very basic white sauce and we added hard boiled eggs to it and served it over toast, Eggs Ala Goldenrod.  It sure wasn’t my thing, but the other 3 kids in my kitchen absolutely loved it!  I remember going home and telling my Mom about what we made.  She simplified it for me, “You made Creamed Eggs over Toast.”  I have since used this Cheery Basic countless times, and you will too.

“That fellow Béchamel has all the luck!  I was serving breast of chicken á la crème more than 20 years before he was born, but I have never had the chance of giving my name to even the most modest sauce.”

~ Duke of Escars, 17th century 

French Béchamel Sauce is easy and versatile. You'll use it in so many ways we're excited to share with you. Save money, no more canned cream soups! It freezes well too.

Pin this Cheery Basic. We’ll be sharing all kinds of ways to use it!

FRENCH BÉCHAMEL SAUCE (WHITE SAUCES)

Roux

The first step in preparing a Béchamel or Velouté sauce is to make a roux which consists of equal parts of fat and starch that is mixed together and cooked.  Generally this creates a medium white sauce.  You can vary the thin or thickness of the sauce by adding more or less fat or starch.  Also, if you use cream, your sauce will be thicker–and richer, than one made with milk or stock.  A more flavorful sauce can be achieved by adding onions, celery, and seasonings.

  • In a saucepan, (have I said how much I love my everyday pan, I use it for everything), over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until blended, 2 minutes.
  • Gradually add the milk, half and half, or cream, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and continue to whisk, (silicone whisks are great for non-stick pans), until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Increase the heat to medium and simmer to blend the flavors, 2 to 3 minutes.
Bechamel Sauce | cheerykitchen.com
Bechamel Sauce | cheerykitchen.com
Bechamel Sauce | cheerykitchen.com
Bechamel Sauce | cheerykitchen.com
Bechamel Sauce | cheerykitchen.com
Bechamel Sauce | cheerykitchen.com
5 from 1 reviews
Béchamel Sauce (White Sauce)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A basic sauce that can be added to and changed up, Béchamel Sauce and it's cousin Velouté Sauce are what so many sauces are derived from. Stop spending money on canned creamed soups and easily make your own for pennies!
Author:
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: French
Serves: 1-1/2 cups
Ingredients
For Medium Consistency:
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups scalded milk, half and half, or cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Whisk in flour to make roux. Cook, whisking constantly until roux is frothy and free of lumps, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and add the hot liquid to the roux. Continue whisking until sauce is thick and smooth about 3 to 5 more minutes.
  4. Return sauce to medium heat and simmer uncovered until the desired consistency is achieved
  5. Add salt and pepper.
Notes
Velouté Sauce
Follow direction for making Béchamel Sauce, replacing milk or cream with chicken, fish, or veal stock depending on the food the sauce is being served with.
For Low-carb: I've had good success using almond or coconut flour when making this sauce.
For Gluten Free: Use a gluten free flour mix for great results. I recommend King Arthur Brand Gluten Free Flour.
Many recipes call for white pepper. I actually have always used black pepper, loving how it looks and tastes!

 

Congratulations, now you’re ready to use Béchamel Sauce in dishes such as lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and moussaka, and it can also serve as the base for soufflés, soups, and savory pie fillings.  If you’re a seasoned pro sauce creator, how do you like to use it?  Please let us know in the comments below and rate our recipe too!!!

Come see what Alison is cheering about on Wednesday and a great way to use Béchamel Sauce on Friday.  Just know we love having you here!

About The Author

Renée

Renée is passionate about making and sharing ALL things delicious! Her happy place really is her kitchen where she loves whipping up memories with her family and friends. Raised in sunny Southern California she's spent her adulthood in Idaho, both sides of her great state. She's married to an amazing man, and together they have 5 children, who gave them five more, and now they have 22 grandchildren. So there’s always a reason to cook and celebrate around their place!

26 Comments

  1. jEFF @ mAKE IT lIKE A mAN!

    I stumbled upon your blog this morning. I loved that it’s a shared effort! Coincidentally, I made eight – yes eight – batches of white sauce for several mushroom lasagnas that I served at a large brunch over the weekend. I would’ve loved to have seen your low-carb and gluten-free options; I’ll keep them in mind for the future.
    jEFF @ mAKE IT lIKE A mAN! recently posted…How To Make Sour Cream Pierogi Dough in a Stand MixerMy Profile

    Reply
    • Alison

      Thanks Jeff! We have quite a few of those options on our site that you will love!

      Reply
  2. Joanna

    I really like bechamel sauce but I have to admit I was never comfortable making it because of the flour. Don’t know why, I’m afraid it’s going to stick to the pan and I’ll never see the end of it again :))
    Joanna recently posted…How to survive a 48 hours flightMy Profile

    Reply
    • Alison

      Renee is the champion of this sauce and if you follow her steps it comes out perfectly every time! 🙂

      Reply
    • Renée

      Joanna, Please don’t ever be afraid to cook. Even if you have a failed attempt, you are learning what not to do next time. If you clearly follow the recipe chances are most of the time you will have a success!!! Go for it and please let us know how your sauce turns out.
      Renée recently posted…Cheesy Au Gratin PotatoesMy Profile

      Reply
  3. ROBERT LEE

    Alison,

    I am still learning. I previously erroneously though a sauce is a sauce. So there is ‘mother sauce.’ I wonder…

    Do you think you could feature sauce for spaghetti bolognese? I would love to try that. <— with a smile.

    Reply
    • Renée

      We can surely plan on sharing one in the near future Robert. Thanks for a great suggestion!

      Reply
  4. Michelle

    OK this is funny. I had a classmate bring something with bechemel sauce to class and she told me it was cheese so I wouldn’t eat it because I don’t like cheese. So obviously she was wrong. Maybe I’ll give this a try. We obviously never learned this in home ec 🙂
    Michelle recently posted…Chalkola Chalk Markers ReviewMy Profile

    Reply
    • Renée

      You can make it a Mornay sauce by adding cheese. It’s the base for many different sauces. Thanks for reading Michelle.

      Reply
  5. Kat

    Thanks for the step-by-step instruction Renée! I love the photos as well. I cook pasta occasionally but hadn’t tried making bechamel sauce yet. I’m sure to look up this page if I decide to try and whip up a (hopefully) delicious lasagna recipe. 🙂

    Reply
    • Renée

      Greatest Kat, thanks!

      Reply
  6. Madz

    I didn’t know bechamel had another name.I’m gonna share this with my husband who loves to make lasagna!

    Reply
    • Renée

      Awesome, thanks Madz!

      Reply
  7. Marge Gavan

    Nope, not raising my hand because I’ve never tried making bechamel sauce hahaha… But now that you’ve provided a recipe I might just give it a try. Hopefully, I can replicate it hahaha… Thanks for sharing this recipe Renee.

    Reply
    • Renée

      Marge, it’s time to try this! Just wish I could be right there to guide you, but if you follow the recipe, you’ll find it’s much easier than you would think. You will also start to see it in so many recipes. Go for it!!!! Oh, and please share your experience, cheering others on!!!!

      Reply
  8. Arrianne Guzman

    Wow!!!! I want to start to learn how to cook. I think one of the things I’d like to immediately learn is the sauce. I feel it can make or break whatever it is you’re cooking. Great post as always. I like how you put the details. For someone like me who is new to cooking, I can easily understand and follow your steps. 🙂

    Reply
    • Renée

      Thanks so much Arrianne, this sauce is the perfect place to start. You’ll be a pro in no time!!!!

      Reply
    • Renée

      Thanks Sonnie, we hope your daughter and her fellow students will visit Cheery Kitchen!

      Reply
  9. Me-An Clemente

    This is my first time seeing a Béchamel sauce recipe and I’ve never tried making one. Maybe it’s time for me to try this when I get back at our house. It looks pretty easy to make. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Reply
    • Renée

      You’re right, it’s super easy and you’ll use it often. Thanks!

      Reply
  10. Klaudia

    I love love love Bechamel Sauce , I could dump anything in Bechamel sauce , with lots of nutmeg in 🙂 Thanks for sharing these recipes and for reminding me of ROUX !!! Haven’t prepared that in years ! A lovely ratatouille with it , yummie stuff !

    Reply
    • Renée

      Me too Klaudia and will add ratatouille to our list, thanks!

      Reply
  11. Raffa

    I love Béchamel and love doing it. Since my mother is an expert in french cuisine I know how to make this sauce since I was 7! I have to be careful now with eating it because I always feel sick after eating anything with milk. I absolute love your blog and it’s bookmarked in a folder named Temptations. hehe 🙂

    Reply
  12. Macy Santos

    I’ve been cooking with white sauce and it is only now that I confirmed that it is called bechamel sauce. Love the simple steps and the images you shared here. Now I am planning to use this creamy sauce in my next fish fillet dish with bell pepper.

    Reply
    • Renée

      Oh that sounds delicious Macy. I enjoy fish and bell peppers and the sauce would be very nice with both, thanks!

      Reply

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We're Alison and Renée, and we're so glad you've joined us! Our kitchens are our happy place, where we're whipping up memories. Get comfy and check things out. We hope you find inspiring dishes and ways to better your life. Feeling optimistic, trying new things and sharing with those we love brings joy in all we do. It's time to cook, create and celebrate. CHEERS! Read More…

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