Traditional recipes

Bechamel sauce recipe

Bechamel sauce recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Side dish
  • Sauce
  • White sauce

This is a quick and easy béchamel sauce.

157 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • 1 dessertspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:35min ›Ready in:40min

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the flour until smooth. Continue stirring as the flour cooks to a light, golden, sandy colour, about 7 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high and slowly whisk in milk until thickened by the roux. Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the flour has softened and not longer tastes of flour, 10 to 20 minutes, then season with salt and nutmeg.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(128)

Reviews in English (86)

by Little Old Lady

Thanks for reminding me of the basic proportions of butter, flour, and milk. Can be seasoned 1000 ways to serve as a base for zillions of dishes. I use it instead of condensed cream of mushroom soup to bind casseroles when I don't want the mushroom taste. With a little nutmeg it is the "creamed" part of creamed spinach. It surrounds the main ingredients in chicken pot pie. It isn't much by itself--its glory is what you can do with it and the rich, comforting texture it gives to a dish, especially casseroles. I looked up the recipe for something to use to bind a salmon casserole, and of course I will add minced onion and seafood-friendly seasonings like Worcestershire to it. If it is too thin for your purpose, simply turn the heat down as low as possible (or put it in the top of a double boiler) and continue cooking and stirring until it thickens more, and/or add grated cheese. For the guy who found it didn't work for pastitsio, that is because the sauce traditionally used for that dish is not actually bechamel, but more of an unsweetened, soft egg & cheese custard. Unfortunately many recipes for moussaka and pastitsio incorrectly refer to the topping as bechamel simply because some flour is used in thickening the milk base (as is done in bechamel) before the egg and cheese are added.-09 Jan 2011

by Priscilla

This turned out perfectly but you have to be patient and cook it the recommended time. Next time, I might put in a little less salt.-27 Apr 2008

by QUEENSHARON00

I was comparing Bechamel Sauce Recipes and this is similar to the one I found on Food Network by Mario Batali which I've made before with the exception of an increase in the nutmeg by 1/4 tsp. This recipe is fabulous and I have added a splash of white wine as I used the sauce for Spinach Lasagna. Decreased the salt to 1 tsp. due to the parm and romano I used with the Ricotta in the filling. Wow and Excellent!!-28 Apr 2009


Place milk in the pan along with onion, bay leaf, and cloves and bring to a boil. Remove and keep aside. In a separate pan melt butter and add flour. Cook till it turns blonde in colour.

Add the strained milk and cook on medium heat till it thickens up. White sauce or béchamel sauce is ready. To the same sauce add grated cheese and stir. This now becomes cheese sauce.

Chef Kunal Kapur

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The mother of French sauces

Now, we all have our favorite sauces, but there are a few that have been given the name of “the five mother French sauces” – béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise, and tomato are those five and they are staples in most French cuisine.

Classical French cuisine has been extraordinarily influential in the culinary world and countless sauces have derived from these originals. Bechamel or “white sauce,” is a simple milk-based sauce made from butter, flour, and milk. It adds a creamy, richness, and complexity to almost any dish and can be used as a base for many other sauces!


Reviews

I did 4 tbsp butter and flour then added 1 1/4 cup milk and a cup or so of cheese. Sprinkled in cayenne and black pepper and poured over macaroni and topped with chives (wish I had breadcrumbs) DELICIOUS.

This sauce was so good. I gave it to my son at his birthday party and he loved it so much. I will cook this sauce everyday and dip chips in it because it is just that good. I think everyone that sees this should create this sauce on there own time. The milk blends the sauce together perfectly. I own a restuarant in Houma Louisiana called Big Easy Bakery and we cook this sauce and put it on busicuits every single day of the year. I think everyone should create the suace and put it on your favorite dish. This sauce w0uld go great on a beautiful cheesburger or a gumbo with shrimp and chicken and sausage. This sauce is a must have inside of your gumbos or stew. It is just so good.

Learn this recipe by heart. You'll use it over and over again.

Was the best bechmel ever

Simply delicious and so easy. We love it. Brings back early childhood memories of simpler times.

Very easy to make. If you look this recipe up in Bing search engine, you can choose the number of servings, and the ingredients is automatically adjusted. The cheese twist (for a cheese sauce is delicious). I tried that for the first time. I was not aware that it is a possibility and it turned out very good. I also substituted some of the milk with white wine. The twist is delicious especially if you are using the bechamel sauce with meat.

So easy, worked perfectly - tasted beautiful.

The milk shouldn’t be heated is what my teacher Taught me it affects the roux.

Hands down, the best classic recipe. A life keeper that's incredibly adaptable.

Creamy, smooth and delicious!

I have not seen this recipe in a book before. My great grandmother came to America on a boat from Sweden back in the 1890’s and taught us this recipe which we have continued to pass it down for generations the only thing we add are homemade (not frozen) Swedish meatballs and boiled potatoes. If you have never had true Swedish meatballs you may not understand but they have so much flavor themselves the sauce just melts them in your mouth for a wonderful creamy flavor that cannot be matched. My children can eat so many I won’t even try to make them unless I have enough ingredients to make a minimum of 6 lbs Of meatballs and 2 cups of this wonderful sauce.

I love this sauce because it is very easy to make. You can pretty much add anything flavoring you like and it will come out very delicious!

So never mind the fool's saying this is bland. this is the basic white sauce for beginner's. This is what I learned in 7th grade home ec. Of course my sauce is absolutely nothing like this anymore, packed full of awesome flavor and technique. But for those beginners out there, this is a great way to start. Learn your basic roux and white sauce then add to it. Seen some reviews and felt I needed to leave one as well. Definitely way to begin.

I haven't made this, there's no need to. It's better with onion, cloves, and a bay leaf, a scrap of nutmeg, and perhaps even a bit of veal to make a classic version. This iteration has to be extremely bland, and only provides a creamy note and moisture. A Bechamel can be more, and in most instances should be rather than this modernized stripped-down version that I'm not sure should even be called a Bechamel.

I absolutely loved this bechamel recipe! This was my first time making bechamel and it came out perfect. I used this recipe for the base of my casserole and it was a hit !This will be my standard recipe for all my future recipes that call for bechamel! I found this recipe easy to follow and super simple to make. I would highly recommend this recipe.

Where's the onion clouté? Not quite a bechamel sauce

I can barely boil water. I had a dream last night about a comfort food my mother used to make for me as a child creamed peas on toast. Typed in 'white sauce', found this, whipped it up, super easy. Sadly, it wasn't quite the same experience of ɼomfort' 45 years later, but it turned out exactly as 'mom used to make.' Yeah, I'll definitely add it to my (limited) bag of culinary tricks. :)

Basic bechamel. Perfect. I will adulterate as needed. Thank you!

Great topping for baked potato and broccoli. Kids loved it with the addition of 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese!

Why are people so intimidated by this simple, classic sauce? It is an easy, versatile sauce that offers endless possibilities. Your intructions are easy to follow and simple to replicate. I always encourage my friends to give it a go!

Skippy, if you follow history back, and I'm assuming your education may include some culinary school, you'll see that in historical cookbooks the classic Béchamel is exactly as stated above. There's been as many variations as there have been originating claims. Béchamel Sauce I (Grasse), as you probably know, included meat stock or meat such as diced veal, thyme, bay leaf, nutmeg and onion. Béchamel Sauce II (Maigre) omitted the veal, but maintained the rest of the ingredients. Whether you believe the founder to be Béchamiel himself, Antoine Carême, or the proclaimed "Chef of Kings" Escoffier, the mother sauce Béchamel was nothing more than scalding milk or even cream,nutmeg and/or pepper, and adding it to a white roux. Scalding or boiling the milk was to prevent souring. As far as the white pepper you're correct, but that was solely for visual appeal. I believe the first written mention of using an onion pique and bay leaf was by Salunier Le rěpertoire de la cuisine, who was mentored by Auguste, but even Escoffiers earlier recipes had no mention of anything in addition to the above. Unfortunately true classic culinary education in America gets distorted, twisted or trampled. Bastardizations of terms such as confit, confiture, saute, etc. are prime examples. I empower you to use this information to educate those responsible for teaching you otherwise. Hoped this helped, and that I didn't come across as arrogant or snobbish, as that was never my intention. I'll end with a not so famous quote: "That fellow Béchamiel has all the luck. I was serving chicken breast á la créme twenty years before he was born, yet, as you can see, I have never had the chance of giving my name to the most insignificant of sauces! " -- Duke dɾscars, Larousse Gastronomique

Loved it. Would recommend! I've made this bunches of times with my daughter. She loved it too!

This is for a white sauce, not a béchamel. The classic French mother sauce calls for a few extra ingredients these are: an onion piqué which is an onion covered with a bay leaf pierced with cloves. About 1/8 of a teaspoon of nutmeg. If you're using fresh, and you should, then about 4 scrapes across the grater. White pepper. The rest of the ingredients are the same but the prep is a little different. Heat the milk, along with the onion piqué, salt, white pepper and nutmeg to scalding. Let it simmer for 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Do not let it boil. Remove the onion when you're done. Follow through with the recipe as listed.

People in the south call it gravy. You can also use something like rendered bacon fat or sausage fat to boost that flavor!


  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and white pepper or finely ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (about 1/8 teaspoon)

In a medium saucepot, warm milk over medium-low heat with bay leaf.

In a skillet, melt butter and when it foams, whisk in flour and stream in milk. Season with salt, white or fine black pepper and nutmeg, and thicken to coat spoon then remove from heat.


Recipe Summary

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 cups whole milk

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add flour and salt cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden, has a slightly nutty aroma, and is the texture of cooked oatmeal, about 5 minutes.

Whisking constantly, pour in 2 cups milk add 2 more cups milk and whisk until smooth. Cook mixture, stirring constantly along the bottom of pan, until boiling, about 7 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and does not feel grainy when a very small amount is rubbed between two fingers, about 10 minutes.


In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat (do not allow it to brown). Add flour and whisk to form a paste. Continue to cook, stirring, until raw flour scent is gone, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, add milk in a thin, steady stream, or in increments of a couple of tablespoons at a time, whisking thoroughly and getting into all corners of the pan to maintain a homogeneous texture. Sauce will initially become very thick, then get very thin once all the milk is added.

Heat, stirring, until sauce comes to a simmer and begins to thicken slightly. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Add nutmeg to taste, if using. If any lumps form, simply whisk thoroughly to remove them and smooth out sauce, or use a hand blender or countertop blender if lumps are particularly large or tough. Use sauce right away, or press a piece of plastic wrap over surface of sauce to prevent a skin from forming and keep warm until ready to use. Sauce can be cooled and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for several days. Reheat very gently on the stovetop or in a microwave to use.


Béchamel Sauce - large quantity

A béchamel sauce is one of the four “mother” sauces in the traditional French cooking repertoire. The others — although we're sure you know them already — are sauce velouté (a white sauce made with stock), sauce espagnole (a brown sauce made with stock), and sauce allemande (a velouté that has been thickened with egg yolks). The béchamel sauce is simply a milk-based white sauce. And the good news is, it is incredibly easy to make.


Now, you can be much fancier with your preparation, and the classic French chefs would like you to be because it produces more flavor. You can add a small onion, a bay leaf, and a clove to the milk and simmer it for 15 minutes before straining it and adding it to the roux, or you can add them to the sauce once it has been mixed and simmer that very gently for 15 to 30 minutes before you strain out the onion, bay leaf and clove.

You can also throw a peeled carrot, a celery stalk, and a bouquet garni into the mix, which, of course, you also strain or fish out before you use the sauce. It is also quite traditional to use a pinch of nutmeg in the sauce, although you must use a light hand, because you don't want that flavor to dominate the sauce.


Baked Penne Pasta with Bechamel and Meat Sauce Recipe

There are many Italian baked pasta, or pasta al forno, recipes, the most common in the U.S. being lasagna and baked ziti. This particular dish is a bit reminiscent of baked ziti, though meatier and creamier.

Although this baked penne pasta recipe is traditionally considered a primo, it is hearty enough to stand as a meal on its own, perhaps accompanied by a green salad and some warm crusty bread.

This particular dish is so easy to make and can feed a hungry crowd that will be so pleased once they bite into the baked penne pasta with the creamy bechamel and light meat ragu sauce.

You can also make this ahead of time and bake it upon arrival of your guests, or it can be frozen for when you need to put a hearty dinner on the table but don’t have the time. If you leave out the ragu, it is still delicious and will satisfy any of your vegetarian guests.


Chef Recipe Notes + Tips

Make-Ahead: You can make this sauce up to 2 days ahead of time.

How to Store: Keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Do not freeze the sauce as it will break when thawing it.

How to Reheat: Simply place your desired amount into a small saucepan and whisk over low heat until thick.

You’ll know it’s scalded if you tilt the pan back to yourself and see bubbles clinging to the bottom of the pan but not sticking to it.

If the sauce gets too thick when making it or reheating it, simply add a ¼ cup of hot milk at a time until it is to a thinner consistency.

You must wait for the sauce to boil after mixing in the roux for it to thicken, other wide it will remain on the thinner side.