A Basic White Sauce Recipe Or Sauce Bechamel

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Sauce Bechamel or white sauce is one of my favorite sauces. It was the first sauce I learned to make, when I was a kid. It's relatively easy to do and when it's done correctly it is all at once silky, rich, and tastes absolutely lovely.

It is an incredibly versatile sauce that pairs well with many ingredients from eggs to pasta to meat. In addition, bechamel is one of the sauces used for lasagna bolognese, along with Bolognese sauce.

It is also one of the five mother sauces. Thus, it makes the time invested in learning to make it properly, more than worth the effort.

Eggs and white sauce.Eggs and white sauce on whole wheat toast. Yummy!

Sauce Bechamel

Onion steeping in milk for bechamel.

Steep the onion in the milk.

Roux cooking over a low heat.

Make the roux by combining the butter and flour. Allow to cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Straining the onion out of the milk.

Strain the onion out of the milk.

Bechamel sauce in a pot.

Whisk the milk into the roux.

Straining the bechamel sauce.

Finally, strain the bechamel, or white sauce.

Basic White Sauce Recipe AKA Southern Comfort Food

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes


  • Microplane


  • 1/4 medium onion, julienned - red, or yellow onion is fine here.
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • kosher salt to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • fresh grated nutmeg to taste


  1. Combine the shallot and milk in a small saucepan and bring to just barely a scald. (To the point where the milk is just beginning to come to a boil.)
  2. Immediately remove from heat and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes. Then strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  3. In a 1-quart saucier melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Allow the flour and butter mixture (roux) to cook for 3 to 5 minutes. This cooks out the pasty taste of the flour.
  4. Increase the heat to medium. Slowly stream the strained milk into the roux while whisking. Keep whisking until the sauce is smooth.  Alternating between a rubber spatula and whisk continue whisking and scraping the pan until the sauce comes to a very low boil. Allow to boil for about a minute and remove from heat.
  5. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Lastly, pass sauce through a fine mesh strainer and serve.


  1. This is a very versatile sauce that pairs well with a variety of foods as well as forming the basis for other sauces such as mornay sauce, which is basically bechamel with cheese.
  2. Starch thickened sauces must come to a full boil to achieve their maximum thickness. This applies whether you use flour, cornstarch, tapioca powder, arrowroot or any starch to thicken a liquid. However, you can break a starch thickened sauce if you hold it over high heat for too long. Ideally the sauce should just come to a boil and go for about a minute, that's it. Other examples of starch thickened sauces are pastry cream, veloute also a mother sauce, and sweet and sour which, in its most basic form, is just equal parts of vinegar and sugar thickened with arrowroot or cornstarch.

Tags: white sauce recipe, sauce bechamel, bechamel, roux, mother sauce