How to Make a White Sauce (Bechamel)

A basic white sauce is made from very simple ingredients. Various spices can be added to create elegant or filling effects. A white sauce is good over vegetables or on meats. With some sweetening it can also be poured over fresh fruit, such as strawberries.

Basic White Sauce Recipe


4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk


In a sauce pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour, mixing it so that all of the flour is damp with butter. (This combination of butter and flour is called a roux.) Then add milk. Stir constantly until sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. This recipe can be made thicker or thinner by putting in more or less milk.

White Sauce Recipe Ideas

For roasted chicken, an excellent sauce is Gorgonzola. Add 3/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola, two cloves of garlic (minced), and two tablespoons parsley, stir until cheese is melted. Pour Gorgonzola sauce over individual servings of roasted chicken breast. Serve with potatoes and fresh zucchini.

To complement a green vegetable such as peas or green beans, try a shot of nutmeg in the sauce. This same sauce, with a bit of sugar added, could be used over bread pudding.

The French call white sauce, "bechamel".

To make a bechemel sauce in the French style, add minced onion to the roux. A couple nails of cloves, a dash of nutmeg, and a bay leaf can be tossed in after the milk (or meat stock might also be used). Simmer for a few minutes. Remove the cloves and bay leaf before serving. For an interesting flavor twist, add a small shot of sherry.

With the spices available today, there is nearly an infinite number of sauces that can be made. Informed experimentation is the key to coming up with the best combination in creating the perfect white sauce.

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