How to Make Bechamel Sauce
Learn how to make bechamel from scratch—and soon you'll be saucing like a pro.
Even if you’ve never heard of bechamel sauce, chances are high that you’ve enjoyed it. From mac and cheese to chicken and dumplings, bechamel is the white sauce that is the base for many rich and creamy comfort foods.
With the humble combination of butter, flour and milk, this technique-based sauce is like watching magic as it comes together. And while it may feel intimidating for a beginner, if you follow these steps, you’ll be making restaurant-style sauces in no time.
What Is Bechamel?
A bechamel sauce is one of the five mother sauces of French cuisine. You start by making a roux, whisking butter and flour together over heat, then the milk or cream is slowly whisked in. The mixture thickens as it’s stirred and soon becomes thick enough for things like creamy gravy or a Lasagna with White Sauce.
How to Make Bechamel from Scratch
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Dash white pepper
- 1 cup 2% milk
Step 1: Make roux
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper until it comes together and starts to form a sort of paste.
Step 2: Add milk
Gradually whisk in milk. Slowly bring to a boil while stirring constantly, about one to two minutes. Reduce to simmer and allow to continue to thicken for five more minutes. Use this sauce immediately to make bechamel lasagna!
Tips for Making Bechamel Sauce
For best results, use your bechamel sauce right away. If you do have to hold it, store it in the fridge for up to three days. To reheat, warm on low and stir constantly as it loosens.
The trickiest part of making sauces is that they can break, which means they separate and curdle, looking rather unappetizing. But have no fear, follow these tricks and you can fix a broken sauce like a pro!
My personal preference is to use whole milk, because I like the creamiest option available. However, if you don’t have whole milk on hand, stick with the recipe and make a bechamel from 2%. For a lower-fat sauce, try non-fat milk.
- You can easily double or triple this recipe if needed.