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Favorite Recipes: White Sauce or Béchamel Sauce

Recipe Author

Name: K. R. P. S. (THEkrps)
Total Recipes: 21



White Sauce or Béchamel Sauce

Dish: Sauces & Dressings
Dish Type: Other
Cooking Method: Stove Top
Difficulty: 5 / 10
Servings: 1 Cup
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 15 min.

  • 2 T - butter
  • 2 T - flour
  • 1 C - (¼ L) milk, heated
  • - Salt
  • - Freshly ground pepper

White Sauce or Béchamel Sauce
From: The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, c1979, pg. 265; 1 Cup

This used to be one of the first lessons in any high school home economics class. White and pasty, this sauce formed the foundation for many bland dishes. When it is well made, however, it has a proper place in homey creamed dishes, often making leftovers stretch or giving cooked foods an entirely new life. And it is important as a base for soufflés. This medium-thick white sauce is sometimes called béchamel. The foolproof way to attain a perfectly smooth sauce is to have your milk hot when you add it to the butter and flour. It uses an extra pot and as you become more proficient, this cautionary measure may not be necessary.

  1. Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don't let it brown—about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat and cook, stirring, for about 2-3 minutes more.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. You may cool this sauce for later use; in that case, cover it with wax paper or pour a film of milk over it to prevent a skin from forming.




Thick Cream Sauce. Use 3 T flour to 1 C milk. This is the consistency needed as a base for croquettes and for soufflés.

Curry Cream Sauce. Add 1 t curry powder and ¼ t ground ginger with the four.

Mock Hollandaise. Just before serving, beat in 2 egg yolks, 6 T butter (1 T at a time), and 1 T lemon juice.

Cheese Sauce. Stir in ½ C grated Cheddar cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking, along with a pinch of cayenne pepper. (For use with Maccaroni & Cheese recipe: Calls for 2 cups, so, this needs to be doubled.)

Mornay Sauce. Add 2 T grated Parmesan cheese and 2 T grated Swiss cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Stir until blended. Just before removing from the heat, beat 2 T of the sauce into 1 lightly beaten egg yolk. Stir the sauce-yolk mixture back into the sauce and add 2 T butter. Cook stirring, 1 minute more.

Member Comments

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Sherry T.
7/15/2011 4:15 AM ET
Wow! I knew how to make the cream sauce, but the Variations! Great!