Basic Medium Bechamel Sauce With Variations

Basic Bechamel Sauce

The Spruce

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
126 Calories
7g Fat
12g Carbs
3g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 14mg 5%
Sodium 303mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 3g
Calcium 78mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Béchamel is a standard white sauce and one of the five mother sauces of classical cuisine. This recipe includes several variations, including Mornay, mustard sauce, herb sauce, and more.

This is a medium sauce. For a thin sauce, use 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour. For a thick sauce, use 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of flour.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heated milk
  • salt to taste
  • white pepper to taste
  • Optional: freshly ground nutmeg

Steps to Make It

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan or saucier over medium heat. Add flour and stir until mixture is well blended. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

  2. Gradually stir in hot milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce begins to boil and thickens.

  3. Simmer, stirring frequently, over very low heat for 5 minutes.

  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a little nutmeg, if desired.

Recipe Variations

  • Mornay Sauce: Add 1/2 cup grated cheese to 1 cup of hot sauce; stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Season with a little mustard or Worcestershire sauce to taste.
  • Velouté Sauce: Substitute chicken, beef, fish, or vegetable broth for the milk.
  • Herb Sauce: Add 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped herbs or 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs to 1 cup of hot sauce. Cook for a minute or two longer to get more flavor from the herbs.
  • Cream Sauce: Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of heavy cream to the finished sauce. For an onion flavor, add an onion slice to the milk when heating; remove onion slice before adding milk to flour and butter mixture.
  • Mustard Sauce: Combine 1 teaspoon dry mustard to flour used in sauce. This sauce is especially good with fish and chicken.