Basic Medium Béchamel Sauce With Variations

Basic Bechamel Sauce in an enameled pot with a whisk

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
64 Calories
5g Fat
4g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 64
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 117mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 51mg 4%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 61mg 1%
*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.


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  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup milk, heated

  • Salt, to taste

  • Ground white pepper, to taste

  • Freshly ground nutmeg, optional

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.