Easy Cream Sauce

Easy cream sauce in a saucepan being stirred with a wooden spoon

The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
85 Calories
7g Fat
3g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 85
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 10%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 26mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 42mg 3%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 53mg 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.)

A luxurious cream sauce can turn an ordinary dish into something special. This cream sauce recipe is similar to a typical white sauce or béchamel but is richer in taste. It is also versatile—add a bit of elegance with a few tablespoons of chardonnay or other dry white wine, or sprinkle in some Parmesan cheese to give the sauce a little zing. Other types of cheese, as well as a variety of herbs, may also be used to bring this sauce recipe up a notch or to tailor the flavor to whatever you want to serve with it.

Whether basic or with additional ingredients, this is a fabulous sauce to serve over pasta, chicken, shrimp, or fish fillets, and it takes just minutes to fix. You can also use it as the base for a rich and creamy macaroni and cheese by adding a few cups of shredded cheese. It's an excellent sauce to use as a binder in casseroles, too.


Click Play to See This Basic Cream Sauce Recipe Come Together

"This recipe worked well. The proportions of butter, flour, milk, and cream were spot-on. The result was a rich, velvety cream sauce that would make a great starting point for other sauces or perfect to use the way it is. I added an additional 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt." —Danilo Alfaro

Easy Cream Sauce Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup white wine, optional

  • 1 pinch kosher salt, more to taste

  • 1 pinch white pepper, or black pepper, more to taste

  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy cream sauce recipe with variations gathered

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  2. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until bubbles begin to appear around the edge. Keep warm.

    Milk heating in a saucepan with tiny bubbles forming around the edge

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  3. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan over medium-low heat.

    Chunk of butter melting in another saucepan

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  4. Add the flour and stir until the mixture is well blended to make a roux. Continue cooking, stirring, for 2 minutes. Make sure it does not turn brown.

    Flour and melted butter being stirred with a wooden spoon to form a beige paste

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  5. Gradually stir the hot milk into the flour and butter mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce begins to boil and thickens. Simmer, frequently stirring, over very low heat for 5 minutes.

    Milk added to saucepan and thick smooth mixture being stirred with a wooden spoon

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  6. Stir in the cream and wine, if using. Season with salt and pepper and add a little nutmeg if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy.

    Easy cream sauce in sauce boat

    The Spruce Eats

How to Use Easy Cream Sauce

Serve this sauce with basic poached chicken, with turkey, or swap out the beurre blanc in a baked cod dish for the cream sauce. It's also wonderful served over pasta.


  • The white pepper is used just to keep the sauce white. If you prefer the flavor of black pepper, feel free to use freshly ground black pepper.
  • It is important that you keep an eye on the temperature while cooking and continue to stir so that the butter-flour mixture doesn't burn.

Recipe Variations

  • Garlic Cream Sauce: Sauté 1 clove of pressed or minced garlic in the butter for a minute before adding the flour and proceed with the recipe.
  • Shallot Cream Sauce: Sauté 1 tablespoon of minced shallots in the butter until translucent. Add the flour and continue with the recipe. For onion flavor without the texture, add a slice of onion to the milk when heating. Remove the onion slice before you add the hot milk to the roux.
  • Herb Cream Sauce: Add 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped herbs or about 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbs at the end. 
  • Cheesy Cream Sauce: Add 1/4 cup each of Parmesan cheese and shredded Gruyère along with the salt and pepper. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
  • Gouda Cream Sauce: Add 1 cup of shredded smoked Gouda cheese (4 ounces) and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika to the sauce along with the salt and pepper. Simmer until the cheese has melted. Use it in macaroni and cheese, over poached eggs, or with steamed vegetables.
  • You can also make this white sauce without butter.