Bechamel Sauce

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 4 servings

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This Bechamel Sauce is a basic cooking staple made with butter, flour, milk, salt, and pepper! It’s a simple, versatile, and customizable white sauce that’s ready in just 10 minutes.

bechamel sauce in white gravy boat
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Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients Needed:
  2. How to Make Bechamel Sauce
  3. Bechamel Sauce FAQs
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. More Homemade Sauces to Try
  6. Bechamel Sauce recipe Recipe

This Bechamel Sauce recipe is my version of a French cooking staple. Bechamel is one of the five “mother sauces” which are sauces designed to be a starting point for other sauces or that are used to accompany other dishes.

This sauce can be served as-is or customized with aromatics, spices, herbs, cheeses, broth, you name it. It’s often used as a base for Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, Baked Mac and Cheese and even included in many Lasagna recipes instead of a ricotta layer.

It can also be served with your favorite pasta, sandwich, protein, veggie, etc. The possibilities are pretty much endless! See lots of variations down below.

This white sauce recipe is a simple, 5-ingredient recipe that is ready in just 10 minutes.

Ingredients Needed:

This white sauce recipe requires just a few super simple ingredients!

  • Unsalted Butter: I like to start with unsalted butter so I can control the saltiness of the finished sauce.
  • All-Purpose Flour: flour is used to thicken the sauce.
  • Milk: any type of milk, or even light cream, will work in this recipe. The richer the milk, the richer the sauce.
  • Salt and Pepper: keep it simple with salt and pepper or get creative with your seasonings.
ingredients needed for bechamel sauce

How to Make Bechamel Sauce

Bechamel sauce is rich, delicious, versatile, and ready in just 10 minutes!

  1. Make a roux: Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then whisk in flour until smooth.
  2. Add the milk: Gradually add in the milk, whisking constantly, then cook until thickened.
  3. Season: Season to taste with salt and pepper, then customize to your liking!

Bechamel Sauce FAQs

What is Bechamel?

Bechamel is a simple white sauce that consists of a butter/flour roux, milk, salt, and pepper. It’s a staple in French cuisine because not only is it a sauce all on its own, but it also acts as a base sauce that can be used in other recipes or to create other sauces.

Is Bechamel Sauce the same as Alfredo?

No. While Bechamel Sauce and Alfredo are both white sauces they are slightly different. Bechamel is simpler with butter, milk, flour, and a couple of seasonings. Alfredo is made with the same basic ingredients, but also includes heavy cream, garlic, herbs, and parmesan cheese.

How to store leftover Bechamel Sauce:

This Bechamel Sauce will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. To reheat, warm on low on the stove until warmed through. Add a splash of milk or broth to thin if necessary.

wooden spoon scooping bechamel sauce out of pot

Bechamel Sauce Recipe Variations

This recipe is basic and versatile enough that it can be customized in a number of different ways!

  • Add aromatics: Add flavor by sautéing minced onion and garlic with the butter
  • Make it creamy: Mix in a splash heavy cream or use heavy cream or half-and-half in place of the milk for a richer, creamier sauce.
  • Spice it up: take the flavor up a notch with a sprinkle of Italian seasoning, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, you name it. If you add extra seasonings, toast them for a minute or two with the butter before adding the flour.
  • Make it cheesy: Make a cheese sauce by mixing in parmesan, gruyere, cheddar, you name it.
  • Add tomato sauce: Try mixing this Bechamel into a batch of Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce for another layer of flavor.
  • Mix in fresh herbs: Add a bit of freshness with chopped cilantro, parsley, basil, green onions, rosemary, or chives.
  • Lighten it up: Thin the sauce out a bit by using half chicken broth and half milk.

Serving Suggestions

More Homemade Sauces to Try

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Bechamel Sauce recipe

5 from 1 vote
This Bechamel Sauce is a basic cooking staple made with butter, flour, milk, salt, and pepper! It's a simple, versatile, and customizable sauce that's ready in just 10 minutes.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Cuisine American
Course Sauces and Condiments
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 60 grams
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 63 grams
  • 1 3/4 cups milk (any kind)*
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in flour until smooth, then gradually whisk in the milk.
  • Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Add additional milk for a thinner sauce if desired.
  • Season with salt and pepper.


*You can use any kind of milk or even light cream in this recipe! The richer the milk, the richer the sauce. If you want to go lighter, skim milk works. If you want rich flavor, opt for whole milk and a splash of cream. You can lighten this recipe even further by using half chicken broth and half milk. 
Keywords bechamel sauce, white sauce

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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  1. Steve L. says

    Knowing how to make a roux and a simple bechamel is key to many dishes, just as knowing how to sauté is.

    Substitute bacon grease or sausage grease for the butter, and you have the traditional southern cream gravy used on biscuits, mashed potatoes, chicken fried steak, and more. Add crumbled cooked sausage to that and you have southern sausage gravy. 🙂

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