Bechamel sauce, also known as white sauce, is one of the five “mother sauces” in classic French cuisine. It is a smooth, creamy sauce made from a roux (a mixture of butter and flour) and milk, and seasoned with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Bechamel sauce is used as a base for many dishes, such as lasagna, gratins, and soufflés, and can be easily adapted to create a variety of other sauces.

Here’s a basic recipe for bechamel sauce:


  • 2 cups (480 ml) milk
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons (16 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg


  1. In a small saucepan, gently heat the milk over low heat until it is warm but not boiling.
  2. In a separate medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk together to form a smooth paste (roux).
  3. Cook the roux for 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly to prevent browning.
  4. Gradually add the warm milk to the roux, whisking continuously to ensure a smooth, lump-free mixture. Continue to cook the sauce over medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens and reaches a simmer.
  5. Lower the heat and cook the sauce for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Your bechamel sauce is now ready to use.

Variations of bechamel sauce include:

  1. Mornay sauce: Add grated Gruyère and Parmesan cheese to the bechamel sauce, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. This sauce is excellent for macaroni and cheese, vegetables au gratin, or on top of eggs.
  2. Cheese sauce: Add any grated cheese of your choice (like cheddar, Swiss, or fontina) to the bechamel sauce and stir until melted. Cheese sauce can be used for nachos, casseroles, or as a dip.
  3. Mustard sauce: Stir in Dijon mustard or whole-grain mustard to taste. This variation is excellent with ham, chicken, or as a topping for vegetables.
  4. Soubise sauce: Combine bechamel sauce with puréed cooked onions for a rich, flavorful sauce that pairs well with poultry and meat dishes.
  5. Cream sauce: Replace some or all of the milk with heavy cream for a richer, more indulgent sauce that’s perfect for seafood dishes or decadent pasta.
  6. Cheddar beer sauce: Add grated cheddar cheese and replace part of the milk with beer for a unique sauce that works well with soft pretzels, bratwurst, or as a dip for chips.

These variations show the versatility of bechamel sauce and how it can be easily adapted to create a wide range of flavorful sauces for different dishes.