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Basic White Sauce Recipe

User Rating 3.5 Star Rating (5 Reviews)


Basic White Sauce (Bechamel)

Basic White Sauce

Philippe Desnerck/Photolibrary/Getty

This basic white sauce, or béchamel, is a good base for a casserole or cheese sauce. 

For a cheese sauce, whisk  1/2 cup of shredded or grated cheese into the finished sauce and continue cooking just until melted.

Use part chicken stock to lighten the stock a bit.



  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt
  • white or black pepper


Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat; stir in flour. Whisk constantly and cook for about 2 minutes. Do not brown. Gradually stir in milk and continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For a richer sauce, add a few tablespoons of heavy cream.
Makes 1 cup.

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User Reviews

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 3 out of 5
tips, Member burneggroll

* It's easier with a wide pan & a wire whip (whisk ). * Melt butter - stir until the color begins to change. The browner, the nuttier the flavor. (Black is burnt). * Add flour, whisk until the mixture shows color. (This is a basic rue. You are cooking the flour). A light brown/ dark tan color is good. * Whisk in small amount of milk (double the volume in the pan) . Instantly, you should have paste. Whisk until smooth. Repeat doubling the volume with milk & whisking smooth until you get the flavor and consistency you want. * This takes about 10 minutes for 1 or 2 servings. #1 beginner mistake: failed to brown the flour. Changing, or adding, ingredients changes the name of the sauce. But the procedure is the same.

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