Basic Béchamel Sauce


Béchamel sauce is a creamy French white sauce that's used in many dishes from lasagna to moussaka. This béchamel sauce is quick and easy.

Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
1 quart

Ultra-creamy béchamel sauce elevates every dish it touches. It's an easy way to add richness to pasta, meat, and vegetable dishes that need extra oomph. Learn how to make this classic French white sauce at home, plus get tips on storing and freezing homemade white sauce.

overhead view of bechamel sauce in a gravy boat
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

What Is Béchamel Sauce?

Béchamel, or white sauce, is a cooked mixture of butter, flour, and milk. It is one of five mother sauces, a rich, flavorful base that can be used on its own or to create different sauces. Béchamel is used in dishes like mac and cheese, lasagna, and cheese souffle to add a wonderfully creamy element.

How to Make Béchamel Sauce

Making gloriously decadent béchamel sauce at home is a breeze. You'll find the full recipe below with step-by-step instructions, but here's what you can expect when you make this top-rated recipe:

Melt butter in a saucepan, then whisk in flour until smooth. Cook the mixture until it achieves a light golden color. Increase the heat, slowly whisking in the milk. Next, bring the bechamel to a simmer for 10-20 minutes. Salt and nutmeg add a subtly fragrant and savory flavor.

overhead view of bechamel sauce in a gravy boat
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Sauces Made from Béchamel

· Mornay Sauce is a Parmesan and Gruyere-enriched bechamel that pairs beautifully with steamed vegetables, seafood, and eggs.
· Cream Sauce is created by combining bechamel with heavy cream after cooking. Add fresh herbs to this sauce for a perfect pasta-topper.
· Soubise Sauce isa bold, creamy blend of cooked, pureed onions and bechamel. A dollop of tomato puree adds color and a touch of acidity.

Nicole's Top Béchamel Tips

Culinary producer Nicole McLaughlin (a.k.a. NicoleMcMom) loves the versatility of a basic bechamel sauce. "Once you've got this, you can turn it into whatever you want," she says.

· Make sure the milk is not ice cold, as it incorporates into the roux better at room temperature.
· Don't add the milk all at once. Instead, pour it in gradually while you whisk to prevent clumping.
· You can serve the bechamel sauce as-is (perhaps over a roast chicken), but Nicole loves using it as a restaurant-worthy mac and cheese base.

How to Store and Freeze Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel sauce is best when consumed right after cooking, but you can refrigerate it for up to three days in a tightly sealed container. Reheat gently on the stove, stirring in additional milk or cream if the mixture is overly thick.

To freeze béchamel, portion the sauce into heavy-duty freezer bags — it will keep up to six months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"I used this as a base recipe and scaled and seasoned it to fit my needs," says 2460.

"I made this (1/4 of the batch) to use as a white sauce for a seafood pizza," shares Jennifer. " It was excellent, and I will definitely make it again!"

"This was a cinch to make," according to Kat. "I stirred in fresh basil and grated Parmesan after cooking (did not add salt due to the parmesan and omitted the nutmeg). Tossed it with gnocchi pasta, chopped ham, and peas. My family loved it."

Editorial contributions byRai Mincey


  • 5 tablespoons butter

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 quart milk

  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk into the melted butter until smooth. Cook and stir until flour turns a light, golden, sandy color, about 7 minutes.

  2. Increase heat to medium-high and slowly whisk in milk until thickened by the roux. Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the flour has softened and no longer tastes gritty, 10 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and nutmeg.

    overhead view of bechamel sauce in a gravy boat
    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

139 Calories
10g Fat
9g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 139
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 29mg 10%
Sodium 683mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 146mg 11%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 190mg 4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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