Chef John's White Sauce


White sauce is one of the "mother sauces" in traditional culinary training and is used in many popular dishes.

Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
17 mins
Total Time:
22 mins
4 cups


  • ½ cup butter

  • ½ cup flour

  • 1 quart milk

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped

  • teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • salt

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste


  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour and cook for about 5 minutes.

  2. Stir in 1 cup cold milk, about 1 minute. Stir in second cup of milk for an additional minute.

  3. Stir in remaining 2 cups of milk, cayenne pepper, salt, thyme, and nutmeg; bring to a simmer over low heat until sauce begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

192 Calories
14g Fat
12g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 192
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 9g 44%
Cholesterol 40mg 13%
Sodium 132mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 148mg 11%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 197mg 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.