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

Chef John
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

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

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

  • 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

192 calories; 14 g total fat; 40 mg cholesterol; 132 mg sodium. 11.8 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (30)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
03/29/2015
I cannot resist making a comment here. Chef John did a great job presenting this recipe, however, I have to laugh when I read reviews of folks who consider themselves "pro's" and obviously have no concept of the basic "mother sauces" and what goes into them and what they are used for. This recipe is (except for the thyme and cayenne) a very basic Bechamel or White Sauce - I learned this way back in 8th grade home economics class many decades ago and, yes, it does and should have nutmeg in it. You don't just make this and dump it over food and expect that to be it. You must adjust it - add cheddar cheese for a cheese sauce a 'la Mac and Cheese. Add Gruyere and Parmesan to make a Mornay Sauce - great over veggies and even pasta - also used in a Kentucky Hot Brown. There are 4 other Mother or basic sauces in French Cuisine which are the basis of almost all sauces - think Hollandaise (if you've had a yummy plate of Eggs Benedict you've had Hollandaise (a mother sauce) - it's the technique used to make mayonnaise. This is such a basic sauce and can be made thinner or thicker depending on what you want to use it for - just use equal amounts of butter and flour to milk with a dash of nutmeg which enhances the taste of the sauce. More flour and butter equals a thicker sauce. Easy. Read More
(46)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
12/04/2019
some ingredients were missing and there was no taste very Bland Read More
39 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 30
  • 4 star values: 6
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
03/29/2015
I cannot resist making a comment here. Chef John did a great job presenting this recipe, however, I have to laugh when I read reviews of folks who consider themselves "pro's" and obviously have no concept of the basic "mother sauces" and what goes into them and what they are used for. This recipe is (except for the thyme and cayenne) a very basic Bechamel or White Sauce - I learned this way back in 8th grade home economics class many decades ago and, yes, it does and should have nutmeg in it. You don't just make this and dump it over food and expect that to be it. You must adjust it - add cheddar cheese for a cheese sauce a 'la Mac and Cheese. Add Gruyere and Parmesan to make a Mornay Sauce - great over veggies and even pasta - also used in a Kentucky Hot Brown. There are 4 other Mother or basic sauces in French Cuisine which are the basis of almost all sauces - think Hollandaise (if you've had a yummy plate of Eggs Benedict you've had Hollandaise (a mother sauce) - it's the technique used to make mayonnaise. This is such a basic sauce and can be made thinner or thicker depending on what you want to use it for - just use equal amounts of butter and flour to milk with a dash of nutmeg which enhances the taste of the sauce. More flour and butter equals a thicker sauce. Easy. Read More
(46)
Rating: 5 stars
02/16/2013
I skipped the thyme in this recipe. I browned some chopped onion and fresh minced garlic in the butter before adding the flour. After the sauce was made, I added some ground mustard and a touch of hot sauce. I used the white sauce as a base for homemade macaroni and cheese. It worked out great--perfect thickness and held up well during the whole cooking process. Read More
(20)
Rating: 5 stars
04/27/2012
I didn't change a thing and loved it!! Read More
(19)
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Rating: 5 stars
09/23/2012
This is a BASIC sauce. Add whatever spices will complement whatever you're going to use it on. Important: you want to cook the butter/four mix at a temp that will cook the flour without burning the butter. Usually when I get lumps it's because I didn't cook the flour long enough. I like to make this with whole wheat flour if you don't mind a brown "white" sauce with speckles.:) Read More
(15)
Rating: 4 stars
01/13/2014
For a basic more versatile white sauce omit the nutmeg and thyme. (Actually I m not sure I d like that combination. For my tastes it would be either/or) For a thinner white sauce use 1 T. each of flour and butter. For a thick sauce 3 T. each of flour and butter. Read More
(12)
Rating: 4 stars
09/06/2012
I consider myself a pretty good cook but I had some trouble with this sauce. It took me over half an hour to be able to come up with something good because it was very bland. I ended up adding 2 chicken bullion cubes basil and oregano. I also had to whisk the sauce for a good ten minutes for it to thicken up without clumps. Maybe this sauce is supposed to be a base that you modify yourself but that should be specified. However after I added everything I did this sauce came out terrific and tasted very good over baked chicken. Read More
(6)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/16/2013
This was absolutely awesome! I made a vegetarian lasagna but didn't really like the sauce that was with that recipe. So I went looking for something with a bit more flavor. I found this!! It is really good... it made a bit more than I was expecting so the lasagna was a little overflowing but very flavorful. I don't typically measure spices so I just dashed until it suited our taste. My husband loved it and he's not a fan of white sauce - and he's a meat-eater so it was high praise - for both the sauce and the lasagna! Thank you Chef John!! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
02/10/2013
This turned out good-but made alot so I had to throw out the rest..I used this sauce for my macaroni and cheese dish and my son loved it...A keeper!!! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
03/28/2013
Thank you so much! I had a basic recipe for white sauce and lost it and couldn't find a good one to replace it. This was exactly what I was looking for. I did add some chopped onion and garlic to the butter and skipped the cayenne since I don't care much for spicy hot food. It turned out perfectly. I can't wait to experiment with other added ingredients and can see several possibilities! Read More
(4)
Rating: 2 stars
12/04/2019
some ingredients were missing and there was no taste very Bland Read More