Bechamel - Basic White Sauce

Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 5 mins

Formula for making a thin, medium and thick white sauce.


  1. Scald the milk with the onion, bay leaf and peppercorns.
  2. Cover and let infuse off heat for 10-15 minutes.
  3. In a heavy based saucepan, melt butter, whisk in flour and cook, stirring, until the flour is foaming but not browned- about 1 minute.
  4. Off heat, strain in the hot milk.
  5. Whisk well, then bring to a boil, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens.
  6. season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and leave to simmer slowly for 1-2 minutes.
  7. NOTE: This make what is called a "MEDIUM" Bechamel.
  8. For a "THIN" Bechamel use 2 tbs. butter and 2 tbs. flour.
  9. For a "THICK" Bechamel use 4 tbs. butter and 4 tbs. flour.
Most Helpful

Delicious! I love the infusion of onions and bay leaf (I didn't use peppercorns because I didn't have them) and I added one garlic clove to the infusion. Great flavor. I skipped the nutmeg and I used this sauce on a pizza and I am going to make this again to serve on pasta. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Shannon Holmes June 08, 2010

thanks for the proportions. I used the recipe to make 4.5 cups of condensed mushroom soup for a broccoli bake. I found that 8 tbls of flour and 8 of butter were perfect with one cup of sauteed mushrooms. I will always used this quantity for my 3.2L baking dish with. Before it was guess work and I was always nervous, but now I am confident of my sauce being thick enough and the right quantity to cover the veggies. Thanks a lot.

Cathy-O April 17, 2008

I drizzled the white sauce over the butternut squash ravioli. I did substitute Vanilla Almond Milk for milk and it was mildly nutty and delicious! Next time would just top it with some crushed pecans :) Thanks for sharing!

Chef Krasno November 12, 2013