Creamy béchamel sauce in 10 minutes



10 min


10 min


1 1/2 cups

Creamy béchamel sauce in 10 minutes

Creamy bechamel. (Photo, Roberto Caruso.)

Upgrade your fave comfort foods like mac 'n' cheese or chicken pot pie with this classic French mother sauce.


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper


  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan set over medium-low. Whisk in flour and continue whisking constantly until mixture turns into a paste (called a roux), about 2 min. Do not let it brown. Gradually add milk and continue to whisk constantly. Increase heat to medium and continue cooking until sauce thickens, 4 to 5 more min. Stir in salt and pepper. Use right away or pour into a jar, let cool and refrigerate up to 2 days.

Nutrition (per tbsp)

  • Calories
  • 19,
  • Protein
  • 1 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 1 g,
  • Fat
  • 1 g,
  • Sodium
  • 37 mg.

Cooking Tip

To test the thickness of your sauce, coat the back of a wooden spoon with it and run your finger through the middle. If a clear path forms, the sauce is ready.

Switch It Up

Three variations to play with the flavour

Mornay Sauce
Follow recipe. Stir in 1 cup grated swiss, gruyère or emmenthal with salt and pepper after sauce thickens. Remove from heat and whisk until melted. Add 1/8 tsp nutmeg.

Chipotle White Sauce
Follow recipe. Stir in 2 tbsp chopped chipotles in adobo sauce after sauce thickens.

Onion White Sauce (a.k.a. Soubise)
Cook 2 tbsp finely chopped onion in butter until soft. Add flour and continue with recipe, reducing milk to 1 1/4 cups.

Four Ways To Use It

Fennel Gratin
Combine 2/3 cup each grated mozzarella and parmesan with 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp each fresh thyme leaves and bread crumbs. Reserve 1 cup. Layer 2 thinly sliced small fennel bulbs with cheese mixture. Top with 1 1/2 cups Creamy Béchamel. Sprinkle with reserved cheese mixture. Bake, covered, in a 375F oven for 30 min. Remove foil and continue baking until top turns golden, 10 to 15 more min.

Skillet Mac ’n’ Cheese
Combine 2 cups cooked macaroni with 1/2 cup cooked chopped bacon and 1 1/2 cups Mornay Sauce in a pie plate or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated gruyère. Broil until top is golden, 2 to 3 min.

Sweet Potato Poutine
Bake frozen sweet potato fries in a 400F oven until crisp, about 15 min. Serve warm with cheese curds and Chipotle White Sauce. Sprinkle with finely sliced green onions.

Instant Pot Pie
Stir 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken with 1/2 cup frozen peas-and-carrots blend and 1 1/2 cups Onion White Sauce. Distribute among ramekins. Top each with a slice of buttered sandwich bread cut into a round. Bake in a 375F oven until golden brown, about 12 min.