10-Minute Béchamel Sauce



10 min


10 min


1 1/2 cups

10-Minute Béchamel Sauce

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.

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.

Nutrition (per tbsp)

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

Sauce Variations

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.

How to Cook With Béchamel Sauce

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.