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Learn how to make bechamel sauce from scratch with this easy step-by-step recipe. With just a handful of simple ingredients, you can elevate any dish with this basic bechamel sauce. You can use this simple roux sauce as is or use it as a base to make the best white sauce for lasagna, pasta, and more!
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This white bechamel sauce is a classic French sauce made from a roux of butter, flour, milk, and seasonings. It’s a simple sauce yet delivers amazing flavor. Trust me. It’s easier than you think!
WHY learn how to make a bechamel sauce
- Versatile sauce. This sauce works as an excellent base for many recipes. It makes a perfect white sauce for lasagna, pasta or as a base for casseroles and gratins. It’s easily adaptable and opens up a world of possibilities.
- Simple ingredients. This easy bechamel sauce comes together with just a handful of ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.
- Incredibly flavorful. The smooth texture adds richness and creaminess yet is delicate in flavor and makes the most boring dishes an indulgent treat.
Ingredients to make a bechamel sauce
- Butter: The butter adds richness and flavor and helps create a smooth and creamy texture when combined with the flour. Use unsalted butter so you control the sodium content.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is the thickening agent in bechamel sauce. Combined with the melted butter, it forms a roux, which helps thicken the sauce and gives it that velvety consistency.
- Milk: Milk adds to the creaminess and helps bind the ingredients together. It also thins the sauce making it into a velvety creamy texture.
- Nutmeg: Adds a subtle and aromatic flavor that complements the richness of the butter and milk. It adds depth and warmth to the overall flavor that is welcomed in pasta dishes.
HOW TO MAKE bechamel sauce
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add flour.
- Whisk in the flour until fully incorporated and cook, stirring occasionally, until it bubbles.
- Gradually pour in the milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer, whisking frequently, until the sauce is smooth and thickened.
- Remove from heat and add in the salt and nutmeg.
- Stir to combine well.
TIPS FOR roux sauce
- Use equal parts butter and flour. The standard ratio for a good bechamel sauce is equal parts butter and flour to ensure a balanced and smooth texture.
- Warm milk helps the sauce come together quickly. It also helps to add the milk gradually while whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
- Whisk frequently. This helps distribute heat evenly and prevents the sauce from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Simmer until thickened. Simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon and has a smooth consistency. But avoid vigorous boiling as that may cause the sauce to break down and become grainy in texture.
- Add an egg. For a thicker bechamel sauce, you can temper an egg with a small portion of bechamel sauce and then combine that mixture with the bechamel in the pot. This creates a great base for casseroles like my Easy Eggplant Moussaka
recipes to make with basic bechamel sauce
- Macarona Bechamel
- Eggplant Moussaka
- Cauliflower Au Gratin
- serve over Air Fryer Vegetables
- Baked Macaroni and Cheese
HOW TO REHEAT & STORE bechamel sauce
Store leftover bechamel sauce in an airtight container or a mason jar in the refrigerator.
To reheat, transfer the desired amount of bechamel sauce to a saucepan and gently warm it on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring frequently. Watch it carefully not to overheat, as this can cause the sauce to separate.
HOW LONG WILL bechamel sauce LAST IN THE FRIDGE?
Bechamel sauce will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
CAN I FREEZE white bechamel sauce?
Yes! Bechamel sauce freezes well, maintaining the same velvety texture when thawed and reheated. Transfer the sauce to a freezer-safe container or ziptop bag, leaving room for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge. It may appear separated but should return to its original texture once you reheat it.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can make a gluten-free roux using a gluten-free flour blend or a thickening agent like cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Keep in mind that different flours may affect the overall texture and flavor of the sauce, but the process is the same.
If the roux sauce becomes too thick, you can gradually add additional liquid, such as milk or broth, while whisking often until you reach the desired consistency. Add the liquid in a small amount at a time to avoid thinning the sauce too much.
Absolutely! Adding cheese to bechamel sauce creates a variation called Mornay sauce, a classic cheese sauce. Simply whisk in your favorite grated cheese, such as cheddar, Gruyere, or Parmesan, at the end of the cooking time and gently cook until melted and smooth.
Impress your guests with this homemade goodness. With its creamy texture and delicate flavor, this classic French sauce is sure to elevate any dish. Try bechamel sauce on pasta, veggies, or in a creamy casserole.
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How to Make Bechamel Sauce
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until fully incorporated and cook, stirring occasionally, until it lightly bubbles.
- Gradually pour in the warm milk. Bring mixture to a boil, then decrease heat to medium. Continue to simmer, whisking frequently, for about 2 more minutes or until the sauce is smooth and thickened.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the salt and nutmeg. At this point, you can also thicken with a tempered egg or whisk in some parmesan cheese. Use as desired in recipe.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.