ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Make a Bechamel Sauce

Updated on November 17, 2009

Meals that Feature Bechamel

Mac N Cheese
Mac N Cheese
Croque monsieur
Croque monsieur
Cheddar Soup
Cheddar Soup
Classic Italian lasagna
Classic Italian lasagna

Every cook needs to know how to make a béchamel sauce. It’s the big daddy of easy cream sauces and the sauce that brings forth tasty macaroni and cheese casseroles…in short, an essential and not at all difficult sauce that you can make using ingredients that you’ll pretty much always have on hand.

This classic French sauce requires a few minutes to make, but it’s really tasty. Here are easy to follow instructions to make a basic béchamel sauce (see below for variations and flavor combinations)

A Classic Bechamel Sauce Recipe

  • 1 quart of milk (use whatever kind of milk you have or like – skim, low fat, whole, whatever)
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose or bread flour
  • A small onion, cut in half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A few thyme sprigs (or ½ tsp dried thyme) (as an alternative to the thyme and bay leaves, you can add a couple of cloves or a pinch of nutmeg instead)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Add the milk, onion, bay leaf and thyme to a pot and bring it just to a simer, and let it simmer very gently for about 10 minutes. This is to infuse the milk with the tastes of the onion and the herbs.
  2. Once you have your infused milk all ready to go, get out another heavy saucepan and heat it over medium.
  3. Add in the butter and when it has melted, stir in the flour. Stir continuously until the butter and flour have incorporated into a smooth mixture (called a roux) and keep stirring for about a minute.
  4. Now hold a strainer over your butter pot and strain in your hot milk all in one go. Stir the milk/roux mixture very well, until there are no remaining lumps of roux left in the milk.
  5. Bring the mixture up to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once you reach the boiling point, reduce the heat to a simmer, and let it percolate for a further 15 minutes or so.
  6. Season with salt and pepper

You now have a medium thin, delicious, béchamel sauce!

Thickness Variations

For a thinner sauce, such as you might use for soups, use 3 Tbls of flour per quart of milk.

Flavor Variations

Once you’ve got the technique down, you can start exploring a world of flavor possibilities, such as:

  • Using chicken stock instead of milk, to make a veloute sauce
  • Adding sharp cheddar cheese to your finished béchamel to make a cheese sauce that goes great with mac n’ cheese or broccoli
  • Add a spoonful of Dijon mustard to your finished sauce to make a very easy mustard sauce
  • Add fresh chopped parsley to a béchamel sauce to make a classic English parsley sauce for ham (try dill as well for an easy dill sauce)
  • Curry sauce, add in curry powder to taste

A video demo on making a bechamel sauce


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Emilina profile image


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      This is yum! I'll be making it pretty soon, see how i go!

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I'm bookmarking this one! Yum, that looks good! I need to get some Bay leaves in this house!

      Thanks John!

    • John D Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      John D Lee 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for all the kind words. This is definitely a sauce that everyone should learn how to make, really expands your culinary universe...and it's so easy too!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub! I just made a bechamel to go in my Shepards Pie. There is no end to the uses of this classic sauce!

    • Katherine Baldwin profile image

      Katherine Baldwin 

      8 years ago from South Carolina

      Delicious recipe, John. You left out uses for us Southerners. Down here, we serve this over biscuits. Just kidding. Sauces are really easy to make and add real elegance to your meals. I think a lot of people are afraid to try them, but they really are simple. Julia would have been proud.

    • dohn121 profile image


      8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I bookmarked this one too, John. Thanks as always.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)