One-Pot Béchamel Sauce

One Pot Béchamel Sauce


Béchamel is also known as a white sauce. In its most basic form, it consists of milk which is thickened by a roux.
  • Serves: 1 to 2
  • Active Time: 15 mins - 20 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 20 mins
  • Views: 41,720
  • Success Rating: 100% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Making the Sauce

• 4 tbsp unsalted butter
• 4 tbsp all-purpose flour (approx.)
• 2 cups cold, whole milk
• white pepper (to taste)
• kosher salt (to taste)
• freshly grated nutmeg (to taste, optional)


To start the béchamel, first melt the butter in a small pot over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk to form a white roux that has a medium consistency. Cook the roux for about 1 minute; it should not turn color.

Slowly temper in the milk, a bit at a time. To prevent lumping, let the milk heat up a bit before whisking. Once all of the milk has been incorporated, gently simmer uncovered for about 10 to 15 minutes to cook out the starch flavor.

The béchamel should have a medium consistency (thicker than a sauce). Strain if desired. Season to taste.

Chef's Notes

You can add flavorings/aromatics to the béchamel by sweating items such as onions, garlic, herbs, etc., at the beginning with the butter. This softens and extracts flavor. Add the flour to the mixture and continue with the recipe. Strain the aromatics once done. Season to taste.


  • Darren S
    Darren S
    usually how much aromatics would you add for this recipe? half a shallot? 1 clove of garlic? Also, if using ground nutmeg, how much should i use - about half a teaspoon?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Mother sauces allow you to personalize the flavor by adding an array of ingredients. It is really up to you and how strong of a flavor you want to add. For this amount of sauce, your suggestions of the shallot and garlic sound reasonable to start with. For the nutmeg, add a bit, taste it and adjust to your liking. Make sure to review the lesson on Bechamel if you haven't already done so. Cheers!
  • Cody H
    Cody H
    I have a midterm coming up this week that requires us to make a béchamel sauce.. Our recipe for culinary school says to add the cool roux to the warm milk.. Are there any advantages or disadvantages with this method?
  • Tony M Rouxbe Staff
    Tony M
    The only advantage is that a cool roux's butter won't melt too quickly, so if not properly whisked right from the beginning the butter in a warm roux can melt out and result in a greasy bechamel. Just remember to stir or whisk continuously when combining the two. But I've never had problems adding a roux and milk together, no matter what the temperature.
  • Cody H
    Cody H
    Thanks so much! I have a fear that I am going to split the sauce..even though I don't usually have this problem..oh nerves lol
  • Peter C
    Peter C
    I discovered something called Sauce Flour recently. It is really great because it allows you to add more flour to a warm mixture if the sauce gets too thin. Simply whisk it in with manual balloon whisk in a Bechamel or stir in if there are other ingredients already there. Any small lumps disappear with cooking. I have found that this works well with casseroles and meat based sauces if you add a bit too much stock etc.,and want to thicken it up again. Any comments?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    My first comment is that I had to look up Sauce Flour as I had never heard of it. My only other comment would be, If it works for you then that's what matters. As I cannot say whether or not it will give a sauce the same richness or flavor, as I believe there is no need for butter or fat with the "sauce flour", therefore; I can't really add much more than that without testing it out. Cheers!
  • Cody H
    Cody H
    Sounds kind of like a white wash? I think my only fear would be that it might produce a raw flour taste?
  • Peter C
    Peter C
    This flour is widely available in the UK and may be used instead of ordinary flour, with butter and/or fat and well cooked in the same way. However it really comes into its own if you want to thicken already warm or hot ingredients without risking lumps, unlike plain flour. Sorry, don't understand the comment about white wash. In my part of the world white wash is a paint!
  • Tracey A
    Tracey A
    When would you use a bechamel sauce? You can tell I'm a newbie. Thank you.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Not sure if you have watched the lesson on "How to Make Bechamel" but you may want to watch the Introduction topic of the lesson as we do talk about it's uses there. You may also want to watch the lesson on "How to Make Roux-Based Soups" as we talk quite a bit about bechamel sauce in there as well. Cheers!
  • Hsiao hui W
    Hsiao hui W
    I made caulifower gratin with bechamel sauce. While I was making the bechamel sauce, I missed by 1 TBSP of flour, which means 4 TBSP butter, 3 TBSP flour and 2 cups of milk. I continued to make the sauce to the texture as instructed but the caulifower gratin turned out to be quite soupy. I am just wondering if "1 TBSP of flour" makes such a big difference? If not, I may need to find out other factors that caused a soupy gratin. p.s. I also add greuyere and parmesan into my bechamel sauce.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    To answer your question about whether or not a tablespoon of flour makes a difference, the short answer is that is certainly can—especially when you are using such a small amount to begin with. It sounds like you may have just needed to use a bit more flour—maybe even a bit more then the tbsp, that was omitted. Also, make sure that the cauliflower is not wet, if you partially cooked it before hand that is. You can see in this Brussels Sprouts w/ Mornay Sauce we used a bit higher ratio of flour to butter, plus there was the added cheese. Cheers.
  • Marcus P
    Marcus P
    Looking for a proper nacho cheese sauce. Can anyone help me???
  • Lauren L Rouxbe Staff
    Lauren L
    Hi Marcus. Thanks for your question. Most Nacho cheese recipes start with a base of béchamel. You can try melting cheddar/pepper jack into this béchamel and then adding cayenne instead of nutmeg. Keep experimenting. Lauren

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