How to Make a Creamy Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel sauce is one of the five mother sauces, and therefore a staple of French cuisine. You can often find it in chicken and fish dishes, or incorporated into lasagna or other baked pasta meals. And despite how fancy-schmancy it sounds, you don't need any crazy ingredients or tools to make it.

Good to Know

"Mother sauce" — meaning béchamel and four other sauces — is a sauce from which other sauces are derived, so you can take your béchamel and create many other recipes with it.

Easy Béchamel Sauce

Yield: 3 cups


  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • White pepper, for seasoning (optional)
  • Nutmeg, for seasoning (optional)


1. Warm the milk in a saucepan to a simmer.

2. In a separate medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour and stir until smooth. Continue cooking 2 minutes, taking care not to brown the roux, as this is supposed to be a white sauce.

3. Stir in the warmed milk one cup at a time and whisk until the sauce is smooth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and continue cooking until thickened, about 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper or nutmeg (if using).

Pro Tip

Add more or less milk to adjust the thickness of the sauce to your needs.

Learn More Now

Get more recipes for French sauces along with expert-level cooking tips in our class, A Modern Take on the Mother Sauces .

Meet your award-winning instructor, James Peterson.

May 11, 2020
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How to Make a Creamy Béchamel Sauce