Under 30 Minutes

Bechamel Sauce

This French sauce may sound fancy, but it's actually the base for a range of homey, all-American recipes, such as Creamed Spinach and Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce.Made from butter, milk, flour, and salt -- sometimes with a touch of onion -- bechamel is a mild, creamy sauce you'll use again and again.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 4 cups
Bechamel Sauce

Source: Everyday Food, October 2009


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 cups whole milk


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add flour and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden, has a slightly nutty aroma, and is the texture of cooked oatmeal, about 5 minutes.

  2. Whisking constantly, pour in 2 cups milk; add 2 more cups milk and whisk until smooth. Cook mixture, stirring constantly along the bottom of pan, until boiling, about 7 minutes.

  3. Reduce heat to low. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and does not feel grainy when a very small amount is rubbed between two fingers, about 10 minutes.

Cook's Notes

To store, press a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface and let sauce cool. Transfer to a resealable container and refrigerate, up to 5 days.


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