Bechamel Sauce

Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
4 cups

Béchamel is one of the five mother sauces of French cuisine—but you don't need professional chef training to make it. Also known as white sauce, béchamel is versatile and creamy; it is made from milk and thickened with a roux of flour and butter. This sauce is used in lots of comforting recipes, from lasagna and mac and cheese to gratins and casseroles.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ 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.

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