White Sauce (Béchamel) with Variations

“For a gluten-free version, see Kingsford’s Classic Medium White Sauce (Béchamel Sauce).” – April Ferre

White Sauce with Variations

Course: Sauces & Gravies
Cuisine: French

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Cup Milk

Instructions

  • Ingredient proportions above are for a thin sauce. For a medium sauce, increase butter and flour to 2-3 tablespoons. For a thick sauce, increase butter and flour to 4 tablespoons.
  • Melt butter over low heat in a heavy saucepan. Blend in flour and seasonings. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened. For best flavor, cook 10 minutes.
  • Three rules for a perfect white sauce:
    To eliminate raw, starchy taste, bubble flour and butter 1 minute.
    For easier, smoother blending, remove from heat when adding milk.
    For smooth, velvety texture, keep stirring until thickened.

Variations:

  • Cheese sauce: Follow key recipe above, except add 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard with seasonings. Blend in 1/2 cup grated cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.
  • Mushroom sauce: Follow key recipe above, except sauté 1 cup sliced mushrooms and 1 teaspoon grated onion in the butter 5 minutes before adding flour.
  • Seafood Sauce: Follow key recipe above, except carefully stir into sauce 1/2 to 1 cup cooked shrimp or pieces of other seafood.
  • Red Sauce: Follow key recipe above except stir in 3 tablespoons tomato puree.
  • Curry Sauce: Follow key recipe above, except sauté 1/2 teaspoon curry powder in the butter before adding flour and other seasonings.
  • Egg Sauce: Follow key recipe above, except carefully stir in 2 diced hard-cooked eggs. Season.
  • Cucumber Sauce: Follow key recipe above, except add 1/2 cup grated or thinly sliced cucumber and a dash cayenne pepper. Simmer 10 minutes.
  • Dill Sauce: Follow key recipe above, except with the seasonings, add 1 teaspoon minced fresh dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill and a dash of nutmeg. Simmer 2-3 minutes.

Original recipe is from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, first edition – 9th printing. It has been used in the Stacker/Hansen family as long as we can remember.

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