How to make Béchamel Sauce (White Sauce) – My simple step-by-step instructions for making Béchamel from scratch at home.
Béchamel (white) sauce is a really versatile little sauce. I use this white sauce for lasagne, pasta bakes, cauliflower cheese, fish pie, there are so many possibilities.
It’s really simple to make at home with everyday ingredients. I use a roux base (butter and flour) and then add milk, cloves, bay leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper. Some recipes also add onion (which is removed before serving). However, I find it a little overpowering as the sauce has a delicate savoury flavour so I prefer not to.
There are also quite a few recipes that recommended leaving the cloves and bay leaves in the milk to infuse for a while before making the sauce. I don’t bother with this step. I find that the time spent cooking the sauce is sufficient for the flavour to infuse and skipping this step means the sauce is ready much quicker.
What’s the difference between Béchamel Sauce and White Sauce?
If you’ve read some of my previous recipes you’ll know that I’m a bit of a worrier when it comes to naming my dishes. I’m paranoid that I’ll claim a dish is one thing only to find out that I’m wrong and I’ve made something completely different (the jury’s still out on my Chicken Chow Mein. I think it depends on which part of the world you live in!).
Before writing up a “classic” recipe I always do a bit of research to see if what I think I’ve made is actually what I’ve made.
My worry with this recipe is that I really wasn’t sure whether it’s a white sauce or a béchamel sauce. It turns out they’re the same thing (well at least Wikipedia says they are).
I’m a little reluctant to believe Wikipedia on this as it claims that Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie are the same (actually my husband agrees with Wikipedia, so maybe it’s just me that think Shepherd’s – Lamb, Cottage – Beef).
To double check I looked up both terms in an online dictionary. Both came back with “a sauce made with butter, flour and milk”. So rather than choosing between them I’ve stuck them both in the title 🙂
From now on I’m just going to call it white sauce as it’s shorter to type, and it means I don’t have to keep finding the little é!
Béchamel Sauce Nutritional Information Per Serving
It’s difficult to set a serving size as it depends what you go on to use the sauce for. However, for the purpose of providing the nutritional information here, I have assumed it serves 4 (I use this amount of sauce when making a lasagne that serves 4).
This is the estimated nutritional information per portion. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you want to learn more about how this is calculated.