Chef’s Tidbits: Bechamel

Last month we talked about hollandaise. I’m going to continue this educational series on another mother sauce. This one is called bechamel. Bechamel is quite simply a white sauce. Traditionally made with roux, which is defined as equal parts by weight fat and flour. Examples; bacon fat and all purpose flour, canola oil and flour, butter and flour, and for those gluten-free people, rice flour and canola oil. These are just a few examples. Also, for those people that want to cut back on a few calories, a cornstarch slurry can be used at the end to thicken the sauce.

Bechamel is a foundation for many sauces and soups. Here are a few examples;

Cheese sauce, country gravy, mushroom cream sauce, shellfish sauce, grain mustard sauce.


3 T. butter

¼ cup ap flour

¼ cup minced white onion

3 cups milk

1 cup heavy cream

Salt and ground white pepper to taste

Pinch of ground nutmeg


Melt the butter in a 2 quart sauce pot, add the onions and cook until translucent, incorporate the flour, cook for 6-8 minutes over low heat. Then add the milk and heavy cream. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes over low heat, the mixture will begin to thicken. Lastly add salt, ground white pepper and the nutmeg. Enjoy! Chef Darrin

Note: Most bechamels are made with just milk. I prefer a little heavy cream for richness.

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