How To Make Bechamel And Its Derivatives

Sauce Bechamel is a milk based French Mother Sauce. It is used as a simple base to make popular secondary sauces such as Sauce Mornay, Cheddar Cheese Sauce, or even a simple cream sauce.

Standard Bechamel Recipe

  • 4 oz/125 grams white roux

  • 1 qt/1 L milk (Any milk will use but whole milk is preferred)

  • 1/4 white onion, skin peeled off

  • 1 whole clove

  • 1 whole bay leaf

  • Salt, White Pepper and Nutmeg To Taste


  1. Combine flour and butter in a small pan, and cook over moderate heat, to make a white roux.

  2. In a separate pot, heat up milk to a simmer.

  3. Add roux to the milk, making sure that both the milk and the roux are not too hot.

  4. Whisk the roux and milk together and bring to a simmer.

  5. Stick your bay leaf to your white onion with your whole clove, and place in simmering milk.

  6. Simmer for about 30 minutes, and thin with milk if necessary.

  7. Season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg to taste. The nutmeg should not be prevalent, but instead should add depth of flavor.

  8. Finish by straining through a chinois.

Bechamel Based Secondary Sauces

Almost any milk or cream based sauce that you will make, will be based on classical Bechamel. Below are some popular secondary sauces that are based on this recipe. Each recipe below is based on 1 qt/1 L of Bechamel, which is what the recipe above yields.

Standard Cream Sauce

  • Add 4-8 oz of heavy cream, heated or tempered

  • Season with salt, white pepper and lemon juice to taste

  • Add your favorite  herbs and spices to taste

  • Strain through a chinois to insure a smooth, creamy texture

Mornay Sauce

  • Stir in 4 oz of Gruyere and 2 oz of Parmesan cheese, both grated

  • Turn off heat and swirl in 2 oz of raw butter

  • Adjust consistency with warm milk as necessary

Cheddar Cheese Sauce

  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, grated

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • Stir all ingredients into warm Bechamel until cheddar cheese is melted

Simple Mustard Sauce

  • Stir in 4-6 oz of good dijon mustard

  • Finish off the flame by swirling in 2-4 oz of raw butter

  • Strain through a chinois

More Info

There are 6 Comments

Andrew M Stewart's picture

Just made 50 liters of bechamel in our steam kettle based on these proportions and it came out great, thanks! (3 cases of whole milk were about to expire)

chef_cyrus's picture

wow thats a lot of portions in there..these is one of my fave sauce i frequently made when i was working in santorini a greek resto...they use a lot of bechamel in their mouzakka and pasticho..and this was one of our best seller in the im craving for it..keep the heat on...

jacob burton's picture

Wowzers! That's a lot of bechamel! What do you plan on doing with it all. (By the way, just out of curiosity, how many covers are you doing daily? Sounds like you work in a pretty big kitchen).

Glad this worked out for you.

Andrew M Stewart's picture

It's a kitchen at a university. We do a lot of conferences, stand up canapé functions Etc. I'll use the béchamel for lasagna, mornay and wherever else I can fit a béchamel derivative sauce. Being summer right now business is always really slow and things get over ordered easily. Making 50L of sauce is about the only way I could use a few cases of milk that otherwise would have gon in the trash. I froze most of it into 2L containers.

Great website!

jmslayer's picture

Hi all I'm newbie here and  I have one question hope we will answer me correctly by my friendly chef here. how do they call it the paper towel under the chopping board in French term.thanks in advance have nice day ahead to all of you here.smiley

jacob burton's picture

I'm stumped. I'm not sure there is a specific culinary term that refers to securing a cutting board with a paper towel.