Béchamel sauce

Makes: 1 litre

Béchamel sauce is used in a variety of dishes, including cauliflower cheese and a classic croque-monsieur. It also forms the basis of many other sauces. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days; reheat in a bain-marie to serve.


  • 60g butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 1 litre cold milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper


1Gently melt the butter in a small, heavy-based saucepan over a low heat, then add the flour. Stir with a whisk and cook gently for 2-3 minutes to make a roux.

2 Pour the cold milk onto the roux, whisking as you do so, and bring the sauce to the boil over a medium heat, whisking continuously. When the sauce comes to the boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring the sauce frequently.

3Season to taste with salt, white pepper and a little nutmeg, if you wish, then pass the sauce through a fine chinois.

4Either serve the béchamel sauce immediately or, if necessary, keep it warm in a bain-marie, dotting a few flakes of butter over the surface to stop a skin from forming.


First printed in our sister publication France Today

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