Béchamel is one of the French "mother sauces." It's creamy, sometimes cheesy, and always delicious.
What is Béchamel?
Béchamel, pronounced bay-shuh-mel, is one of my favorite words in cooking! It sounds so much fancier and more impressive than say, oh, white sauce - which is exactly what it is. Béchamel, a mixture of milk, flour and butter, can be a perfect substitute in any recipe calling for heavy cream or excess cheese - without some of the calories and fat. The point of the béchamel is to provide a rich, smooth texture and stretch the impact of the cheese without burdening the dish. French, Italian and Greek versions often have nutmeg as a base flavor.
What is Béchamel used for?
I like my Béchamel jam-packed with cheese; it’s my “go to” base for macaroni and cheese. I use it as a creamy addition to my lasagna and it makes scalloped potatoes perfect every time. Pour Béchamel over boring old broccoli to give the kids (and yourself) a wonderful dinner-time treat.
How do you make Béchamel?
It might sound fancy, but it's incredibly easy and quick. Simply melt your butter, stir in the flour and cook for two minutes. Add in hot milk, cook for a couple more minutes, add your seasonings and cheese and Voilà - you have Béchamel.
Béchamel (White Sauce)
- 2 Tbs butter
- 2 Tbs AP flour
- 1 ¼ cup milk hot
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Nutmeg to taste
- ½ cup cheddar cheese shredded (optional)
- Heat the milk in a 2 cup or larger microwavable measuring cup for about 90 seconds. Do not let the milk come to a boil. The milk can also be warmed over low heat in a small saucepan.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.
- Stir the flour into the melted butter, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the hot milk and bring to a boil; stirring constantly.
- Remove from the heat, add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg as desired, and serve immediately.
- For a deliciously creamy cheese sauce, stir in any type of cheddar cheese you like until it’s completely melted and smooth.