The Best Béchamel Sauce
Let’s talk sauce!
Believe it or not, I was in the dark about white sauce for a long, long time. I’ve talked many times about eating dinner at my grandma’s on Sundays, but I don’t think I ever recall her making a white sauce. She was all about the red sauce – from spaghetti to stuffed shells and lasagna – and her homemade sauce was phenomenal. It wasn’t until I was much older (maybe high school?) that I had my first run-in with a bowl of fettuccine alfredo, and it was love at first bite. I’ve loved incorporating béchamel sauce into my pasta dishes, and finally found one that I adore. This would technically be considered a mornay since it includes cheese, but that just makes it infinitely better in my opinion.
As far as béchamel sauces go, this really cannot be beat. It’s thick, rich, creamy and wonderfully cheesy. I used it in lasagna and my baked tortellini and I think it was definitely the key to making both of those dishes so incredibly fabulous. While I’ll always love red tomato sauce, having a go-to béchamel sauce is now a necessity for me!
Tell me – are you team red sauce or white sauce?
One year ago: White Chicken Chili
Two years ago: Popovers
Four years ago: Chocolate Mint Brownies
Six years ago: Irish Soda Bread
Seven years ago: Brioche Raisin Snails
The Best Béchamel Sauce
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (31.25 g) all-purpose flour
- 2½ cups (610 ml) whole milk
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) ground nutmeg
- 1 cup (132 g) shredded provolone cheese
- ½ cup (50 g) grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium saucepan placed over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour turns light brown and emits a nutty aroma.
- Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Once all of the milk has been incorporated, whisk in the nutmeg, and allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Once simmering, cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
- Remove from the heat, and add the shredded provolone a handful at a time, stirring until it melts. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Did you make this recipe?
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How about Team Green? This kind of bechamel can work beautifully when blended with spinach, if you like spinach. It used to be common in the early 1970s in Europe to make it that way, with homemade green lasagna noodles too.
Simple and easy to make. Delisheous!
Perfectly delicious and easy to prepare 👌🏼
Trying plain bechamel with salmon on croquettes; hope it’s good! Let you know! Pamela J Planker, alias P.J., The Massillon Tiger 🐅 on Fb!
Made a yellow squash hamburger casserole with this tonight , turned out great. Nice bechamel sauce . Thanks for the recipe it is easy to remember in amounts too
I have made this recipe twice and it is by far the best one I’ve made! I just made it and added old cheddar and cream cheese as the base of my baked Mac and cheese! Cannot wait for it to come out of the oven! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!
This remind my cousin coking something delicious.I ate the half pot and she had to make more. It’s delicious
This is almost identical to my recipe and it is a winner! The thing I do differently is to substitute 1 cup of good white wine for that much of the milk. I use it for everything from mac & cheese to chicken & biscuits and seafood/pasta casserole. Of course, wonderful used with red sauce. So good, so versatile. Love your recipes & your site!
provolone does not work with this béchamel period.
I’ve made this sauce countless times as written with the provolone and I’ve never had any issues with it.
Fettuccine Alfredo is one of my all time favorite dishes. You have me craving it in the worst way.
Hi Michelle! I love LOVE white sauce, but had pulled away from it about 4 years ago when I discovered I have Celiacs disease :-( Since then I’ve been able to adjust a bit and make it with a rice flour blend, so that’s been encouraging. I can’t wait to try your recipe with my flour substitute!
I wanted to mention something that I recently tried that I saw floating around on Pinterest and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it tasted and how easy it was! It’s called “Miracle Mac N’ Cheese” and it really is amazing! All of the boxed GF mac n’ cheese I’ve tried have been pretty awful, but I followed the recipe for the Miracle Mac N’ Cheese using GF Barilla Pasta and it came out great! Only 4 ingredients (milk, pasta, sharp cheddar, salt) and the trick is to cook your pasta IN the milk! Apparently by doing this, the starch from the pasta is retained in the milk that you’re cooking the noodles in and it creates its own sort of roux. Amazing! And bonus, my daugters age 1 & 3 love it (so does my husband, age 32 hehehe). It’s really handy to have in my easy meals arsenal for fast weeknight dinners!
Coloring books for grown ups…I found them in the “bargain section” at Barnes & Noble…$6.98 each…happy shopping
I’m totally team red sauce, but that white sauce looks (and sounds!) pretty amazing, so I think I need to give it another try! Pinned!
I love bechamel sauce! I recently did a bechamel sauce on a crazy yummy pasta!
This sauce makes a great Hot Brown.
I was going to say the same thing. As a Louisville girl, it is all about the great Hot Brown sandwich.
I love making alfredo . . . so quick and easy to put together and goes so well with pasta laden with veggies and either shrimp or chicken. This was my standard for hosting many high school soccer and lacrosse pasta parties before big games for my kids and their teammates. But I’ve never added provolone to my alfredo sauce. This sounds beyond delicious, and I can’t wait to make this sauce. Thank you for posting and sharing it.
Hi! Congratulations on your baby! Have you ever encountered an orangy ( in color not flavor) pasta sauce? It is very creamy and I think it may be made with marscapone. I had it at a restaurant and haven’t been able to find it since, which is a shame because it is incredible. I’d love to know what it is, if you know!
Perhaps it was a vodka sauce which can be pinkish or orangey in color?? and it’s creamy and delicious!
Was it Parma Rosa sauce?
Everyone needs a good béchamel sauce!
White for me! My hubby and I even like ranch as the base on pizza! My favorite chicken enchilada even has white sauce! Call us crazy, but that’s how we roll! Can wait to try your BÉCHAMEL – never even thought about adding provolone!
Have you ever had a dish with BOTH! Talk about phenomenal!! There, I am challenging you to bring us a fabulous recipe using both of your recipes. My mouth is drooling already. :-)
I am so excited to try this! I am allergic to tomatoes so, sadly red sauce and I cannot be friends. :( When I go to pasta places for dinner, it’s always white sauce and I have never really ventured into finding a white sauce of my own. This looks really easy and something I would really like to eat. Thank you for all the yummy recipes!
I’m not partial to either straight up red or white. I much prefer to mix together. I think I first had a mixed alfredo/marinara sauce at Olive Garden when I was in high school. I was smitten! Ever since, I’ve always added the two together. I find alfredo sauce too heavy and red sauce too acidic, so it’s the best of both worlds for me.
I’m a white sauce girl all the way! I had never heard of “bechamel” until recently when a Chopped chef mentioned it, but once I looked into what it was I realized I’ve been making one for years as the basis of my favorite homemade mac and cheese!
I am now dying to go home and try this one with both provolone and parmesan!
Team white sauce. Hands down! Cant wait to try this!!
I’m team red sauce all the way, my partner is team white sauce and over the years he has persuaded me to loosen my views and I quite like a few pasta dishes with white sauce now. My daughter would love a lasagne, never made one before, but I think this sauce will help me along the way! : )
Oh my goodness. This sauce is simply wonderful. I need to go and get some tortellini just so that I can have the sauce. :D
I also only learned about white sauce as an adult when I discovered I can add fresh mushrooms or tomato paste and substitute it for those nasty canned condensed soups in recipes. This one looks wonderful, especially with the provolone and nutmeg. I love your site and really enjoy browsing the recipes when I am in the mood to cook or bake something new. Thank you!
First I would like to say that I really enjoy your website and your receipes.
I enjoy all kind of sauces. I live close to an area, which is famous for asparagus. It is very often served with a bechamel sauce.
I would like to give some advice to your receipe, if you don’t mind. I know bechamel sauce without cheese. Adding cheese can first overkill the delicate flavour of a bechamel sauce and make it too thick (due to the use of flour + cheese). Therefore I would recommend to first taste the sauce without the cheese, and as you alread said in small portions. Remember that lasagne and other baked goods often already require cheese (apart from the sauce). A few drops of Worcestershiresauce can give a nice twist to the sauce.
Béchamel does not have cheese, you are correct… when cheese is added to Béchamel it becomes a Mornay sauce…
I cant choose, i love both!
I love pink sauce! Red with a little white added in. YUM!
I grew up only on red sauces. My mom had many versions–and I thought each noodle type had it’s own sauce. (but they were all tomato based) I didn’t learn to make a white sauce until I was married. Yours looks infinitely better than the recipe I use, due to the seasonings and cheese. I’m going to have to incorporate this into my sauces. Thanks!
This would be so wonderfully creamy in lasagna. I think it could be used in so many dishes. I think there’s a time and a place for a red sauce and a time and a place for a cream sauce….how’s that for being diplomatic?