Bechamel sauce is used in a bunch of different ways. Even though it’s a big deal for the foodies in our life, lots of people have never heard of it. Never fear, though! We’re here to break down what the sauce is and provide you with an easy bechamel sauce recipe for you to try!
What Is Bechamel Sauce?
Bechamel sauce is commonly referred to as “white sauce” and it’s nothing more than a simple sauce made from a white roux (a mix of flour and fat that thickens the sauce) that you spice up with herbs and a variety of other flavorings.
Bechamel sauce also belongs to the five mother sauces. Essentially, the five mother sauces are basic sauces that can be used to create other sauces. But, these main five are where people need to start. In case you were ever wondering, bechamel sauce, velouté sauce, Espagnole sauce, hollandaise sauce, and the classic tomato sauce are the top five!
This basic mother sauce is used in a variety of different dishes or acts as a base to build secondary sauces. Bechamel sauce can be used in lasagna, in certain kinds of gravy, macaroni and cheese, and scalloped potatoes. It can also act as the base for a lot of other sauces like cheddar cheese sauce, mustard sauce, or cream sauce.
What you add to your bechamel sauce recipe really depends on your own personal preferences! Though, there are some base ingredients.
Bechamel Sauce Recipe
There are a few different recipes you can try, but here’s the one we like best.
What You’ll Need
- 4 cups of milk
- 5 tablespoons of butter
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon of pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- Melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add in the flour, but pour it in slowly so it doesn’t make a mess. Stir until the mixture is smooth.
- Increase to medium-high heat and add the milk in a little bit at a time. Whisk constantly or the sauce will get lumpy.
- Once all the milk is added, bring the sauce to a low simmer. Continue stirring to avoid lumps and let it simmer for a few minutes. You’ll want the sauce to look creamy, thick, and glossy.
- Add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.
One of the most important things to remember is that you need to keep whisking! Once you’ve made the roux (which happens when you mix the butter and flour together), you’ll want to constantly whisk the sauce when you add the milk. Keep whisking as it simmers for those few minutes. If you stop whisking, the sauce goes lumpy!
Different Ingredients To Try
There are some bechamel sauce recipes out there that call for different ingredients. Some of them suggest you adding in onion, while some recipes say that you can add in one bay leaf should you so desire.
Of course, you can also use bechamel sauce for lasagna! There are plenty of recipes out there that teach you how to make lasagna and if you’d like to use bechamel for that, you absolutely can! All you’d need to do is make your sauce and layer it in with the noodles and meat sauce.
It really comes down to what you’d like to try out! It’s not a necessity that you add in these ingredients (some omit salt and pepper as well) but this is just the recipe that we find works best for us!