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Test Kitchen Approved

Bechamel Sauce

Recipe By Ashlee Redger, Savory Spice Test Kitchen

Prep Time

5 Minutes

Cooking Time

30 Minutes

Recipe By Ashlee Redger, Savory Spice Test Kitchen

This classic French mother sauce has a delicate sweetness that can be adapted for a wide range of uses. You might recognize it in such American dishes like country gravy and the base for mac & cheese sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with roasted chicken, use black pepper instead of white for a country gravy to serve with chicken fried steak; or stir in Cheddar cheese for a mac & cheese sauce.

Recipe Notes

To learn more about bechamel and the other French mother sauces, check out our guide! Customize this by adding cream, shredded/grated cheese, horseradish powdertoasted onion, or your favorite seasoning.


1/4 onion (cut as a wedge)

3 Whole Ceylon Cloves

3 cups whole milk

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Kosher salt, to taste

Savory Spice ingredients in this recipe

  • Ground Nutmeg

    Nutmeg, native to the Banda Islands of Indonesia commonly referred to as the Spice Islands, is the seed of a fruit produced by an evergreen tree. T...

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  • California Bay Leaves

    The California bay is a native evergreen tree that grows to 80 feet in height. There are different species of the laurel family, California bay lea...

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  • Fine White Sarawak Pepper

    To offer you fresh quality white pepper, we grind the peppercorns weekly. This fine grind is excellent for adding great pepper flavor, without the ...

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Create an onion pique by poking the cloves through the bay leaf and into the onion. Add onion pique and milk to a small pot. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, just until small bubbles start to form around the edge of the pot and a thin film forms across the top of the milk. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 min., then discard onion pique. In a medium pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 min., or just until mixture has a lightly toasted aroma. Slowly pour in milk while stirring constantly. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 min., stirring frequently., or until sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in nutmeg and white pepper and season with salt to taste. Pass sauce through a fine-mesh sieve to filter and serve immediately.