Béchamel Sauce (White Sauce for Lasagna)

Jaye Fong
by Jaye Fong
3 Cups
20 min

Béchamel is a sauce traditionally made from a roux (butter and flour mixture) with milk. It is often referred to as white sauce and is one of the mother sauces in French cuisine! This sauce is incredibly creamy and adds depth to lasagna, moussaka, and is the base to many other sauces. Often, cheese is added to create Alfredo.

To make a good Béchamel you must be generous with the seasoning! Salt, pepper, nutmeg, and full fat milk is recommended. It comes together quickly and although it seems tricky, it is quite straight forward and approachable, even for beginner cooks! It is a great way to impress guests and a foundation for Italian cooking.

Béchamel Sauce (White Sauce for Lasagna)
Recipe details
  • 3  Cups
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 15 Minutes Total time: 20 min
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  • 100g (7 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 100g (little more than 3/4 cp) all purpose flour
  • 1 liter (4 cps) whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp (or to taste) ground nutmeg
  • generous salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot over medium heat, melt butter.
Add flour and whisk until no dry patches remain.
Add milk and seasonings.
Whisk constantly to prevent lumps and thicken sauce.
Sauce is ready when you lift the whisk and it leaves a thick but still viscous trail. This is often referred to as "ribbon stage".
Use to layer lasagna or as a base for a delicious alfredo!
  • [LASAGNA] If you enjoy cream sauce and are making a 9"x13" lasagna, I would recommend doubling the batch.
  • [ALTERNATIVE MILK] I have not tried making this with plant-based milk, but should you try, I would recommend oat, almond, cashew, or coconut. I would not use coconut unless you enjoy the coconut flavor.
Jaye Fong
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  • Karen Karen on Mar 23, 2021

    Would love to see what else you later with this for lasgna.

    • Jaye Fong Jaye Fong on Mar 24, 2021

      Happy to write up the ragu sauce soon! :)

  • Cso51108026 Cso51108026 on Mar 23, 2022

    Tip: Heating the milk ALMOST but not quite to a boil (just a bubble or two starting to break through) helps the milk to incorporate MUCH more easily!!! Melts that butter/flour mixture and makes whisking a dreamy-smooth sauce much easier! Yes, it does mean washing another pan, but (in my humble opinion), the time spent washing that 2nd pan is LESS than the stress on my bicep whisking cold milk! 100% worth it!! :)

    But otherwise, FOLLOW THIS RECIPE - the nutmeg is a MUST!! It's delicious!!! You will not be disappointed!!! I've used this to make a purely veggie lasagna (spinach, broccoli, onion/garlic, grated carrot, etc.!) with NO tomatoes, and layered like a traditional lasagna with ricotta, mozzarella/blended Italian cheeses and/or shredded Parmesan and/or Asiago (honestly, it's whatever is in the fridge). I've thrown in leftover shredded chicken, too, and it has NEVER disappointed!!!

    • See 1 previous
    • Cso51108026 Cso51108026 on Mar 28, 2023

      Okay, #veggielasagna is next!!! I always heat the skim milk to better-incorporate it, and agree the nutmeg has to happen. LOVE the idea of "leftover" night in this - chicken, maybe some ham lunch meat, leftover veggies - even shrimp. Could totally omit tomatoes and simply do a "white sauce." #LOVE!!!! Thanks!! ~Chrissie

      PS Do you think you'd do a legit cheese layer (ricotta/parmesan/egg) or just layer it up??