Béchamel sauce

Béchamel sauce

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  • Easy
  • 5 minutes
  • 20 minutes

White sauce (otherwise known as béchamel sauce) is the basic sauce that every home cook should know. It's the favourite friend to roast vegetables (hello, cauliflower cheese!) and the essential addition to mac 'n' cheese. But many home cooks are intimidated by the technique. We're here to help you through the process. It's far easier than you think!


  • 3 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 cups milk

Cooking Instructions

1. Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in an equal amount of flour and cook the mixture for just under a minute. Don't be alarmed when the mixture becomes grainy or bitty - this is what's supposed to happen at this point. It's known as a roux.

Pro tip: Keep stirring, and don't cook the roux for too long, as it can impede the flour's ability to thicken the sauce. Remove off the heat if the pot gets too hot.

2. Add a splash of milk, and stir with a whisk.

Pro tip: using a whisk is essential in ensuring that no lumps form. Warming the milk before adding to the butter and flour is a foolproof step in ensuring a perfectly smooth sauce.

3. Add another splash of milk, and stir to incorporate. Continue adding a little bit of milk at a time, all the while stirring, until your mixture becomes creamy and smooth.

Pro-tip: Never stop stirring! The sauce can go lumpy, or catch at the bottom and affect the taste of the sauce.

4. Once all of the milk has been added, reduce heat and keep stirring while bringing the mixture to a gentle boil. It should become thick and glossy. Boil for a couple of minutes until your desired consistency is achieved. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.

Ta da! You've just made your basic béchamel!

From here, veer off in the flavour direction of your choosing:
- To make a cheese sauce, add grated cheese. Mustard is a great addition to take cheese sauce to another level
- Season with fresh herbs (parsley, watercress) and serve as a side to seafood
- Smother a potato bake in a white sauce seasoned with nutmeg

Nailed the basics? Next time, scald the milk with cloves, onion, carrot, thyme and bay leaves and allow to infuse for 30 minutes before straining and using in your white sauce. Get this recipe here.

Find more milk recipes here.


What's better than spinach smothered in a creamy sauce, or cheesy broccoli and cauliflower for Sunday lunch? Not having to make it yourself, that's what. Woolies has done it all for you using real butter, cream and milk. The range also includes broccoli, butternut and courgettes in a creamy cheese sauce, and creamed spinach and butternut. It really doesn't get any easier, or more delicious.

Discover more at www.woolworths.co.za.

TASTE Recipe by: TASTE
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The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.

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