White Sauce

White sauce or Béchamel is a rich simple white sauce, which is a base for many dishes. It can be used as a base for chicken pies, fish pies, served with vegetables, there are recipes for cheese sauces, mac and cheese and even a chilli con queso or Mexican cheese sauce! (although I don’t use it in my recipe!) It is, however, famous for use in Lasagna.

Its origins are based in the Tuscany region of Italy and date back to the 16th Century. Brought back by the chefs of King Louis the 14th.

This white sauce is now classed as a classic french sauce. It has been known as one of the mother sauces in French cuisine since the 17th Century.

This wonderfully cream sauce is really easy to make once you have the basics down. It also tastes so much better than the store brought version as well!


For my White sauce recipe you will need the following ingredients;

  • 500ml whole milk (you can use 400ml milk and 100ml cream for an extra creamy sauce!
  • 35 grams of butter
  • 35 grams plain flour
  • one white onion
  • 8 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • white pepper
  • salt


Step one preparing the onion
trimming an onion for a white sauce

The first thing you need to do for your white sauce is to prepare the onion to infuse the milk.

Using a sharp knife cut the top of the onion off. Then, score the outer layers of onion skin. Peel the skin back and cut off the skin at the core, leaving the core intact.

making holes for cloves

Cut off about 2cm of the onion off of the opposite end of the onion from the core, this will allow your onion to sit in the milk without falling over.

next, cut in 8 holes into the onion near the base. place a clove in each of the holes.

Step two infusing the milk for your white sauce
placing cloves into an onion

Light your stove over a medium to low heat and add in your milk (or the milk and cream if you are using the milk and cream combination).


heating a onion in milk

Add in your clove-studded onion into the centre of the pan and in two bay leaves. You will need to watch the milk carefully. As soon as it starts to lift, cut the heat and allow to infuse for around half an hour. This will form the base of your white sauce.

Step three, making the blond roux
a blond roux

Place new saucepan over a medium flame on the small burner of your stove. add in your butter and flour and combine. Once the butter has melted the mixture should have a yellow hue to it. Keep mixing the roux until it has turned an off white colour. This is called a white roux.

Step four, making Béchamel sauce.
ading milk to a blond roux

Remove the bay leaves and the onion from the milk using a fork. Slowly add a small amount of the infused milk to the white roux. Combine until the mixture comes together. Add a little more of the infuse milk to the mix and combine.

finished white sauce

Keep adding the infused milk a little at a time until the milk has been fully incorporated into your sauce. If you find that your white sauce is a little too thick, add a small splash of milk to loosen it a bit. Remove from the heat and season with white pepper and salt.

straining a white sauce

Taking a fine mesh strainer, pass your sauce through using a spatula to push the last of the sauce though. This is to remove any lumps that may have formed in your white sauce.


Your white sauce is now ready to use in wonderful lasagne or any other creation that you have come up with!


Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments box below!

Happy cooking!

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