I am obsessed with this recipe! In fact, I’m such a fan of this recipe can guarantee that if you try to make béchamel sauce this way will never go back to making it the traditional way again.
Yes, I’m making a pretty bold claim. Am I really cocky enough to say this method is better than the one French cooking school chefs have been teaching since the dawn of time (give or take)?
My mum discovered this béchamel method from a friend 10 years ago, and we have both used this method successfully each time ever since.
Why this method is better
If you haven’t attempted making béchamel sauce the traditional way, let me quickly explain how it works. You have to melt the butter, then add flour and stir for 2 minutes, then add the milk slowly and gradually. The method I offer you is: place all the ingredients in a pot, then stir after 5 minutes. Easier no?
But apart from having fewer steps, my recipe is awesome because it’s bulletproof. A traditional béchamel sauce can be ruined if the butter browns up for just a second too long. It can also get really lumpy from the flour if you don’t stir well enough or add too much milk at a time. Some even say you have to preheat the milk to avoid lumps. Ugh.
Oh, and this recipe can be made vegan too! How good it that? (see recipe notes below)
Recipe tips & notes
SAUCE THICKNESS – If the bechamel is too thick, thin out with extra milk. Add one tablespoon at a time until you have your desired consistency. Keep in mind the sauce will thicken automatically when it cools down. If the sauce too thin, you’ve probably been heating it on too low heat or not long enough.
VEGAN VERSION – I’ve tried this recipe with both oat milk and soy milk and both worked great. To replace the dairy butter I use vegan “butter” spreads and it has worked with all brands I’ve tried to now.
CHEESY VERSION – A traditional béchamel sauce does not contain cheese, but if you want a cheesy béchamel, you do you! I recommend grated cheddar or colby cheese for a real cheezy texture, or grated parmesan if you’re looking to optimize taste rather than texture. Add cheese at the end, once the sauce has started to thicken. Don’t wait for the sauce to be completely thick because you need to remove the sauce from the heat then and the cheese won’t melt.
STORAGE & REHEATING – The béchamel sauce can be made in advance and reheated with no problem. Béchamel thickens when it cools down, so when reheating, add a bit of milk to bring it back to a thinner consistency.
USAGE – I use béchamel mostly to make lasagne, but it’s also great for baked potatoes (such as for a gratin) or other baked vegetables, moussaka, or even as a simple white sauce for pasta dishes.
Easy bulletproof béchamel sauce – regular & veganCuisine: French, Vegan optionDifficulty: Easy
750g milk, regular or vegan such as oat milk or soy milk
150g butter, regular or vegan
75g plain flour
Salt and pepper
- In a saucepan, add milk, butter, and flour all at once.
- Heat over medium heat and start whisking after about 5 minutes when the sauce starts to thicken. Continue stirring for about 5 more minutes, or until the béchamel has reached the right consistency.
- Remove from heat and finish by adding salt and pepper to taste.