This easy béchamel sauce is simply flour, butter, milk, and nutmeg stirred together into a rich and creamy and classic white sauce. The method here is quick and easy, fast and foolproof, yet creates classic results.
How This Easy Béchamel Sauce Came To Be
Who knew that the brilliance of bread baking legend Jim Lahey, founder of Sullivan Street Bakery and Co. in New York City and the genius behind the world-renowned no-knead bread revolution, also extended to bechamel whisperer? We’re not certain where he learned the nifty trick mentioned above, but we’ll happily benefit from it. As will you. And the reason we know about said trick is because Lahey slathers this bechamel all over his white pizza. Unexpected? Yep. Yet more brilliance? Yep.
Easy Bechamel Sauce
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 25 M
- Makes about 2 cups
Pour about 2/3 cup milk into a saucepan. Cut the butter into a few chunks (the exact size isn’t important, it’s just so it’ll melt more easily) and toss them into the milk. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring, until the butter melts, being careful not to let the milk reach a boil.
Meanwhile, dump the flour in a medium bowl, add the remaining milk, and whisk into a slurry.
Once the butter has been completely incorporated into the hot milk, ladle some of the warm mixture into the cold flour mixture and whisk until it’s warm. Pour the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan and whisk it in. Stir in the salt. Place the pan over medium-low heat and whisk the mixture frequently to prevent sticking as it cooks and thickens. The béchamel is done at about 180°F (82°C), or when it has reached the consistency of a runny sauce or heavy cream. Grate in or add the nutmeg, remove from the heat, and let the sauce cool slightly or all the way to room temperature. It will continue to thicken a little as it cools.
Use the bechamel immediately or cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 5 days (if refrigerating the béchamel, bring it back to room temperature before using).
Recipe Testers' Tips
I had never used this technique to make béchamel sauce, but I’m absolutely sold. It’s much easier and certainly faster than the usual method. The sauce came out at just the right consistency and I could spread it in a nice, even, thin layer. I actually used gluten-free all-purpose flour and had no trouble with it.
This recipe for béchamel sauce is a little involved but works perfectly. I really liked this technique because the sauce was very smooth. This is one of the most basic of sauces that could be used in many ways.