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Bechamel Cheese Sauce

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5 from 26 votes
By Carine Claudepierre -
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This Bechamel Cheese Sauce also known as Mornay sauce is a classic Bechamel sauce flavored with Gruyere cheese or Parmesan cheese.

It’s the easiest, cheesy sauce for steamed vegetables, egg benedicts, or casserole. It’s a French-inspired recipe that can be easily made in less than 20 minutes.

Bechamel Cheese Sauce

As a French person, I make Bechamel sauce all the time.

Bechamel is a classic creamy white sauce, one of the five Mother Sauces of classical French cuisine.

Bechamel is made from flour butter and milk. and used as a base for lasagna or vegetable gratin like my broccoli gratin recipe or any casserole.

If you have made mac and cheese before, the technique and ingredients are very close, except that the mac and cheese recipe adds cheddar.

What’s Bechamel Sauce?

Bechamel sauce is a creamy white sauce made from butter and flour, cooked together to form a paste called Roux.

Then, the roux is dissolved in milk and boiled until the sauce thickens and turns creamy.

Bechamel sauce is very popular in European cuisine, to make lasagna, vegetable au gratin recipes, and pasta casseroles.

This bechamel cheese sauce is a version of the classic French bechamel recipe but with added cheese for extra flavor.

Bechamel Cheese Sauce

How To Make Bechamel Cheese Sauce

You only need 4 ingredients and 15 minutes to make a creamy, cheesy Bechamel sauce.

Ingredients

  • Butter – You can also use dairy-free butter or ghee.
  • All-Purpose Flour – I haven’t tried gluten-free all-purpose flour for this recipe, so I am unsure if it works to make gluten-free Bechamel sauce.
  • Milk of Choice – The classic recipe uses regular cow milk or skim milk. But you can also use dairy-free milk options to make a vegan Bechamel, as long as your milk is unsweetened and low flavor like unsweetened almond milk or soy milk. I would avoid rice milk and oat milk that have a sweet note.
  • Cheese of Choice – You can use any hard grated cheese depending on the flavor you are after. The best cheese for bechamel is Parmesan cheese, swiss cheese, or cheddar cheese.

Optional Flavors

Since cheese is salted, especially Parmesan, you may not need salt at all in the sauce. I highly recommend tasting the sauce and adding only if needed.

Then, feel free to season the sauce with some of the spices below:

  • Curry powder
  • Chili flakes
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground pepper
  • Italian herbs
  • Salt and pepper

Making The Sauce

To make the bechamel, bring a non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and melt it over medium heat.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a yellow paste mixture called ‘roux’.

Return to low-medium heat and add about half a cup of milk.

Gently add the milk to the roux flour and whisk at the same time until the roux butter and flour are completely dissolved.

Now that flour and milk are well combined and no lumps show, add the remaining milk.

Bring to a boil, then reduce and keep cooking the Béchamel sauce, stirring occasionally, until a creamy sauce forms.

It takes just ten minutes to thicken.

Now, stir in the cheese and keep cooking for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

How to make Bechamel Cheese Sauce

Using Bechamel Cheese Sauce

This bechamel cheese sauce is perfect for:

Broccoli AU gRATIN

Allergy Swaps

Below are some allergy swaps to adapt this recipe to your dietary requirement.

  • Dairy-Free – To make dairy-free Bechamel, use low-flavor dairy-free milk like soy milk or unsweetened almond milk and replace the butter with dairy-free butter. You can skip the cheese or use 2-3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast to add flavor to the sauce and avoid dairy.
  • Gluten-Free – I didn’t try using an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend in this recipe, but I suppose it could work.
Bechamel Cheese Sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Freeze Bechamel?

Yes, you can freeze this sauce in an airtight container and thaw it in the fridge the day before using it.

How Long Does Bechamel Last In The Fridge?

Bechamel is a dairy dish so it won’t last more than 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Can I Use Other Cheese?

You can use any cheese to flavor bechamel and make a bechamel cheese sauce that you love.

Cheddar cheese, blue cheese, Parmesan, and Gruyere cheese are the most popular.

Did you try this cheese bechamel sauce recipe? Share a comment or review below.

Bechamel Cheese Sauce

Bechamel Cheese Sauce

This Bechamel Cheese Sauce also known as Mornay sauce is a classic Bechamel sauce flavored with Gruyere cheese or Parmesan cheese. It's the easiest cheesy sauce for steamed vegetables, egg benedicts, or casseroles. It's a French-inspired recipe that can be easily made in less than 20 minutes.
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Yield: 3 cups
Serving Size: 1 serving (1 cup)

Nutrition

Net Carbs 11.2g
Fat 37.1g
Protein 14.9g
Calories 437.1kcal
5 from 26 votes
Review Print

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Microwave the milk or warm it in a non-stick saucepan for a few minutes. Don't boil, just warm up. Set aside.
  • In a non-stick saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and use a wooden spoon to stir the flour into the melted butter. Stir until it forms a yellow paste-like texture called Roux.
  • Return to medium heat, stir and warm the mixture for 20-30 seconds to slightly dry out a bit. Switch to hand whisk, gradually add 1/2 cup warm milk, whisking at the same time to dissolve the roux into the warm milk.
  • Now, add the two remaining cups of milk and bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat, stir occasionally, and cook for 10 minutes or until the sauce is creamy and thick. If the sauce is too thick to your liking, stir in more milk, simmer and cook until it thickens.
  • When the sauce has thickened as you like, stir in the cheese and cook fir 1 minute or until the cheese is melted.
  • Taste the sauce and add salt, pepper, and garlic powder if desired.

Storage

  • Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge the day before.
Note 1: Butter can be replaced with ghee, dairy-free butter, olive oil, or coconut oil. Note that these last 2 options add a strong flavor to the sauce.
Note 2: Regular milk, skim milk, half-half or unsweetened almond milk can be used.
Note 3: Any hard grated cheese like Gruyere cheese, Parmesan cheese, Swiss cheese, or Cheddar cheese works well.
Vegan Bechamel Sauce: Use dairy-free butter and add 2-3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the sauce to add a cheese flavor.
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Nutrition Facts
Bechamel Cheese Sauce
Amount Per Serving (1 serving (1 cup))
Calories 437.1 Calories from Fat 334
% Daily Value*
Fat 37.1g57%
Saturated Fat 22.7g142%
Trans Fat 0.9g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.7g
Monounsaturated Fat 10.3g
Cholesterol 108.6mg36%
Sodium 494.5mg22%
Potassium 58.4mg2%
Carbohydrates 11.6g4%
Fiber 0.4g2%
Sugar 0.2g0%
Protein 14.9g30%
Net Carbs 11.2g
Vitamin A 1116.8IU22%
Vitamin B12 0.8µg13%
Vitamin D 0.3µg2%
Calcium 453.4mg45%
Iron 0.8mg4%
Magnesium 19.7mg5%
Zinc 1.8mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Carine Claudepierre

About The Author

Carine Claudepierre

Hi, I'm Carine, the food blogger, author, recipe developer, published author of a cookbook, and founder of Sweet As Honey.

I'm passionate about sharing easy, tasty recipes that are both delicious and healthy

Cooking and Baking is my true passion. In fact, I only share a small portion of my recipes on Sweetashoney. Most of them are eaten by my husband and my two kids before I have time to take any pictures!

Browse all my recipes with my Recipe Index.

I hope that you too find the recipes you love on Sweetashoney!

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