Back to basics – white sauce

I think this may have been the first recipe we covered in our school Home Economics class … or was that scones? Either way, once you have mastered this easy sauce you can use it for a multitude of things! Handy, right? White sauce (also known as béchamel sauce) can be used in pasta and veggie dishes, soups, gravies and as a base for other sauces.

I have given you a basic recipe below, as well as some ideas for variations.


  • Servings: Makes approx. 280ml
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  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 250ml milk 

1.) Melt the butter in a saucepan, then whisk in the flour to form a smooth paste. Allow the mixture to cook for a minute or two – this is known as a roux.

2.) Remove the pan from the heat, add a pinch of salt then gradually whisk in the milk until you have a smooth mixture. Return the pan to the heat and continue to whisk until the sauce has thickened, this should only take a couple of minutes.

And that is it – easy peasy! This recipe is for a medium white sauce, for a thinner sauce use just 1 tablespoon each of butter and flour to 250ml milk. Don’t forget to check out some variations below.

Choices, choices! Which sauce will it be today?


Easy cheese sauce recipe


  • 1 quantity white sauce
  • 50g grated cheese

1.) Once the white sauce has thickened take it off the heat and stir in the grated cheddar cheese. A sharp cheddar works brilliantly.

2.) Keep stirring until the cheese has melted and you have a smooth sauce.

Use to make make macaroni cheese or cauliflower bake, or spoon over baked potatoes.



Easy mushroom sauce recipe


  • dash of olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 cups (about 160g) thinly sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 quantity white sauce
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

1.) Heat a dash of olive oil in your saucepan and add the garlic and mushrooms (about 160g). Cook until the mushrooms are soft then take off the heat and set aside.

2.) Make your white sauce as normal and once thickened stir in the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Delicious on steak, burgers or chicken schnitzel.



Fresh parsley herbs


  • 1 quantity white sauce
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

1.) Make the white sauce as per the instructions above. Once thick, stir the parsley into the sauce. Check the seasoning and serve.

Perfect for fish!



2 thoughts on “Back to basics – white sauce

  1. Brilliant idea, it absolutely does! I often add mustard to the finished cheese sauce when making cauliflower / broccoli bake, it tastes amazing! You can also add a pinch of cayene pepper.


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