small size pot of white bechamel sauce with cloves and nutmeg

Bechamel Sauce Recipe

Learn how to make a classic bechamel sauce that is incredibly simple to prepare and excellent for sauces and pasta dishes.
Course sauce
Cuisine French
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 Batch
Calories 589kcal
Author Chef Billy Parisi


  • 1 quart of whole milk
  • 1 roux recipe
  • ¼ peeled onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Sea salt and ground white pepper to taste


  • Add the milk to a medium-size saucepot over low heat until it scalds, see note.
  • Whisk in the roux until it is completely mixed in and smooth and bring just to a boil to thicken and then turn the heat back down to low.
  • Next, make a 1” slit into the top of the onion and push the bay leaf into the slice and press the clove into the onion as well and then place the entire thing right into the bechamel sauce and cook for 15 minutes to infuse the flavor.
  • Add in the nutmeg, salt, and pepper and mix in with a spoon.
  • Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer like a chinois or through some cheesecloth in a regular strainer. The sauce should be silky smooth.
  • Serve.


Chef Notes:
  • Make Ahead: You can make this sauce up to 2 days ahead of time.
  • How To Store: Keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Do not freeze the sauce as it will break when thawing it.
  • How to Reheat: Simply place your desired amount into a small sauce pan and whisk over low heat until thick.
  • You’ll know it’s scalded if you tilt the pan back to yourself and see bubbles clinging to the bottom of the pan but not sticking to it.
  • If the sauce gets too thick when making it or reheating it, simply add a ¼ cup of hot milk at a time until it is to a thinner consistency.
  • You must wait for the sauce to boil after mixing in the roux for it to thicken, other wide it will remain on the thinner side


Calories: 589kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 409mg | Potassium: 1289mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 1533IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 1069mg | Iron: 1mg