Back to Basics: How to Make Bechamel Sauce {Besciamella}

We’ve been making a lot of macaroni and cheese lately. All kinds of versions. The one constant for my macaroni and cheese is the base.  Besciamella {or bechamel sauce}. It’s rich, creamy and dreamy and is my secret for making dishes sing.

After about my 3rd batch in almost as many days, I realized that I’ve never shared the recipe for Besciamella here {shame on me} so we’re taking care of that. A back to basics if you will. This is a sauce that everyone should know how to make. And lucky for all of it it’s super SIMPLE.

You’ll want to use a high quality butter and milk since they’re the super stars of the sauce. You already know about my LURVE for Kerrygold Butter and my milk comes from local dairy farmers. And please please don’t skip the nutmeg. I’m pretty sure pasta water and nutmeg are magical. You can quote me on that one ; )


Print This Recipe

Bechamel Sauce {Besciamella}
What you’ll need:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/4 cups skim milk
grating of fresh nutmeg

What to do:
1. Melt butter in a medium – heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour. Whisk to combine.

2. Add milk, continue to whisk until mixture comes to to a boil. Add nutmeg, season with salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer. Stirring frequently, cook until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, approximately 15 minutes.

3. Check for seasoning add more salt if necessary.

Buon Appetito!


  1. 1

    If I had a straw right now, I would NOT be ashamed to do some major slurping.

  2. 2

    I’m with Wendy, growing up I would lick the spoon and pot clean. Geesh, who am I kidding, I still do!

  3. 3

    I’m with Wendy, growing up I would lick the spoon and pot clean.

  4. 4

    I love me some Bechamel!! Mmm hmm. Looks great and I agree about nutmeg and pasta water. Magic.


  5. 5

    bechamel is my favorite. when I first learned how to make it in college, I added it to everything! and I do believe you are correct – pasta water and nutmeg = magical!

  6. 6

    Such an underutilized and fabulous sauce – so happy to see it getting the attention it deserves!!

  7. 7
    Liz /

    Fabulous tutorial…yum!

  8. 8

    Love a good bechamel. We like to take leftover chicken and then I will make a bechamel and have that over rice. It’s actually one of our very favorite meals because it is so warming and the simple flavors are perfect. I also like to add a layer of bechamel to my lasagna…funny, I don’t add nutmeg (so maybe what I make isn’t really bechamel?) but I might next time! This is definitely a great recipe for people to know!

  9. 9

    A great ‘back to basics’ post, Paula! Bechamel is the basis of so many fantastic recipes and a classic that all cooks need in their repertoire.

  10. 10

    LOL…Now where were you yesterday when I needed you ;D

  11. 11

    A good bechamel sauce truly makes a great mac and cheese. I love the idea to add a touch of nutmeg! I need to try that next time 🙂

  12. 12

    Bechamel has always been a favorite…yours looks perfect!

  13. 13

    I love bechamel sauce .. we use it a lot !!!

    I agree … nutmeg is a must !

  14. 14
    Ellie /

    Mac and cheese recipe to follow I hope? Crossing my fingers!!!

  15. 15

    I love me a good bechamel. Buttery, creamy and delicious. Amazing!

  16. 16

    I’m a sauce girl, LOVE this!!!

  17. 17

    Love a bechamel!!!

  18. 18

    This is one of the Mother Sauces, because you can make so many other sauces, soups, and casseroles from this one base sauce.
    It was on our Sauce Class test too!

    Bon appetit!

  19. 19

    You taught me this so well and now I can make it without a recipe! It’s my go-to sauce! I make it almost once a week 🙂

  20. 20
    Holly /

    Thank you so much for this! I’ve never made a bechamel with skim before and was wary. Thanks to your recipe, I moved forward with gusto and made a terrific creamy tomato sauce for my lasagne! Mille grazie!

  21. 21

    Thanks Paula – excellent clear instructions and helpful friendly individualized help! Best wishes!


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