how to make a healthy white sauce | Family Cuisine

Making a white sauce is an easy way to add flavor and nutrients to any dish. If you're looking for the perfect go-to recipe, this creamy garlic sauce will be your new favorite!

This post contains step by step instructions for making a 3-ingredient simple white sauce. Use it as a base for other sauces, in casseroles, stews, mac and cheese and much more. The post provides links to easy white sauce recipes.

Simple white sauce in black saucepan wrapped in colourful cloth, with whisk, fresh parsley, and peppercorns, onion and garlic cloves scattered around.

Today I am going to show you how to make a 3-ingredient simple white sauce.

Whether Italian or French (its origin can be traced to both countries though the name ‘bechamel’, as it’s also called, suggests it’s French but let’s not worry about that) the basic white sauce and its various adaptations are popular in many cuisines.

You can use this sauce as a thickener, it also keeps the other ingredients moist, enhances flavour and adds richness. (Without necessarily too many calories).

Equipment you’ll need

  • Kitchen scale/measuring cup
  • Medium size saucepan and whisk

Top down view of bechamel white sauce in saucepan wrapped in cloth, with whisk, onion, garlic and spices around saucepan.

How to make a 3-ingredient simple white sauce

This simple white sauce recipe contains only 3 ingredients: butter, flour and milk (which, when combined, can only produce one colour – white!). And the only ‘tricky’ bit to making it successfully is knowing which ingredient comes first, second and third. Because if you use the wrong sequence your sauce is likely to be lumpy.

So it’s important to start off with the butter, then add the flour, then the milk. In that order!

1.In a saucepan gently melt the butter, add the flour and whisk in until a smooth, thick paste forms.

Thick paste (roux) in black saucepan on cooling rack with green whisk in background.

2. Add some of the milk, increase the heat and whisk until the mixture starts to thicken. Gradually pour in the rest of the milk (or some of it if you want quite a thick sauce) and continue whisking until the sauce thickens again and starts bubbling up. Simmer for 3 more minutes stirring frequently. Your white sauce is ready.

Thick white sauce in black pot with hand holding green whisk on top of rack, with milk in dish at the top.

Seasoning is optional in this recipe and depends on how you are going to use it. I recommend adding some seasoning if you aren’t planning to add any other ingredients to the sauce (such as spices or herbs).


Many white sauce recipes recommend infusing the milk prior to making the sauce by adding raw onion, nutmeg, fresh parsley, peppercorns, cloves or other ingredients. The mixture is then brought to simmering point, strained and the flavourings discarded.

I think this method works well in many recipes but it’s not always necessary. You can always add herbs and spices to the sauce itself. (Bear in mind that this, however, might affect the colour of the sauce). My aim is to show you the right technique (one that’s always worked for me) of making a simple bechamel. The choice of any additional ingredients is yours.

Simple white sauce in black saucepan wrapped in colourful cloth with peppercorns, onion and garlic cloves scattered around.

How to adapt bechamel – easy white sauce recipes

For example, in my turkey meatballs in white sauce I added mustard, white wine and a bit of fromage frais for a richer, creamier consistency.

This creamy spinach mac and cheese is a good example of how other ingredients can affect the appearance of this white pasta sauce. You guessed it, it’s bright green!

In this buckwheat macaroni cheese recipe I added cream cheese and a bit of mustard to the sauce for sharpness.

My chicken and mushroom casserole contains another variation of the bechamel. I swapped butter for oil and added wine to the sauce but the basic method is the same.

This easy chicken in white sauce recipe contains a few additional ingredients for more flavour though the sauce comes together very quickly.

These are just a few examples of how you can make this basic white sauce recipe work for you. You can easily adapt it to suit your dish.

Check out ALL my recipes where I’ve used this simple white sauce.

Consistency of white sauce

The proportions in this simple white sauce recipe make a moderately thick sauce. Not too runny but not too thick either. If you need a runnier or thicker consistency simply add a little less or more flour (± 5 g). If you don’t use your sauce straight away it may become too thick. Add a splash of milk/water and heat it up again whisking all the time.

*Note: It’s essential that you use a whisk to make this sauce. If you use a spoon the sauce may end up a little lumpy.

Keep in touch!

If you make this simple white sauce recipe let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know how you flavoured it.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for regular recipe updates! Or you could subscribe to this blog and receive all my latest recipes right into your mailbox!

0 ( 0 votes )

Family Cuisine
Family Cuisine - Instructions, how to, recipes for delicious dishes every day for your loved ones in your family

Readers' opinions (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


Home Canned Marinara Sauce | Family Cuisine

11/08/2021 22:13 1621

Marinara sauce is a staple in many Italian households and it's easy to make. This recipe for home canned marinara sauce is simple and delicious.

How to make homemade marinara sauce using fresh tomatoes

20/08/2021 11:49 1374

This is a quick and easy recipe for homemade marinara sauce. It's made with fresh tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil leaves, oregano, salt and pepper.

How to make spaghetti sauce from fresh tomatoes for canning

20/08/2021 17:51 1338

Making your own spaghetti sauce from fresh tomatoes is easy and delicious. This recipe is a great way to use up those tomatoes that are too ripe for eating, but not quite ready to be canned. In the process of making this sauce, you

How to make orange chicken sauce from panda express

22/08/2021 06:07 1242

The Panda Express Orange Chicken Sauce is a must-try dish. The orange sauce is made from sweet and sour chicken, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, orange juice and corn starch.

Best Damn Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin

12/08/2021 00:27 945

A review of the best air fryer pork tenderloin you can find.

desserts to make with dessert shells

07/10/2021 23:33 881

Desserts to make with dessert shells can range in complexity, but they are all delicious and fun to make. Whether you want a quick snack or an elaborate dinner party dessert, these desserts have something for everyone!

How to build a santa maria grill

16/08/2021 22:01 848

Santa Maria Grill is a restaurant in the heart of downtown. We serve up delicious, healthy food in a comfortable setting.

Best Ever Enchilada Sauce Recipe (Tex Mex Chili Gravy) | Family Cuisine

12/08/2021 06:37 725

If you love Tex Mex and Mexican food, then this is the recipe for you. This best ever enchilada sauce recipe has just the right amount of spice with a hint of sweetness to make it perfect for any meal. It's

Load more