White sauce recipe

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Learn how to make a classic white sauce with milk, flour and butter with our step by step video.

White sauce recipe
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)
  • Vegetarian
  • healthy
Serves4
SkillMedium
Preparation Time5 mins
Cooking Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories231 Kcal12%
Sugar8 g9%
Fat16 g23%
Salt0.8 gRow 3 - Cell 2
Protein6 g12%
Carbohydrates17 g7%
Salt0.8 gRow 6 - Cell 2

White sauce is perfect for lasgane and many other popular dishes - and is sometimes known as a roux, or béchamel sauce.

White sauce is incredibly easy to make and requires just three key ingredients - butter, plain flour, and whole milk. We've kept it simple with our recipe for a basic white sauce, but you could add a couple of bay leaves with the milk when heating for extra flavour, just remember to remove them after cooking. 

Used as a delicious in-between layer for lasagne or poured over a scrumptious fish pie, the white sauce can also be added to chicken and pasta dishes.

Ingredients

  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 600ml whole milk
  • whole nutmeg, for grating

WEIGHT CONVERTER

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Method

  1. Melt the butter slowly in a saucepan. Stir in the flour to make a paste. For best results, sift the flower through a sieve to prevent lumps. Cook the paste for 2 minutes, then season well with salt and pepper.
  2. Gradually add in the cold milk, stirring until smooth. Cook over a medium heat, stirring, until thickened (it will take at least 5 minutes).
  3. Season and add freshly grated nutmeg.

Watch how to make white sauce

Top tips for making this white sauce recipe

For a fish pie, swap half the milk for fish stock, and for chicken pie swap with chicken stock and 100ml white wine. To make a cheese sauce, add 100g grated Cheddar cheese and 1tbsp wholegrain mustard to the basic white sauce.

How to make a vegan white sauce

This classic white sauce can be easily adapted to suit a vegan diet by replacing the diary-based ingredients. Swap 600ml whole milk for 600ml unsweetened oat, pea, or soy milk. The 50g butter can be swapped for a 50g of vegan spread instead.

Can white sauce be frozen?

Once the sauce has completely cooled to room temperature spoon into a freezer bag. It’s best to store in portion sizes as it's quicker to defrost. Freeze for up to 6 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge. You will need to reheat the sauce gently once defrosted on the hob and may need to add a knob of butter too.

Can you use self-raising flour for white sauce?

It’s best to avoid using self-raising flour and opt for other flours instead such as coconut flour, almond flour, or whole wheat flour if you don’t have access to plain flour. Self-raising flour contains baking powder and salt which can have an impact on the taste and texture of the sauce.

Is white sauce gluten-free?

Substitute the plain flour in this recipe for gluten-free flour instead like brown rice flour, oat flour, or almond flour.

Love a good sauce? We've got loads more delicious sauce recipes, including bechamel sauce.