How to make Béchamel/cheese sauce

How to make Béchamel sauce/Cheese sauce

Making a classic Béchamel or Cheese sauce is a skill every home cook should have. It's easy to make and one of the most versatile sauces to cook with.
Course Béchamel sauce, Cheese sauce, French cooking, Mornay sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Author Alida Ryder


  • ½ cup butter cubed
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2-3 cups full cream/whole milk
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground/grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-2 cups grated mature cheddar cheese


  • Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour.
  • Whisk until smooth then slowly pour in the milk, a little at a time. (I always reserve approximately ½ cup milk. Some flours will absorb more/less liquid so you might not need all of it and sometimes after adding cheese I like to thin out the sauce just a little with the remaining milk.)
  • Whisk continuously until the sauce is thick then turn down the heat, add the spices and allow to simmer, stirring, until the sauce is thick and cooked through (this takes around 7-10 minutes on a gentle heat).
  • Once the sauce is cooked (the sauce will be completely smooth tasting with no flouriness) season to taste.
  • If making cheese sauce, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese. Season to taste.