Australian/ Condiments and Sauces/ Dinner/ Recipes

Basic White Sauce – Quick No Roux Method

21/02/2023

Never fear, our easy no-fail white sauce recipe is here! This is the quickest, easiest, and most fuss free way to make a quick roux béchamel sauce base at home with just 3 ingredients.

A ladle pours creamy white sauce into a grey saucepan.

Why We Love This

There are no special techniques required for this easy homemade white sauce, just your trusty whisk to stir, stir, stir. 

Deliciously smooth and perfectly thick, use it in your favourite dinner recipes like tuna mornay, cauliflower cheese, lasagne or moussaka!

Adapt the recipe with your favourite seasonings, or keep some on hand in the fridge or freezer as a quick pasta sauce for macaroni cheese or pasta bake

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Related: Potato Bake / Japanese Curry Roux

Whisk sitting in a saucepan with white sauce.

What is White Sauce? 

White sauce, also known as béchamel, traditionally starts from a white roux of flour cooked in butter until it thickens and loses its ‘flour-y’ taste. Milk is added to make it extra creamy and smooth. 

Roux based sauces can get a bad rap for being a bit tricky or fiddly to make, or easy to burn and ruin the flavour. But today we’re sharing Sarah’s quick white sauce version that skips the trickiest steps to make it super easy to make while keeping all the delicious flavour!

The basic white sauce recipe is quite bland on its own, so it’s often seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg. See our ingredients section for our favourite seasoning ideas. 

What You’ll Need

For the basic white sauce:

  • Flour – You’ll need just regular plain flour / all purpose flour. Avoid self raising flour if you can as the added bicarb soda can affect the flavour in the finished sauce. If needed, you can use cornstarch / cornflour instead of plain flour.
  • Milk – We use full cream dairy milk, but you can use skim milk if you like. It’s possible to use plant based milks such as soy or oat, but we haven’t personally tested it. If you try it, let us know how you go! 
  • Butter – Salted or unsalted butter are both fine, we generally use salted for extra flavour.

Seasoning suggestion:

  • Spices & Stock – Along with the classic salt, pepper and nutmeg, we recommend adding chicken stock (sub vegetable stock or dashi powder) for extra flavour. 
  • Cheese – We love adding a mix of Parmesan and grated cheddar (tasty cheese in Australia) to make it extra thick and flavourful, similar to mornay sauce. You can also use a pizza cheese blend.
Ingredients laid out to make white sauce.

How to Make White Sauce

First, gather your ingredients: See recipe card below for measurements.

  1. Pop the butterplain flour / all purpose flour and milk in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Keep whisking until butter has completely melted and the sauce has started to thicken, around 3 minutes. Whisking will help to avoid any lumps forming, so you have a super smooth white sauce base!
  1. Note: This is unflavoured and will be very bland at this stage. Add your favourite seasonings now, or follow on for our flavouring suggestion

Optional: Season Your White Sauce

  1. Add in the grated cheeseparmesanchicken stocknutmeg and salt and pepper. Keep whisking until the cheese has completely melted and everything is well combined. Allow to heat through for a minute or two, then switch off the heat.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Keep Whisking – Our biggest tip when making white sauce is to whisk, whisk, whisk! This will ensure you have that perfectly smooth sauce with no lumpy bits.
  • Storage – White sauce will last for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

FAQs

Can I freeze white sauce?

Yes you can, it freezes really well for around 2-3 months, but we don’t recommend freezing it for any longer as it can affect the texture and flavour. If you’re making a batch specifically to freeze, it’s best not to season it! Freeze the basic sauce first, then season once you’ve defrosted it.

What’s the best way to reheat it?

First, defrost the white sauce in the fridge overnight. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat and whisk well to fix any separation that may have occurred. Then you’ll be ready to add any seasonings or cheese and use in your favourite recipes.

How else can I use it?

Try it as a creamy sauce for homemade pizza with spinach and sun dried tomatoes. Serve with steamed or baked veggies. Depending on the seasonings you use, it pairs especially well with chicken or fish! 

Variations

  • Extra Creamy – Add a swirl of thickened cream / heavy cream to the finished white sauce and whisk through for an extra creamy sauce. 
  • Other Seasonings – Stir in a splash of Worcestershire sauce or a spoonful of your favourite mustard. You could even flavour it with onion powder, garlic powder or mustard powder, or season with your favourite dried herbs. For something completely different, try seasoning it with cayenne pepper or curry powder!
  • Make it Vegan – Use soy milk, oat milk or almond milk, and olive oil instead of milk and butter. 
A whisk scoops up silky smooth white sauce out of the pan.

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★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

A white spoon pours smooth white sauce into a saucepan with wooden handle.

Basic White Sauce – Quick No Roux Method

Never fear, our easy no-fail white sauce recipe is here! This is the quickest, easiest, and most fuss free way to make a quick roux béchamel sauce base at home with just 3 ingredients.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Course: Base, Basics
Cuisine: Australian, Greek
Servings: 4 cups
Calories: 438kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Equipment

Ingredients

For the white sauce base

Seasoning suggestion

  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup cheese grated, tasty, cheddar or shredded pizza cheese mix
  • 2 tsp chicken stock sub vegetable stock or dashi powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

For the basic white sauce

  • Pop the butter, plain flour / all purpose flour and milk in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
    100 g butter, ½ cup plain flour / all purpose flour, 3 cups milk
  • Keep whisking until butter has completely melted and the sauce has started to thicken, around 3 minutes. Whisking will help to avoid any lumps forming, so you have a super smooth white sauce base!
  • Note: This is unflavoured and will be very bland at this stage. Add your favourite seasonings now, or follow on for our flavouring suggestion.

Optional: Season Your White Sauce

  • Add in the grated cheese, parmesan, chicken stock, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Keep whisking until the cheese has completely melted and everything is well combined. Allow to heat through for a minute or two, then switch off the heat.
    1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup cheese, 2 tsp chicken stock, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, Salt and pepper

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Keep Whisking – Our biggest tip when making white sauce is to whisk, whisk, whisk! This will ensure you have that perfectly smooth sauce with no lumpy bits.
  • Storage – White sauce will last for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Extra Creamy – Add a swirl of thickened cream / heavy cream to the finished white sauce and whisk through for an extra creamy sauce. 
  • Other Seasonings – Stir in a splash of Worcestershire sauce or a spoonful of your favourite mustard. You could even flavour it with onion powder, garlic powder or mustard powder, or season with your favourite dried herbs. For something completely different, try seasoning it with cayenne pepper or curry powder!
  • Make it Vegan – Use soy milk, oat milk or almond milk, and olive oil instead of milk and butter. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Basic White Sauce – Quick No Roux Method
Amount per Serving
Calories
438
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
33
g
51
%
Saturated Fat
 
20
g
125
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
8
g
Cholesterol
 
96
mg
32
%
Sodium
 
460
mg
20
%
Potassium
 
319
mg
9
%
Carbohydrates
 
21
g
7
%
Fiber
 
0.5
g
2
%
Sugar
 
9
g
10
%
Protein
 
14
g
28
%
Vitamin A
 
1128
IU
23
%
Vitamin C
 
0.01
mg
0
%
Calcium
 
433
mg
43
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Basic White Sauce - Quick No Roux Method
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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Namate muchula
    09/03/2024 at 3:30 am

    5 stars
    Very delicious 😋😋

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      12/03/2024 at 8:13 am

      Oh thank you!

  • Reply
    Lucretia Borgia
    04/03/2024 at 10:26 pm

    5 stars
    Well did Wandercooks!
    I have only made Bechamel the traditional way before…
    I felt a bit more comfortable sifting the flour on the way in but sure as, the sauce came up beautifully under your direction. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      07/03/2024 at 9:54 am

      Ah fantastic, so happy you enjoyed this alternative method – it certainly is easier!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    01/03/2023 at 2:11 pm

    This recipe for white sauce is a lifesaver! As someone who isn’t the most confident in the kitchen, I appreciate how easy and fuss-free it is to make. Plus, I love how versatile it is and how I can adapt it to suit my tastes. Highly recommend giving this recipe a try!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      02/03/2023 at 5:20 pm

      You’re welcome and thanks for the kind words. 🙂

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    23/02/2023 at 5:15 am

    Nice recipe. Can we freeze pasta with white sauce?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      23/02/2023 at 12:17 pm

      Hey, yes you can. Just pop it in an airtight container, and it’ll be fine for a month or two. We’ve done this heaps when we’ve made it into tuna mornay or a creamy pasta sauce. It reheats great. 🙂

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