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Basic recipes with variations that everyone should know because they’re always part of other recipes, as toppings or as binders for the fillings. And if you follow me, then you know I use them often, so I’d like to make it simple enough to remember without having to look up the recipe all the time and without explaining it (and retyping it) over and over again, every time I use them here.

A béchamel or white sauce begins with just a “roux” or equal volumes (not equal weights) of butter and flour that are heated into a paste and into which you slowly incorporate the milk to thicken it, while continuously whisking. One and a half tablespoons of each (flour and butter) per cup of milk, is customary.

A mornay sauce is a béchamel sauce with the addition of eggs or just egg yolks and grated cheeses, incorporated just at the end, while the béchamel is still warm and whisked until smooth. One quarter cup of each per cup of milk used is customary too.

A velouté sauce can be without milk with just meat stock or vegetable broth, or my preference, which is half milk and half vegetable broth and/or meat stock. You just replace half the milk with broth or stock.

The liquid doesn’t always have to be just milk (whole milk preferably) because I like using evaporated milk too which is a bit tastier. I sometimes substitute half the total milk with vegetable broth and/or meat stocks too because it works with the recipe I’m preparing and adds more flavor to the final preparation and also allows you to use those extra bones and vegetable cuttings too, to prepare the broth or stock and reincorporate it all right back into the creamy preparation.

For each 1 cup of liquid (240 ml in North America or 250 ml in Europe), you will need at least 1 ½ tbsp of butter (oil works too) and 1 ½ tbsp of flour. Flour weighs half as much as butter so it’s almost double the weight in butter as compared to the flour. 

It’s not rocket science either so if you prefer to remember approximate weights versus accurate measured weights then you can just round it off and use 50 grams of butter with 25 grams of flour for each 2 cups of liquids whether whole milk, evaporated milk and/or vegetable broth and/or meat stock.

All flavorings are up to you. I always use a bay leaf and simmer it in the milk at the beginning but you can add ground spices, salt, pepper, nutmeg, whatever, just at the end but be careful when adding cheeses that are salty so adjust the salt after the addition of cheeses. And you add eggs or just yolks and cheeses at the end only and how thick you need it to be is up to you and depending on the use, as is shown in the last 2 pics, from a thinner sauce to a thicker one.

There you go ! Easy enough, right ? … :)

béchamel & mornay & velouté sauces


approximately 2 cups


simple béchamel sauce :

  • 500 ml (2 cups) whole milk (or a mix with 250 ml (1 cup) evaporated milk)
  • 44 grams (3 tbsp) butter
  • 23 grams (3 tbsp) flour
  • optional : 1 bay leaf
  • 2,5 grams (½ tsp) salt
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) pepper
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) spices (such as nutmeg, allspice, etc.)

mornay sauce :

  • same as above but at the end, after thickening, add 60 grams (¼ cup or 1 whole) egg or 60 grams (¼ cup or 3 whole) egg yolks and 30 grams (¼ cup) up to 60 grams (½ cup) grated cheeses

velouté sauce :

  • similar to a simple béchamel sauce but replace 250 ml (1 cup) milk with 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable broth or meat stock such as chicken, beef, fish or seafood


  • in a medium casserole, gently heat the milk (or milk combinations with evaporated milk or vegetable broth or meat stock) to a simmer with the flavorings (if using) that will be removed before thickening it with the roux (butter and flour mixture), such as bay leaves, allspice peppercorns, cinnamon stick, etc., depending on your preparation and if using
  • in a small casserole, melt the butter over medium-high heat until bubbling but not browning, add the flour and whisk to form a paste and continue cooking and whisking for 1 minute until theraw flour scent is gone
  • remove the casserole from the heat source and slowly add the milk in a steady stream or ½ cup at a time, whisking thoroughly and using a wooden spoon too the scrape the bottom corners and place back onto the heat and continue whisking until the sauce comes to a simmer and begins to thicken slightly
  • reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking and whisking until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (about 3-4 minutes) or thicker if that is what you need (and if it won’t be re-baked a second time if used in another oven-baked preparation such as lasagnas, moussaka, quiches, etc.)
  • add the salt and pepper and any additional ground spices (if using) and adjust to your taste
  • if using added eggs (or just egg yolks) and cheeses, add them to the warm mixture, away from the heat and stir and whisk until well-combined and smooth
  • use immediately or let cool down and transfer to a sealed container or jar and/or cover the top surface with plastic wrap to avoid the formation of a skin on top
  • *note : if any lumps form, simply whisk thoroughly to remove them or use a hand blender orsmall food-processor, but some small lumps are to be expected if using grated cheeses …