Béchamel sauce

Bechamel sauce (/ˌbʃəˈmɛl/ French: [beʃamɛl]) is a sauce traditionally made from a white roux (butter and flour in a 1:1 mixture by weight) and milk.[1] Bechamel may also be referred to as besciamella (Italy),[2] besamel (Greece),[3] or white sauce (U.S.).[4] French, Italian and Greek bechamel sauce recipes include salt and nutmeg as a seasoning base.[5][6][7]

Bechamel sauce
Alternative nameswhite sauce, besciamella, besamel
Main ingredientsButter, flour, milk
VariationsMornay sauce

Bechamel sauce is one of the "mother sauces" of French cuisine.


Milk infusing with bay leaf, peppercorns, shallot and flat-leaf parsley prior to being added to the roux

The first recipe of a sauce similar to bechamel is in the book Le cuisinier françois by François Pierre de La Varenne in 1651, made with a roux, as in modern recipes.[8] The name of the sauce was given in honour of Louis de Béchameil, a financier who held the honorary post of chief steward to King Louis XIV of France in the 17th century.

The first named béchamel sauce appears in The Modern Cook, written by Vincent La Chapelle and published in 1733,[9] in which the following recipe for "Turbots (a la Bechameille)" appears:

Take some Parsley and Chibbol,[10] and mince them very small, put in a Saucepan a good lump of Butter, with your Parsley and Chibbol, and some minced Shallots, season'd with Salt and Pepper, some Nutmeg, and a dust of Flour: Take a Turbot boil'd in Court Bouillon, take it off by pieces and put it into your Stew-pan: put in a little Cream, Milk, or a little Water, put it over the Fire, and stir it now and then, that your Sauce may thicken; then let it be of a good Taste, dish it up, and serve it up hot for a first Course.[11]

There are many legends regarding the origin of bechamel sauce. For example, it is said that it was created in Tuscany under the name "Salsa Colla" and brought to France with Catherine de Medici but this sauce was totally different from modern bechamel sauce.


Béchamel can be used as is in dishes such as lasagne al forno (Italian),[12] moussaka (Greek),[13] canelones (Catalan) [14] or as the base for other sauces such as Mornay, which is béchamel with cheese.[15] Béchamel is also used in the Greek dish pastitsio.[16]

See also


  1. "How to Make Bechamel Sauce". escoffieronline.com. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  2. Farideh Sadeghin (7 January 2008). "Besciamella (Italian-Style Béchamel Sauce)". saveur.com. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  3. Nancy Gaifyllia (27 March 2020). "A Basic Greek Besamel (Bechamel)". thespruceeats.com. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  4. Durand, Faith (2010-11-10). "How To Make a Béchamel Sauce (White Sauce)". Kitchn. AT Media. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  5. "Sauce béchamel par Alain Ducasse". L'Académie du Goût (in French). Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  6. "Besciamella". Ricette di cucina - Le Ricette di GialloZafferano.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  7. "Μπεσαμέλ (σάλτσα Μορνέ)". Άκης Πετρετζίκης. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  8. texte, La Varenne (1618-1678) Auteur du (1651). Le cuisinier françois , enseignant la manière de bien apprester et assaisonner toutes sortes de viandes... légumes,... par le sieur de La Varenne,...
  9. Kurlansky, Mark (8 May 2018). Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 9781632863843.
  10. "Oxford English Dictionary: chibol, n."{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. La Chappelle, Vincent (1733). The modern cook: containing instructions for preparing and ordering publick entertainments for the tables of princes, ambassadors, noblemen, and magistrates. As also the least expensive methods of providing for private families, in a very elegant manner. New receipts for dressing of meat, fowl, and fish; and making ragoûts fricassées, and pastry of all sorts, in a method, never before publish'd. Adorn'd with copperplates, exhibiting the order of placing the different dishes, &c. on the table, in the most polite way. London: T. Osborne. p. 138.
  12. Jacqui Debono (27 February 2018). "Classic Lasagne al Forno with Bolognese". the-pasta-project.com. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  13. Eli K. Giannopoulos (14 May 2013). "Traditional Greek Moussaka recipe (Moussaka with Béchamel)". mygreekdish.com. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  14. https://www.littlespain.com/news-item/canelones-de-san-esteban/n
  15. Delmy Dauenhauer, 10 Ways to Use Béchamel Sauce, London : SamEnrico, 2015, ISBN 9781505738384.
  16. Mannering, Sam (21 August 2022). "You should make pastitsio - a kind of Greek lasagne - tonight". Stuff. Retrieved 14 September 2022. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top of the beef, followed by the rest of the pasta, pressing it slightly into the bechamel.
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