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Simple Cream Bechamel Sauce

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A simple cream bechamel sauce recipe made using only six ingredients and infused with the flavors of rich butter, smooth cream, and aromatic nutmeg.

In our kitchen, we have been making bechamel sauces for a long time. They are the perfect blend of a hearty roux and luscious flavor.

Furthermore, a good bechamel can be the base for a multitude of different dishes.

For example, both our homemade cheese sauce and our cajun alfredo sauce start with bechamel. Once you master this easy sauce, your cooking skills can take flight.

A pasta bowl filled with the bechamel sauce over spaghetti.

The key to a great bechamel is to make sure you don’t break the sauce. If you have read my posts, then you have heard me talk about this a lot.

Breaking the sauce occurs when the mixture is heated to such a high temperature that the fat separates and forms into little globules that stick to your fork. As a result, the bechamel loses its creamy texture and the flavors separate.

Needless to say, it’s pretty unappealing. The best way to keep the pasta sauce from separating is to heat it slowly and keep it moving.

I prefer to use a whisk. You can make faster strokes with your wrist, and the wires break up the flour and butter causing them to blend with the cream and milk.

The finished bechamel sauce served in two large pasta bowls.

Once the bechamel is properly cooked, it will be silky and can be flavored using a variety of spices. Since I had planned on making an alfredo sauce with this base, I chose to only season it with nutmeg.

Which, by the way, made an awesome sauce. It was so good; I prepared some spaghetti noodles for a tasty pasta dish. In closing, this recipe might take some practice to master.

However, just remember, once mastered a great bechamel can be eaten as is or become a vehicle for tons of other recipes, like creamed spinach.

So, I hope you enjoy today’s offering from our kitchen. It is truly a labor of love.

How to Make a Simple Cream Bechamel Sauce:

A simple cream bechamel sauce can be tricky, but it’s certainly not out of anyone’s league to learn. First, in a small stockpot or large saucepan add the butter to melt on low to medium-low heat.

The butter and flour mixture cooking in a medium saucepan.

After the butter has completely melted, add the flour and let the mixture cook for about 1 minute, so the flour taste cooks out. You are creating a roux which will thicken the sauce.

Remember, the longer you cook a roux, the thinner the sauce will become.

For example, gumbo tends to be somewhat thin when compared to a gravy. This because the roux is cooked until it is golden brown.

We are not going for that thin texture. We want a cream sauce.

The roux has cooked and is ready for the liquid.

Next combine the milk, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg with the cooked flour roux. Make sure to stir in each ingredient using a whisk or wooden spoon.

Let the sauce cook for an addition 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat.

As time passes, the sauce will begin to thicken. Do not let it come to a boil or the bechamel will break!

Continue to stir the sauce as it cooks to the desired consistency. If you’re using this recipe as a base for another sauce, like a cheese sauce or alfredo, you may want to remove it from the heat before it becomes completely thick.

The dairy and cheese has been combined in the saucepan.

Any additional cheese will melt and thicken the sauce as well. Just something to keep in mind if this dish is just a base for another recipe.

Once the sauce has reached the thickness, you desire, taste test it and add salt and pepper as needed. I listed the amounts that I use in the recipe, but it’s totally up to you.

The cooked pasta has been tossed with the bechamel sauce.

Now that you have a completed bechamel sauce feel free to serve it over a bed of pasta, use it a dipping sauce, add parmesan cheese to it for an alfredo, use some of it to thicken soups, etc. You get the idea.

All in all, it is a “moderate” level recipe for a beginner cook, but if you can learn it, you will be that much better in the kitchen.  

After you’ve mastered the basic bechamel sauce, you’ll be able to make Smoky Chipotle Chicken Pasta or Baked Macaroni and Cheese with ease.

A close up shot of the pasta dish in a bowl.

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The finished bechamel sauce served in two large pasta bowls.

Simple Cream Bechamel Sauce

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

A simple cream bechamel sauce recipe made using only six ingredients and infused with the flavors of rich butter, smooth cream, and aromatic nutmeg.


  • 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 5 Tablespoons of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup of Milk, (Whole or 2%)
  • 1 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg, (or to taste)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt, (or to taste)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper


  1. In a large sauce pan or small stock pot melt butter on low heat.
  2. Add flour to melted butter and let cook for about 1 minute
  3. To cooked flour mixture, add milk, cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Let simmer on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes while stirring.
  4. When sauce reaches desired thickness, remove from heat and serve over pasta or add use as base thickener for other recipes.
  5. Can be stored in sealed container in refrigerator for up 2 days.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 16gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 826mgCarbohydrates: 8gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g

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Chérie Sullivan

Saturday 24th of October 2020

Can I freeze this sauce and if so how long? Ty!!


Saturday 24th of October 2020

Good Morning Cherie, that's a good question. I wouldn't recommend it. While it shouldn't harm you to properly store it in your freezer for 30 days or so, it will affect the flavor and texture of the sauce (when reheated). Cream based sauces, when frozen, will separate. Once reheated they end up with a bland flavor and a grainy texture. So, in short, yes you can freeze it (for up to 30 days), but it will ruin the sauce when it's reheated. I hope this information helps and Kim and I wish you a lovely day :)

David Sabatelli

Tuesday 18th of April 2017

Thank you for the recipe. I don’t usually make a Bechamel sauce but you convinced me to give it a try.


Wednesday 19th of April 2017

Thank you, David! I am glad you liked the recipe and I hope you get the chance to make it. It's easy once you get a little practice :)

Katie Foley

Monday 6th of February 2017

This sounds super yummy! Do you think the heavy cream could be substituted with something lighter, but still get close to the right taste?


Tuesday 7th of February 2017

Thank you, Katie! You substitute more milk in place of the cream, but you may consider adding a little more flour to the roux. :)