Is There a Substitute for Bechamel Sauce?

Are you looking for a substitute for bechamel sauce?

Bechamel sauce is a classic white sauce with butter, flour, and milk. You can use it in dishes like macaroni, cheese, lasagna, and moussaka. But what do you do if you’re out of bechamel sauce?

There are plenty of substitutes for bechamel sauce that will help you create your favorite recipes without any fuss. Scroll down to learn more.

bechamel sauce

What is Bechamel Sauce?

The first thing you need to know about bechamel is that it’s a “mother sauce,” as the name suggests. One of the foundational elements of traditional French cuisine is a mother sauce, which serves as a base for other sauces. There are five mother sauces, and béchamel may be our favorite.

In its most basic form, the ingredients in bechamel include; milk, a little spice, and a mixture of butter, flour, and roux, heated together. The outcome is a smooth cream sauce that may be consumed on its own or as the foundation for various sauces.

How to Make the Best Bechamel Sauce

  1. Always use plenty of butter to coat the flour and prevent lumps from forming. However, if you use too much fat, the sauce will split. If this occurs, make a slurry of milk and flour, whisk it into the sauce, and continue to cook until smooth.
  2. Using warm milk prevents the formation of lumps, resulting in a silky smooth sauce.
  3. Always keep your whisk handy. A wooden spoon is acceptable (especially after adding the cheese), but a whisk makes quick work of lumps and ensures an even distribution of the spices. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to ensure that everything is well combined. Remove the pot from heat, and add cheese if you’re making a cheese sauce out of your bechamel. If the sauce boils after adding the cheese, the cheese will split, and your sauce will become grainy.
  4. What should I do if my sauce remains lumpy? If you still have lumpy sauce after whisking, use a stick blender or transfer the sauce to a regular blender and blend away. We’ve all had kitchen mishaps, and what’s the point of having fancy gadgets if we don’t use them? Nobody will notice that your sauce did not begin as smooth as silk. 

How to Make Bechamel Sauce

Every home cook should be able to make a classic bechamel or bechamel cheese sauce. It’s simple to make and one of the most versatile sauces to use in the kitchen. Follow our guide below for the recipe for bechamel sauce to make that sumptuous sauce!

Bechamel Sauce

Time: 25 minutes

Serving Size: 4 people

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Nutritional Facts/Info per serving/in total:

Calories: 105 

Total fat: 0.25 ounces (7 grams)

Saturated fat: 0.08 ounces (2.2 grams)

Cholesterol: 8 milligrams (0.008 grams)

Sodium: 328 milligrams (0.328 grams)

Potassium: 163 milligrams (0.123 grams)

Total Carbohydrate: 0.246 ounces (7 grams)

Dietary fiber: 0.003 ounces (0.1 grams)

Sugar: 0.17 ounces (4.8 grams)

Protein: 0.14 ounces (3.8 grams)

Equipment Needed

  1. Microwave
  2. Pot
  3. Saucepan
  4. Whisk
  5. Spatula
  6. Wooden spoon


  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces [85.05 grams]) of unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons (1.85 ounces [52.5 grams]) flour
  • 2 cups (473.18 milliliters [0.47 liters]) milk


  1. Warm the milk with a microwave or a pot after measuring it out. Butter should be measured into a pan and melted over medium heat while the milk is boiling. Aim to prevent the butter from turning brown by keeping a close eye on it.
  2. Over medium heat, whisk or stir the flour into the butter for 4 to 7 minutes. The result is the roux. Be mindful that when you make a white sauce, you are not attempting to produce a Cajun-style roux that is black in color and nutty in flavor. Just barely cooking the flour will produce a “golden” or blond roux, which is all that is required.
  3. Start by gradually adding no more than a few tablespoons of milk. The roux should become just a tiny bit moist. Cook for another minute or so while stirring, and add the remaining milk while whisking continuously. You don’t want a lumpy sauce, so be careful to whisk at an excellent rate to avoid clumps.

If you follow these instructions, you will have a beautiful, creamy mixture that you can use as a foundation for various recipes. You may use it as it is or add cheese and salt to taste for a spaghetti sauce.

Is There a Substitute for Bechamel Sauce?

Yes, there are five alternatives for bechamel sauce, and we shall look at how you can replace them. Below are the five substitutes for bechamel sauce:

  • Baked pasta
  • Cream
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Rice milk
  • Yogurt

How to Replace Bechamel in Baked Pasta

You can also use baked pasta in place of bechamel sauce. You can make baked pasta in 50 minutes and use it in place of the bechamel sauce.

How to Substitute Cream for Bechamel

You can also substitute cream for the bechamel sauce. Using cream is an excellent solution. Although cream has a more neutral flavor than bechamel, it binds the flavors and is just as soft and velvety. It is also smooth, similar to the bechamel sauce. You can also use this solution in savory pies or crepes.

How to Use Ricotta Cheese in Place of Bechamel

You can substitute ricotta cheese if you want to use bechamel sauce for the flavor and not because of intolerances. The recommendation is to emulsify the ricotta with a bit of milk to increase its softness and make the mixture equally velvety. As a result, the cream is more delicate on the palate but equally delicious.

How to Make a Bechamel Sauce with Rice Milk

This is the best substitute for this white french sauce for those who avoid dairy products due to intolerances or lifestyle choices. This option is vegan and gluten-free. Even if you don’t like the taste of rice milk, try this vegan and gluten-free alternative because it takes on a completely different texture and flavor note. 

The secret ingredient in the recipe I’m about to recommend is olive oil flavored with nutmeg. You can combine the need to avoid dairy products with the need to avoid gluten by substituting rice flour for traditional flour.

How to Substitute Yogurt for Bechamel

Yogurt is creamy, with a soft, smooth texture and a natural flavor.

A little-known fact is that there are recipes on the internet in which yogurt replaces the traditional sauce for lasagna and baked pasta. 

You may find it strange that the acidic flavor of yogurt can mimic the delicate flavor of béchamel, but this version is much lighter. To stay fit, follow these simple steps for a light, super-fast, butter-free yogurt alternative.


Mistakes to avoid when making Bechamel Sauce

Béchamel may be the most versatile mother sauce — that category of sauces that serves as the foundation of traditional French cooking — of all time. It’s a gravy or a binder for casseroles, cheese sauces, and soufflés made with milk, butter, and flour. 

And while it is arguably the most straightforward mother sauce to master, it is often the most reviled, being hastily made and resulting in lumpiness.

You can’t hide those errors with all the cheese in the world, so let’s do it right the first time. You can make silky-smooth béchamel every time by avoiding a few mistakes and following these five simple tips.

  1. Using the incorrect ratio: Do you frequently eyeball your roux by sprinkling a dab of butter and a few spoonfuls of flour into the pan? Generally, it works fine, but guesstimating frequently results in too-thick or too-thin sauce. For the roux, 2 ounces (56.69 grams) of fat (butter, ghee, coconut oil) to 3 ounces (85.04 grams) of all-purpose flour is the primary ratio for a classic bechamel. This roux ratio will thicken a quart of milk, but you can use less milk to make a thicker sauce.
  2. Not cooking your roux for the proper amount of time: Roux is a deceptively tricky dish to prepare. It has lost some of its thickening ability when it reaches the brown stage and will require more to thicken a sauce. For a béchamel, on the other hand, you need a white roux that has been cooked just long enough not to taste like raw flour. 

As a starting point, pay close attention to the cook times listed on a recipe, then rely on sight and taste for the best results. Cook the roux for at least five minutes until it appears dry and smells nutty. You can also try it around that time. It should have no “cereal” or r

  1. Using cold milk: You can make bechamel with cold milk, but it will be messier and take longer to cook. Cold milk combined with hot roux results in more splattering and spurting than frying chicken (and even more cleanup!).

Warm your milk in the microwave for one to two minutes. A glass measuring cup with a spout is ideal for warming and pouring.

  1. Putting in all of the milk at once: The quickest way to Lump City is to add all of the milk to your roux at once. The milk will “shock” the roux into clumping, and you’ll have difficulty whisking those lumps out.

Add a quarter of the warm milk and whisk vigorously to loosen the roux and remove any lumps before gradually adding the remaining milk.

  1. You didn’t cook it long enough: Bechamel requires more than a gentle simmer and constant whisking to reach the desired thickness.

When you finish cooking your bechamel sauce, you can tell; A properly thickened roux should “coat the back of the spoon,” which means you should dip your spoon into the béchamel and then run your finger through the coated spoon. Is the sauce wiped clean, leaving an open space? Then your béchamel is ready for seasoning or cheese too.

What is Bechamel Sauce Used for?

Bechamel sauce, one of the most famous French sauces and one of the five mother sauces, is a common ingredient in many dishes. It is so versatile that you can use it to make soups, pasta dishes, casseroles, and even desserts!

Here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate bechamel sauce into a variety of dishes:

  • Lasagna
  • Cassoulet with creamed spinach
  • Pasta with cheese
  • Scalloped potatoes   
  • Shrimp scampi pasta
  • Pie with fish

A good béchamel sauce has the magical ability to elevate a dish. After you’ve made the béchamel, you can add grated cheese to make an oh-so-creamy mac and cheese, or use the sauce as the star of good cauliflower cheese.

Adding cheese or seasonings, you can use bechamel as a base for other sauces such as Mornay or mustard. 

You can also use it to make more complex sauces, such as soubise (onion-flavored), crème (thickened with egg yolks), or Nantua (with crayfish butter). Most people use it as a base for soups like onion soup gratinée and leek and potato soup.

You can use béchamel in various casseroles, including lasagna, macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes, chicken divan, soups, and other sauces. You can also use bechamel in a variety of quiches and savory pies.

Béchamel sauce is one of the five mother sauces in French cuisine, and it serves as the foundation for other sauces (including Mornay sauce), soups, gratins, and casseroles. It is typically made by melting butter, making a roux with flour, and then cooking with milk.

Traditionally, you can serve bechamel sauce with white asparagus and potatoes. It’s excellent in lasagne and Greek pastitsio. You’ll find it commonly used on baked meatballs in Greece (keftedes). It is a critical ingredient in Neapolitan ragù in Italy. In Poland, the dish is known as placki ziemniaczane (“potato pancakes”), served with cheese or ketchup as a topping.

A teaspoon of dry mustard added to the flour mixture yields a divine mustard sauce that any fish or chicken dish would be proud to call its companion. Cooking béchamel sauce with chopped onions yields soubise sauce, which goes well with pasta, pork, and lamb. 

You can use it as a layer to make lasagna creamier if you leave it plain or infuse it with nutmeg, as Epicurious suggests. Combined with crumbled sausage, it transforms into a Southern classic: biscuits and gravy.

The best thing about béchamel is that it is a forgiving sauce that does not separate when reheated. Bechamel is the ultimate starter sauce, whether you add cheese or simply thyme, nutmeg, or a bay leaf.

You can use bechamel to thicken and bind ingredients in quiches and gratins. Some restaurants use bechamel to give cream-based soups body. You can also use the sauce for cooking vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower. It can also be used as the foundation for croquettes.

But all you need to know is that you have a versatile, creamy white sauce that you can use to produce whatever flavor you want. You can top it with herbs, cheese, lemon zest, or chile powder. You can go in any direction you want; that is the beauty of bechamel sauce.

Reasons for Replacing Bechamel

This sauce isn’t exactly light! For starters, it can be problematic for people who have high cholesterol. Furthermore, because butter contains many saturated and unsaturated fats, the caloric intake is not among the lowest.

Not to mention that more and more people in our society are choosing to eat vegan to live with respect for all animal species. Vegans must refrain from consuming milk and dairy products.

Bechamel can also be a problem if we have a guest with specific intolerances or, even worse, if a family member has an allergy. Don’t forget about those who dislike the taste of this sauce.

Is Bechamel Sauce Unhealthy?

Excessive consumption of bechamel sauce can be harmful. Between 70 and 100 calories per 100 grams (3.53 ounces), the bechamel sauce with skimmed milk hides its game quite well. The sauce is low in calories, but we tend to use a lot of it to baste our dishes!

How to Store Bechamel Sauce

  • You can keep the bechamel sauce in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • To store bechamel sauce in the refrigerator, place it in an airtight container and place it in the fridge.
  • If you want to keep bechamel sauce for a more extended period, you can freeze it.
  • Place the sauce in a zip lock bag to freeze.
  • Label it with the date and place it in the freezer.
  • Put the sauce in the fridge overnight to defrost before whipping it into the saucepan.
Bechamel sauce in a pan

That’s a Wrap

Bechamel sauce is a classic French sauce that has been around for centuries. It’s a versatile and delicious sauce you can use in many dishes.

While it is high in calories and fat, you can use less or substitute it with a healthier option—many bechamel sauce substitutes, including cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and even mayonnaise. So, if you’re looking for a healthier option or you have dietary restrictions, there are plenty of substitutes for the bechamel sauce. Give them a try in your next dish!