Fun With White Sauce

All right, calm down. You know me–all flash and no dash. Besides, this is food day on the blog, so this is about, like, recipes and stuff.

White sauce, known to the haute cuisine crowd as béchamel and to the home cookin’ crowd as milk gravy, is versatile and, made properly, um yum. And it’s easy to make, if you do it right. Here’s a recipe to make slightly less than a cup of sauce:


  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk

Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in flour. Return to heat, stirring constantly, until flour and butter are thoroughly combined and cooked–a few minutes. Remove from heat. Add milk, stirring well to blend butter/flour with milk. Return to heat. Increase heat to medium and stir constantly until milk is hot through, thick, glossy and bubbly.

If you want the sauce thinner, use more milk or less butter/flour.

If you try to do this too fast, it’ll be lumpy. Some people want you to heat the milk before you add it, and that does make it happen faster, so do that, if you want to. It’s more important, if you’re making a larger batch of sauce than a smaller batch, obviously.

NOW. What can you do with such a sauce? You use it as one of the sauces in some versions of lasagna. You can use it in place of tomato sauce for a white pizza (topped with white cheeses, diced chicken and bacon). You can begin by frying a little chopped-up sausage meat, draining off most of the grease, and using the grease left in the pan in place of the butter; add lots of black pepper and pour the sausage gravy over split buttermilk biscuits and mmmmmmmm….


WELSH RABBIT (not “rarebit”)

  • White sauce
  • cheddar cheese
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • toast

At the last minute of cooking, stir cheese into white sauce. Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce (some use beer, but why waste good beer by EATING it?). Ladle over toast.

Even better, make a HOT BROWN, which is toast topped with sliced turkey, cooked bacon and sometimes sliced ham (or, if you’re vegetarian, avocado and fresh sweet bell peppers) topped with the Welsh Rabbit sauce.

And then there’s our kids’ favorite, SOS. Charlie says they used to have it in the army where, my grandfather told me when I was young, SOS stood for Same Old Stuff. Charlie disabused me of that misapprehension, but we let it stand with the kids.


  • white sauce
  • chopped meat (we usually used ham, but chipped beef is excellent)
  • toast

Add the cooked chopped meat to the hot sauce and serve over toast.

Or you can make a Dutch Baby or gougeres and serve the hot sauce over that.

So call it what you like, it’s good stuff.

WRITING PROMPT: What does your main character whip up on a cold and snowy day with not many ingredients?



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Fun With White Sauce

  1. Sarah G

    February 2, 2011 at 10:13am

    Grandma Chambers: “When the going gets tough, the tough order Chinese.”

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Gwen Mayo

    February 3, 2011 at 10:00am

    I add sliced, boiled eggs on top of the toast when I make a Welsh Rabbit. Yumm.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 3, 2011 at 3:04pm

      Gwen, that sound delish! I think I know what we’re having for supper tonight…. 😉

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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