• A rich white sauce made with milk infused with herbs and other flavorings.

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Example Sentences

“The secret to making a hearty homemade mac and cheese is a good béchamel.”

“To pass the class on French sauces, each culinary student had to make a perfect béchamel.”

“Don’t leave the béchamel on the stove for too long; it will burn.”

Word Origin

French, late 18th century

Why this word?

Béchamel — a rich, creamy sauce — gets its name from the Marquis Louis de Béchamel, the steward to King Louis XIV of France, who is said to have invented a similar sauce. It is one of the five French “mother sauces,” which also include velouté, espagnole, hollandaise, and tomato. Master these, and you’ll have the building blocks for countless other sauces. Béchamel is your standard white sauce, made with butter, flour, milk, and seasoning. As basic as the ingredients may seem, the final product can add great depth to a dish. If you leave out the milk from béchamel, you’re essentially left with roux, another culinary staple.

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