This creamy gluten free bechamel sauce is a breeze to make. You only need three ingredients and it takes less than 10 minutes.
This gluten free bechamel sauce recipe is simple and delicious! It's creamy and smooth like a traditional bechamel, plus it's super forgiving to make. Too thick? Whisk in a little milk. Too thin? Cook it longer.
What is bechamel sauce?
Bechamel sauce is one of the five mother sauces of French cuisine. What is a mother sauce, you ask? A mother sauce is like a building block, when you add more ingredients it becomes a new sauce. It acts as a base for secondary sauces. For example, if you add cheese to bechamel, it becomes a cheese sauce!
Bechamel is made from a roux (equal parts flour and butter) that's cooked with milk to make a creamy and smooth white sauce! The roux effectively thickens the milk until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It's then used to make mornay sauce, macaroni and cheese, gratins, and moussaka.
Since one of the main ingredients of bechamel is flour, it's not naturally gluten-free. It's easy to make bechamel gluten free though! Here's what you need:
Unsalted butter - Fat keeps the sauce silky smooth, without any lumps. Butter has the best flavor, but if you can't have butter or dairy, olive oil is a good swap. I use unsalted butter so I can control the quality and amount of salt in the sauce.
Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour - I recommend Bob's Red Mill's 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour because it's what I used to test this recipe. All gluten-free flour blends have different ratios and ingredients to them, so results may vary if you use a different brand.
Whole milk - It wouldn't really be a sauce without the milk! I use whole milk, but 2 percent milk works fine too. If you're dairy-free, use your favorite non-dairy milk in its place.
Kosher salt - Don't forget to season the white sauce with salt or it will taste bland! Fat needs salt to taste flavorful.
Black pepper & nutmeg - Both of these spices give the sauce some extra oomph and depth. Optional, but recommended!
How to make gluten free bechamel
Gluten free white sauce is a forgiving sauce to make, which just means it's easy to fix! Here's how to do it:
Melt the butter - In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, completely melt the butter. If you double the recipe, use a medium saucepan instead.
Add the gluten-free flour - Add the gluten free flour to the melted butter and stir with a whisk.
Cook the roux - Cook the butter mixture, continuously whisking, for 2 minutes. It cooks the raw taste out of the flour, so it won't have a mealy texture in the end.
Gradually add the milk - Add ½ cup of the milk while you whisk. Adding the milk in stages prevents the mixture from getting lumpy.
Add more milk - Repeat with the remaining milk until it's all gone, ½ cup at a time. Whisk continuously until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the kosher salt, black pepper, and nutmeg.
Use in all your favorite gluten-free recipes - Pour the sauce onto veggies or potatoes and bake, or make it into a cheese sauce! The opportunities are endless for this gluten free white sauce.
- Bechamel thickens as it cools. If it seems a little thin, just remember it thickens as it cools down. If it's thick when it's hot, it will be even thicker when it's warm.
- Don't dump the milk in all at once. If you dump all the milk in at once, you may end up with a lumpy sauce! Gradually whisk it into the roux, making sure its smooth before you add more.
- Consistency is a more of a preference thing. If you want the bechamel thick or spreadable, cook it longer. If you want it thin with a drizzle consistency, cook it less time.
- It's forgiving and easy to fix! If you made it too thick, whisk in a splash of milk. If it's too thin, continue cooking and whisking. It will thicken up.
- Cheese sauce - You can use it as the base of a gluten-free cheese sauce. Cook the sauce until it just coats the back of a spoon, then add 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese. Try gruyere, cheddar, Monterey jack or a combination!
- Classic lasagna - Use the bechamel to make a classic lasagna with gluten-free lasagna noodles!
- Herbs - Add fresh herbs! Try chives, parsley, or rosemary.
- Gluten-free mornay sauce - Add an ounce each of shredded parmesan and gruyere! Drizzle over fish or roasted vegetables.
Store leftover gluten free bechamel in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop in a saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking continuously.
Yes, traditionally bechamel sauce contains three ingredients: flour, butter, and milk. The flour and butter are cooked to make a roux to thicken the milk and make a sauce. Any sauce or soup made with a roux contains flour.
I don't recommend it. I've found better success making a smooth sauce with gluten-free all-purpose flour.
More Gluten Free Recipes
Gluten Free Bechamel Sauce
- 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour I recommend Bob's Red Mill's 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour
- 1½ cups whole milk
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat until completely melted.
- Add the gluten free flour and whisk until smooth. Stir and cook the mixture for 2 minutes.
- Heat the milk in the microwave or in another saucepan until hot, but not boiling. Carefully pour ½ cup of the milk into the butter mixture, whisking to avoid lumps.
- Pour another ½ cup of the milk into the pan, stirring continuously. Add the last ½ cup of milk, and stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
- If the bechamel is too thin, cook it a little longer. Bechamel thickens as it cools. It should be smooth and velvety. If you could it too long and it becomes too thick, stir in a splash of milk to thin it out.