Sauces and Dressings

How To Make Bechamel Sauce Without Butter

How to make Bechamel sauce without butter – it’s creamy, silky smooth and tastes delicious. Use this sauce for many classic comfort food dishes even if you’ve run out of butter.

Bechamel sauce is one of the first, basic sauces most people learn to make when they first start cooking. It’s a base that’s used for many different sauces and recipes and it’s definitely one of the most important sauces to learn how to make. But what if you run out of butter or forget to pick it up from the store? This has happened to me far too often so today I’m showing you how to make bechamel sauce without butter.

Overhead shot of white sauce in a saucepan with a spoon in it - how to make bechamel sauce recipe (no butter)

Ok, so if you love comfort food dishes such as lasagne or macaroni cheese as much as I do then you’ll know how important it is to know how to make a basic bechamel sauce, right?

Bechamel is a base that’s used for a lot of recipes that I personally couldn’t live without. Take pasta bakes, homemade pies or baked cheesy vegetable gratin for example. I don’t know about you but I need those in my life especially at this time of year when it’s all about hearty comfort food.

More Ways To Use Bechamel Sauce

  • Baked cauliflower cheese
  • Macaroni cheese
  • Cheesy leeks
  • Lasagne
  • Cannelloni
  • Souffle (savoury)
  • Croque Madame
  • Mix with vegetables/meat/herbs/spices for hearty homemade pies + more!

There have been many occasions when I’ve forgotten to buy butter and I need to make bechamel sauce. Instead of rushing back out to the shops or changing the meal plan, there is a very simple, easy solution that almost all of you (especially those who love Italian food) will have in your kitchen.

Olive oil

Yes, you can make a silky, smooth, thick and creamy bechamel sauce using olive oil and there’s no compromise on flavour either. It’s that simple!

The Ratios For Making Bechamel Sauce (white sauce)

The basic ratio for making a classic bechamel sauce is 1:1 fat to flour. Choose a fat such as butter or oil and use the same amount of flour to form a thick paste. This recipe uses 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 heaped tablespoon of flour which will thicken around 2 cups/1/2 litre of milk. You can adjust the milk measurements for a thicker or thinner sauce by adding less or more to your liking.

How To Make Bechamel Sauce Without Butter

Add the olive oil to a saucepan and warm it for a couple of seconds before adding the flour (photo 1).

Once the flour has been added mix it together with a whisk or wooden spoon to form a paste and let it cook for one minute (this cooks the flour so you don’t have a floury taste in your sauce) photo 2.

Step by step photos on how to make bechamel sauce

Add a little milk and whisk constantly to remove any lumps. Once it has started to thicken add a little more milk (around 1/4 at a time) until you have used up all the milk (photo 3).

Once it’s thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, take it off the heat and add nutmeg, salt and pepper and cheese if making a cheese sauce (photo 4).

The best cheese to add to bechamel sauce is something that melts well such as parmesan, gruyere, fontina or cheddar.

A close up shot of bechamel sauce in a saucepan with parmesan in background - how to make bechamel sauce recipe

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5 from 6 votes
Print
How to make bechamel sauce without butter
Prep Time
2 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
12 mins
 

How to make Bechamel sauce without butter - it's creamy, silky smooth and so delicious. Use this sauce for many classic comfort food dishes even if you've run out of butter.

Course: sauces and dressings
Cuisine: French
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 700 kcal
Author: Emily Kemp
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaped tbsp flour all-purpose
  • 2 cups (500ml) full fat milk
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg grated
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tbsp parmesan grated (optional)
  • 2.8 oz (80g) gruyere cheese grated (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add the olive oil to a saucepan and warm it for a couple of seconds before adding the flour.
  2. Once the flour has been added mix it together with a whisk or wooden spoon to form a paste and let it cook for one minute (this cooks the flour so you don't have a floury taste in your sauce).
  3. Add 1/4 of the milk and whisk constantly to remove any lumps. Once it has started to thicken add a little more milk (around 1/4 at a time) until you have used up all the milk.
  4. Continue to heat the sauce whilst stirring until thick. Once it's thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, take it off the heat and add nutmeg, salt and pepper and cheese if making a cheese sauce.
  5. If making a cheese sauce stir the sauce until the cheese has melted. You may need to put it back on the heat for a few seconds. If it thickens too much add another splash of milk.

Recipe Notes
  • The best cheese to add to bechamel sauce is something that melts well such as parmesan, gruyere, fontina or cheddar.
  • Cals 388 without cheese 700 with cheese

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    linda
    November 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Good to know! Lovely sauce and so versatile!

  • Reply
    Deanna
    November 1, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    I love this!! I never made a bechamel sauce, I really didn’t know how.. Now I have a resource!!!

  • Reply
    Diana
    November 1, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve tried making it with olive oil before, but I prefer the taste of the butter to be honest. it’s still a great alternative to people that don’t want to use butter.

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      November 1, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Definitely, if you run out of butter then this is a perfect alternative. I really love it either way.

  • Reply
    Andrea @ Cooking with Mamma C
    October 31, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    I love cheese sauce, and yours looks delicious! I haven’t had Gruyere in a long time, and now I’m craving it.

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      November 1, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      Gruyere is the so, so good in cheese sauce it melts perfectly and doesn’t lose any flavour (can you tell I love cheese haha). Thanks Andre!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth | The Recipe Revival
    October 31, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    This looks yummy! I could totally slather it on anything and everything! 🙂

  • Reply
    Tina Lindquist
    October 31, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Oh these are great tips, it’s true I do run out of butter sometimes. Thanks for the sauce ideas:)

  • Reply
    Kate
    October 31, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    This is so great. It looks very similar to a version with butter!

  • Reply
    Dannii
    October 31, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Oh I’m definitely going to use this recipe, as we use this sauce in a lot of recipes and it’s nice to have a butter free option.

  • Leave a Reply

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