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Basic White Sauce

15 mins

1 cup

What you are creating

Before I dive into the white sauce recipe, I’ve often been asked, what’s best, cornstarch or flour? Both have their benefits.

​Cornstarch is easy to use and doesn’t clump when it hits the hot liquid. It’s best to use in medium or thin sauces. If you use larger amounts of cornstarch, you’ll end up with a gel-like consistency.

​With flour, you run the risk of lumps. However, the sauce is creamier in consistency. If you’re making a thick white sauce, flour is your best choice.


  1. Melt butter in sauce pan on low heat.

  2. Blend in flour, salt and pepper.

  3. Cook until mixture is smooth and bubbly.

  4. Remove from heat.

  5. Stir in milk.

  6. Place back on burner over medium heat and cook to boiling. Use a whisk and stir constantly.

  7. Boil for 1 minute.

  8. Remove from heat.

Additional Variations:

Medium White Sauce with Cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • ¼ cup cold water

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 cup milk

  • Salt and pepper to taste


Thin White Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • ½ to 1 tablespoon flour

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • Dash of pepper

  • 1 cup milk (whole, low fat or skim)

Medium White Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons flour

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • Dash of pepper

  • 1 cup milk (whole, low fat or skim)

Thick White Sauce Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup butter

  • ¼ cup flour

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • Dash of pepper

  • 1 cup milk (whole, low fat or skim)

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A note about ingredients used in our recipes:

When creating our recipes we use the following unless otherwise noted in the recipe:

  • Eggs = Large Eggs

  • All Purpose Flour = Unbleached All Purpose King Arthur Flour or Unbleached All Purpose King Arthur Flour Organic

  • Bread Flour = Unbleached King Arthur Bread Flour or Unbleached King Arthur Bread Flour Organic

  • Whole Wheat Flour = 100% Whole Grain King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour

  • Pastry Flour = Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White Fine Pastry Flour 

  • Almond Flour = Bob’s Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour 

  • Tapioca Flour = Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour (Tapioca Starch)

  • Sour Cream = Full Fat Sour Cream

  • Yogurt = Full Fat Yogurt

  • Milk = As indicated or if Milk is just listed you may use 1%, 2% or Whole Milk

  • Butter = Unsalted Sweet Cream butter unless otherwise noted

  • Oil = Either Olive oil or Vegetable oil unless otherwise noted


Basic White Sauce, White Sauce, White Sauce Recipes



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