Big Batch French Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel custard ingredients for moussaka

A basic french béchamel sauce consists of butter, flour, milk. There is a tried and tested ratio for this sauce that works every time. Understanding the ratio allows you to add your own creativity to the flavour of your sauce. The ratio is 1:1:10. Let’s break that down so that you can understand that in your own kitchen. Use 100g of butter to 100g of flour to 10 parts of milk, which translated to 1l of milk. Simple as that. Now scale that into a big batch of 2L of milk will require 200g butter and 200g flour. Add your salt and pepper and you are done. Its really that simple.


Next up is the technique. You need to cook the flour out of the sauce. To do that start with heating up the butter in a big saucepan. I’m not going to bamboozle you with salted vs. unsalted butter. Let’s use what most people have in their refrigerators and that would be salted butter. There is more water in salted butter, don’t stress about that just carry on as you would if you had unsalted butter. You can correct the seasoning later. Add the flour to the heated butter to create a roux. This is a paste of butter and flour mixed together. The magic of the sauce comes together after the milk is added and whisked together to ensure no lumps form during this process. You can do it in a pan, if you are in a hurry as there is a wider surface area so it definitely comes together faster, but I like to make mine in a big pot, especially since this is big batch French Béchamel Sauce. A pan would be appropriate for a smaller batch. Add your seasoning and you are done.

Once ready cool and pour into ziplock bags for the freezer.

If you decide to make a moussaka, I add 1 egg per 100g of butter along with a few gratings of whole nutmeg. If you feel like a cheesy version add 100g of your choice of cheese. The variations on the basic sauce are absolutely endless. For busy moms who need to hide and disguise vegetables you could add pureed spinach or butternut. Go mad and have fun, just stick to the ratio and you have a winner every time.

Big Batch French Béchamel Sauce


  • 200 g butter
  • 200 g flour
  • 2 l full fat milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

For a Moussaka Béchamel custard

  • 2 ex l eggs
  • grated whole nutmeg or a pinch to taste
  • 200 g Grated cheddar


  • In a large saucepan add the butter and
  • let it melt
  • Add the flour and mix together to ensure no lumps form
  • Add the milk and mix together
  • continue to whisk to ensure no lumps form
  • As the milk heats up the sauce will start to thicken. Check the seasoning. You are done when the sauce is thick and velvety and there is no taste of flour.

For a Moussaka Béchamel custard

  • Once the sauce has thickened, whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, add a few tbls of the heated béchamel sauce to the beaten egg, whisking all the time to ensure the eggs don't turn into scrambled eggs. This is known as tempering the eggs and prevents the entire batch of sauce turning into scrambled eggs.
  • grate in your desired amount of whole nutmeg, I do about 10 scrapes and taste.
  • Add cheese of your choice for the cheesy option. Check the seasoning and adjust to your liking
  • Pour into ziplock bags and freeze until ready to use.


For added flavour and if time allows, infuse the milk with an 1 x onion, 5 peppercorns and whole mace. Mace tastes like nutmeg so this is perfect for a moussaka. 
If you want a brown sauce, stir the butter and flour together until they turn brown, then add the milk.  A béchamel sauce is known as a blonde sauce and the milk is added when the butter and flour are light and blonde in colour. 
Don’t stress if your sauce gets lumpy and you have a stick blender at hand.  As long as the flour is properly cooked out of the sauce, you can blitz the lumps away in no time at all.
To stop a skin from forming on top of the sauce, push a piece of baking paper down onto the sauce. Remove when ready to use and use a spatula to scrape off the excess sauce  from the paper. 
If the skin does form just blitz with a stick blender to get rid of the lumps.  
This sauce freezes well.  When you do defrost it, it may separate a bit, use a whisk to bring it back together again and make it smooth.

Try my re-imagined moussaka, Spinach and Ricotta Bake or Robert Carriers Kitchen Moussaka

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