Does bechamel have cheese?

This blog will discuss whether or not bechamel has cheese in its ingredients, and how to prepare it. We will also discuss what bechamel sauce can be used for.

Does bechamel have cheese?

Bechamel sauce is a base sauce for other sauces such as Mornay sauce, which is Béchamel with cheese. This means that bechamel, on its own, does not contain any cheese.

Bechamel is a sauce that has both French and Italian roots. It was originally an Italian sauce that was adopted by the French cuisine and then used for a myriad of dishes, including other sauces. It is one of the “5 Mother Sauces” of classical cuisine, which are used to make other “smaller sauces”. 

What can be made from bechamel sauce?

Bechamel is a basic white sauce that can be adapted and modified in any way. Here are some of the meals commonly made with bechamel:

  • To make Croque monsieurs, bechamel sauce is spread on both sides of bread slices and made into a sandwich.
  • You could use it as the creamy white sauce for a classic lasagna.
  •  With the addition of a little cheddar, it can make some amazing mac and cheese.
  • The French use bechamel as a base to make sauces like mornay or nantua or soubise.
  • Add vegetables to bechamel and use it in a fish pie.
  • It is an important base for soufflés.

How do you make bechamel sauce?

It takes a total of three ingredients to make bechamel sauce. To make it, first, add butter to a saucepan and melt. Then add in flour, and stir constantly to create a pasty consistency. Allow the mixture to bubble but do not let it brown, and then add in milk. The sauce will thicken as it cooks, and then add salt and pepper to taste.

A tip for making the sauce as smooth as possible is to add in hot milk so that no lumps form when it combines with the hot butter-flour mixture.

This recipe for bechamel sauce adds the extra ingredient of nutmeg, to add to the aroma and flavor.

What is Mornay sauce?

Mornay sauce is a traditional French sauce made by combining bechamel sauce with any semi-firm kind of cheese. This can be cheddar, parmesan, swiss, or gruyère, which is the most traditional option.

This recipe for Mornay sauce uses parmesan and gruyère cheese and makes bechamel sauce from scratch.

What can you use Mornay sauce for?

Like bechamel sauce, mornay sauce is very versatile and is perfect for making normally bland and boring dishes seem gourmet and luxurious.

It can be poured on top of eggs, chicken, fish, and shellfish. This sauce is also a good contribution to any type of casseroles that need a cheesy touch. Restaurants often use it to make steamed vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower more fancy and decadent. 

And most simply, it can be a dipping sauce offered on the side with any finger food, as a starter or appetizer.

What can you add other than bechamel sauce?

Many people choose to replace bechamel sauce in their cooking for a lot of reasons. Health-conscious people might want to replace it because of its high-calorie count, or its cholesterol level. Because it contains butter and flour, it is not the healthiest sauce to use.

While others might avoid the sauce because of how it tastes, or allergies to any of the ingredients. Bechamel is also not vegan friendly, so there could be many reasons to find something to substitute the sauce. Here are some options:

  • Ricotta cheese melted in milk to provide a creamier, richer, and more velvety flavor.
  • Full fat cream, giving the same creaminess but saving the time to make it.
  • Yogurt gives a healthier alternative while also keeping it light.
  • A vegan and gluten-free alternative is using olive oil, rice flour, and nutmeg to create a variant of bechamel, while still achieving the white sauce look.

Other FAQs about Cheese that you may be interested in.

How to keep the cheese from molding?

How to crumble blue cheese

Can you cook goats cheese


We hope this blog helped answer the question of whether or not bechamel contains cheese, and also how it can be adapted into many other types of sauce.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.