This Gluten-Free Bechamel Sauce recipe can be made with or without dairy, and it always comes out beautifully.
– Updated May 2021 –
Bechamel (it’s actually Béchamel, but who really uses that?) is one of the five “mother sauces” of French cuisine. When I first went gluten-free, I swear it was in every damn recipe I was trying to convert. It’s really just a creamy white sauce that can be used as a base for all kinds of things. It’s layered in lasagna, macaroni and cheese, creamy soups – you get the drift.
I usually use my favorite gluten-free flour blend to make it, along with butter or olive oil and unsweetened coconut milk, because that’s what we always have on hand. You’ll notice I use a little less olive oil when I make it dairy-free. That’s because the consistency is different than butter. I’ve found that olive oil works better than coconut oil in a dairy-free version of this recipe.
So, what should you use your gluten-free Bechamel on?
While “everything” probably isn’t a reasonable answer, it’s pretty close. You can make the Pioneer Woman’s Mac & Cheese, using this sauce and some GF elbow noodles (I like Pamela’s or Jovial for dried, Manini’s for fresh). You can recreate Ina Garten’s Cauliflower Gratin or make my gluten-free Cauliflower in Béchamel. And who doesn’t want their cauliflower dressed up in Ina’s creamy cheese sauce? It’s the base for Nigella Lawson’s “Big Pasta” with Mushroom, Garlic, Parsley and Thyme, and if there was anything besides the word “Nigella” that makes me want to try a recipe, “Big Pasta” is probably it.
Bechamel is also the key to my White Lasagna. It’s loaded with mushrooms, spinach and artichokes, and it is next-level, no I’m not kidding, tell red sauce to take a backseat, all-the-way good.
The recipe fills an 8×8 baking dish, but you’ll wish you made a double batch. So go ahead and double it up. Promise. You might want to make one to freeze for later too.
OK, I think you’re ready. Give this Gluten-Free Bechamel Sauce recipe a try, and let me know what you think. Martha Stewart’s Croque Madame recipe better watch out, because here you come!
You may also want to check out my post & video on How to Make Gluten-Free Roux. Because that gravy ain’t gonna thicken itself, folks.
Gluten-Free Bechamel Sauce
- 5 tablespoons butter -OR- 4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons Gluten-Free Flour blend -OR- 2 tablespoons rice flour + 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 4 cups milk dairy, unflavored coconut or unflavored almond
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted (or warm oil). Add the gluten-free flour and whisk until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the flour mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.
Gluten-Free Baked Macaroni & Cheese, we’re ready.
Frequently Asked Questions about Gluten-Free Béchamel:
Yes! Béchamel is the French name for white sauce. This gluten-free version can be used as in all bechamel or white sauce applications, including as a base for sauces, gravy, or to coat pasta.
No, unless you make it that way! Most white sauce at restaurants is made with traditional/conventional flour.
Yes, but not if you want to use a traditional bechamel recipe or you want the standard consistency for the sauce. The best option is using a GF flour blend with the fat + milk ratios listed here.
Yes! You can make gluten-free roux with a GF flour blend and butter or olive oil, use our Gluten-Free Roux recipe to see how.
Our gluten-free recipe offers a version using olive oil for the fat and unsweetened coconut milk. Be sure to adjust the fat measurements when using olive oil in place of butter.