White Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • About

    1 cup


Appears in

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1969

  • About

By far the most important sauce in Western cuisine is what is known variously as white sauce, cream sauce, and velouté.

There are only five essentials for making the basic sauce: butter, flour, a liquid, a saucepan, and something to stir with. The best thing to stir with is a wire whisk.

If you will study the following you will know all there is to know about making this sauce.


  • tablespoons butter
  • tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk


  1. For this quantity of sauce use a 3- or 4-cup saucepan. Place it on the stove and add the butter. Heat the butter and when it is melted add the flour. Stir with a wire whisk until the flour is blended.

  2. Add the milk gradually, stirring this way and that with the whisk. The whisk should move all over the bottom and sides of the saucepan. Once the technique of sauce making is learned, it is possible to add the milk all at once, but you must stir vigorously to prevent the sauce from lumping. Stir constantly until the sauce boils. When it boils the sauce is made and it has reached its maximum thickness. At this point the sauce can be used but it will taste better if it is cooked over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes longer. Once cooked, the sauce is ready to be seasoned and combined with other ingredients.