Onion Pique Béchamel Sauce Recipe

Alright, a couple things to unpack here. First, what's a pique? It's really just a halved onion with a bay leaf secured to it with a couple of whole cloves. It adds a touch of flavor and — let's be honest — it looks really cool. Next, what's béchamel? That's a rich, creamy, buttery sauce — one of the mother sauces in French cuisine, in fact — that's superb on pasta, over roast chicken, in soups, and more.

Now, put them together, and you get onion pique béchamel, of course! To help you understand the wonderful thing that said sauce really is, recipe developer Susan Olayinka of The Flexible Fridge says, "This sauce is rich and creamy, with a slight onion flavor. It's the perfect accompaniment to many different dishes." And depending on what dishes you're planning for dinner, she adds, "there are so many variations of this sauce! Try adding in different herbs or spices. You could also add in some shredded cheese, diced cooked bacon, or sautéed mushrooms. Get creative and make it your own!"

But first, let's make it!

Gather your ingredients for onion pique béchamel

To make this rich sauce, you'll need whole cloves, a bay leaf, half an onion, butter, all-purpose flour, milk, and salt. While a traditional béchamel is just flour, butter, and milk, those added ingredients elevate something familiar into something that, as Olayinka says, "feels much more gourmet than it actually is." As an added bonus, you get onion flavor without having to chop any onions!

Prepare the onion pique

To make an onion pique, simply slice the onion in half and remove the papery outer layers from the half you'll be using. Then anchor the bay leaf to the onion by piercing it with both whole cloves. And that's it! You now know a technique that can be used in soups, broths, sauces, and much more.

Prepare the sauce on the stove

To start the sauce off, melt the butter over a low heat in a medium sauce pan. Once the butter has melted fully but before it begins to bubble, whisk in the flour and let the blend cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.

Then, slowly begin to add in the milk, whisking constantly, and work the mixture until there are no lumps and the sauce is beginning to thicken.

Add in the onion pique and simmer

Once the sauce is smooth and is beginning to thicken, add the onion pique in and let the béchamel simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove the onion and serve your rich, tasty sauce!

"If you want a thinner sauce, simply add more milk," Olayinka says, adding, "for a thicker sauce, cook it for a few minutes longer. Be sure to whisk constantly so that the sauce doesn't stick." And if you have more than you need right now, no problem. "This sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days," according to Olayinka. "Reheat it on the stove over low heat, whisking constantly until heated through."

Onion Pique Béchamel Sauce Recipe
5 from 40 ratings
Elevate a French mother sauce by adding a classic French flavor booster: an onion pique. It's unique, and actually pretty fun to make!
Prep Time
Cook Time
a large pot of sauce
Total time: 14 minutes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ onion
  • 2 whole cloves
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Make the onion pique: Secure the bay leaf to onion half, using 2 cloves to pierce them together.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
  3. Once melted, whisk in the flour and continue to cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Slowly add in the milk, whisking constantly until there are no lumps and the sauce has thickened. Add the salt and onion pique.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes, remove the onion pique, and serve.
Calories per Serving 212
Total Fat 15.6 g
Saturated Fat 9.6 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 42.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.4 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Total Sugars 6.9 g
Sodium 200.4 mg
Protein 5.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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