Flour next to a pan of bechamel sauce being stirred with a wooden spoon
Béchamel Vs. Velouté Sauce: What's The Distinction?
Béchamel and velouté are staples in French cuisine and two of the five "mother sauces" that many French dishes are built on. They're similar, but use different ingredients.
Béchamel uses milk, cream, or a dairy-free substitute mixed with a flour and butter roux, while velouté mixes the same roux with chicken, fish, or vegetable stock.
Béchamel, also called white sauce, is a creamy, mild, and smooth sauce with no lumps. In France, the milk is infused with bay leaves and onion before it's mixed with the roux.
Béchamel acts as a base for sauces like Mornay with Gruyere and parmesan cheeses, or Nantua, which has crayfish or shrimp added and is paired with seafood.
Velouté is a more savory sauce that can be poured on steamed vegetables such as broccoli or carrots, mixed into pasta, served with seafood dishes, or used as a creamy soup base.
This sauce can even make a curry if you add coconut milk, spices, and curry powder. You can also turn velouté into allemande sauce by using veal stock and adding an egg yolk.
Leftovers of both béchamel and velouté sauces can be stored in your fridge for up to a week or frozen for up to three months. You'll want to keep them around for their versatility.