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Mornay sauce being poured over a bowl of spiral noodles
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Classic Mornay Sauce

Mornay sauce is a classic creamy sauce, enriched with plenty of cheese! Delicious as the base for au gratin dishes or mac and cheese, having this variation on bechamel, one of the culinary mother sauces, in your repertoire will up your cooking game instantly. Better yet, it's super easy to make, and have I mentioned how rich and delicious it is?
Course Condiment, Sauce
Cuisine French
Keyword au gratin, bechamel, mac and cheese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 265kcal

Equipment

  • Small saucepan
  • Whisk
  • heavy bottomed saucepan

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour use gluten-free if needed
  • pepper to taste
  • ½ cup grated cheese Gruyere, Swiss, Parmesan, or a combination of the 3; at room temperature; see Notes
  • 1 pinch nutmeg optional but recommended
  • 2 tablespoons butter cut into 4-8 pieces

Instructions

  • In small saucepan, add 2 cups of milk and ¼ teaspoon salt. Whisk together and heat mixture until just boiling, stirring constantly. When mixture starts to boil, remove saucepan from heat and set aside.
    Hot milk in a small saucepan on a white surface with a neutral linen
  • In heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Once melted, blend in flour and cook slowly over low heat, stirring continuously until mixture becomes a white roux, without any browning.
    Butter melting in a saucepan
  • Remove saucepan from heat. When roux stops bubbling, pour in all of hot milk and immediately begin whisking roux and milk vigorously. Be sure to get all roux from sides, bottom, and edges of saucepan.
    Roux in saucepan
  • Once combined, return saucepan to heat and raise heat to medium. Stir until sauce starts to boil. Boil mixture, still stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Remove saucepan from heat and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in grated cheese until cheeses are completely melted and blended into sauce completely.
    Cheese in milk sauce in saucepan with whisk
  • Season with nutmeg and additional salt and pepper, if needed. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter until butter is completely melted and sauce is well-blended. Serve sauce warm.
    Butter whisked into mornay sauce in large saucepan

Notes

  • Cheese: Whichever cheese or combo you decide to use, I encourage you to purchase a wedge or block of fresh cheese and grate it yourself. Prepackaged, pre-grated cheeses include fillers and anti-clumping agents that can prevent the cheese from melting well and might make the sauce grainy.
  • To ensure a really smooth mornay sauce, take the saucepan off the heat and slowly whisk in the room-temperature cheese in increments, making sure it's fully melted before adding more.
  • The roux and the milk should both be hot when you combine them. If one is too cool, they won't incorporate as well and may end up clumpy. You'll want to be a little quick creating the roux so the milk doesn't cool too much off the heat. 
  • Make it Gluten Free: Use gluten-free flour for the roux.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 353mg | Potassium: 188mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 706IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 311mg | Iron: 1mg | Net Carbs: 10g