How to Make Easy Parmesan Cheese Sauce


Start to Finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6

Difficulty: Easy

The classics make cooking easy. A basic Parmesan sauce, for example, is simply the classic mother sauce bechamel with Parmesan stirred in at the finish. Make this sauce as close to serving time as possible and serve it very hot for the best consistency.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 onion, skewered on a toothpick
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Ground white pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon room-temperature heavy cream 


Bring the milk to a gentle simmer in a saucepan. Skim the froth if needed. In a separate, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat.

Sprinkle the flour over the butter. Combine the butter and flour with a wooden spoon and let it cook until it turns blonde, about 5 minutes.

Whisk the milk into the flour about 1/2 cup at a time. With each pour, combine the milk with the butter and flour until smooth. Next, add the onion.

Bring the bechamel to a gentle simmer, whisking occasionally to break up the lumps. Season the bechamel to taste with kosher salt and ground white pepper, and set the heat to medium-low.

Grasp the toothpick to remove the onion. Stir in the Parmesan a tablespoon or two at a time. Next, stir in the heavy cream. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Add freshly chopped herbs if desired.

Cooking Tips

Parmesan sauce stays fresh for 3 days stored in an airtight container.

Add a little milk or water when reheating the sauce to restore the desired consistency.

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