You must learn to make sauce! Handy-Easy White Sauce Recipe

January 27, 2009 at 10:43 pm 10 comments

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac I was depressed at how much I could not eat! The funny thing is, many of the  food items that now contain wheat our grandmothers made with corn starch!  For those of you who can’t use corn there are other gluten free thickeners on the market as well- potato starch, amaranth flour, you can even try an all purpose gluten free flour mix like Bob’s Red Mill etc.

So, to get back to the basics, I am adding my first recipe which will be white sauce from scratch.  You really can do it and it is wonderful not having to worry about hidden ingredients on the label.  This simple sauce is a staple in my home since I can whip up mac n’ cheese for the kids in no time flat with a bag of Tinkyada Rice Noodles (gluten free of course) and a cheesy variation of the basic white sauce.

Do I really have to go there? (Shopping List): 

1) butter    2) corn starch- or preferred thickener   3) milk   4) now comes the fun part- season with salt and pepper, or parsley, and/or add various cheeses (I like a good sharp cheese since I don’t have to use as much), anything that suits your fancy.

If I can do it you can do it! (The Recipe):

Order DOES matter!  Believe me, I’ve tried, after all I am a certified Goof.

  • 1pad of butter (1 Tablespoon)
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch (notice it’s the same amount as the butter, this is helpful to note if you want to make more)
  • 2 or more cups milk (depending on how thick you like the sauce, don’t be afraid to try it with less then slowly add the milk as it simmers until you have the right consistancy)
  1. Melt butter  in a small saucepan over low heat, bring to a gentle bubble. Don’t burn it-that stinks and you will have to start over, just get the edge starting to cook. Butter really does work better than margarine in this case-I tried margarine to appease my mother and eventually gave it all up. I think the real macoy is the only way to go but of course in moderation.  I’m typing with The Biggest Loser on TV in the background making me feel a bit guilty about all the calories I’m suggestion here!  I never said this was a healthy recipe.
  2. As soon as you see that the butter is bubbling add the corn starch and whisk like mad then when is it mixed in let that start to bubble and cook only about 20 seconds. Seriously, that was the hard part!
  3. Next pour in the milk, whisk and increase the temperature to medium.  The sauce will thicken over the next few minutes, mine usually takes about 5 minutes but I’m impatient and don’t mind a thin sauce as long as the kids are fed and hopefully done clinging to my legs asking “what’s for lunch Ma!”
  4. Season to taste- Sometimes I add cheese and pepper at this point, or if I’m going for an alfredo I leave the cheese out and spoon in minced garlic and some green spice for color (whatever is close at hand, well almost)! Onion powder can be used or Season All- *Don’t forget to check the spices in your cupboard if you are new to gluten free baking, many of them contain wheat as an anti-caking agent, when in doubt, throw it out or call the company if you can’t bear to part with that 3 yr old shaker full of Italian Seasoning your grandma gave you. Well, maybe that’s just me, I’m cheap!
  5. Parting Thoughts- Slowly add the milk and wait while the sauce thickens. I know, them are fightin’ words! But seriously if it doesn’t turn out thick enough you will have to start from square one, or as I have done before in a pinch, get another saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour, cook 20 seconds and pour that mixture into the 1st – thin- attempt.  Usually that will revive it.  Even though this recipe is fairly easy it takes some practice to get it right if you are as Goofy as I am.  And don’t try pouring flour into the pan after you have added the milk, it’s horrible, even the dog won’t eat it- cat’s don’t mind the lumps though, if they are getting warm milk so all is not lost!

Entry filed under: Easy White Sauce. Tags: , , , , , , .

Journey to become a gluten free master baker! Things that don’t mix!

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Katie  |  January 28, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Welcome to gluten free blogging! This sounds yummy! 🙂

    • 2. glutenfree4goofs  |  January 28, 2009 at 9:17 am

      Thank you for your comment! Your site is organized so nicely and so many resources and links. I feel like I have come from the dark ages into the blogging world, I’ve got to learn how to get some nice stuff up on my site.

  • 3. krista  |  February 6, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Garbonzo bean flour also works great for this!

    • 4. glutenfree4goofs  |  February 6, 2009 at 9:39 pm

      Hey Krista! Do you eat gluten free-I didn’t know that!? I do like the bean flours, they add nutritional value to a usually pretty empty diet.

  • 5. Christine  |  October 4, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Assuming that this works the same way as a white sauce with wheat flour does, you can use margarine (or olive oil) if you change the ratio. From a vegan friend: use less margarine than thickener. (I appreciate you posting this, my mom is dropping gluten due to inflammatory responses elsewhere being exacerbated by gluten).

    • 6. Jess @ Blog Schmog  |  October 5, 2010 at 9:14 am

      Sorry I didn’t reply sooner, we’ve had a bit of the sickies around here. Yes you can substitute. I too have found that margarine makes a thinner roux if used exactly like butter so yes, more flour alternative. You can experiment but just fyi, if you get too thin a consistence don’t try to simply add flour alt. (I’ve done it, its bad). You will need to make the roux again and pour it in.

      I have also substituted rice milk for my dairy free son and when I make it that way I have to make an exceptionally thick roux (much more rice flour or other thickener) then add a little splash of liquid, mix, another splash of liquid, mix and then pour the required amount to complete the sauce.

  • […] Gravy: So much easier than you might think. At least it surprised me. Using the meat drippings scrape off some of the fat (save the drippings) and put it into a saucepan. Slowly add and whisk an equal amount of flour (corn starch works great, or rice flour, all purpose gluten free flour, bean flours, etc. etc.), on med to med/high heat simmer this mixture until the flour is browned (you should see a bit of color in the bubbles, you don’t want raw flour, it tastes bad, believe me). Once you’ve got the flour cooked (this doesn’t take long) increase the temperature and begin to pour back in the meat drippings and whisk like mad so you don’t get lumps. Continue to whisk. This should thicken into a nice gravy within 5 min or so. It is just making a roux like I wrote about in this post below. […]

  • […] soup to add to casseroles. If you like it creamy make a roux and add the soup with the […]

  • 9. Natalia  |  September 11, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Nice recipe, thanks. The side comments were pretty annoying though.


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MATT - Food Creativity Consultant, Joyful Partner in Crime JESSIE - Photographer, Amateur Food Critic, Blog Author CAPTAIN OBVIOUS - formerly Thing 1 Thing 1 SCARFUNKLE - formerly Thing 2 IMG_3466 LOUD KIDDINGTON - formerly THE BUBBA 3 PEE WEE MINI ME BORN March 8, 2011

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