Béchamel sauce, or white sauce, is one of the oldest sauces in the world, and it’s also the foundation of French cuisine.
While it’s a simple, velvety sauce mainly composed of butter, flour, and milk, it’s incredibly versatile, used in lasagna, pasta dishes, pie fillings, Moussaka, and soufflés, among other dishes.
It’s surprisingly easy to make, and it will keep for a maximum of 5 days, if you store it in the fridge.
If you have a lot of leftover white sauce, or if you want to prepare as much of dinner as possible to save time later on, you may be wondering if you can freeze it.
Should You Freeze White Sauce?
White sauce contains a lot of dairy, and if you’ve tried to freeze dairy before, you’ll know that the results can be unpredictable. But what about freezing béchamel sauce?
Luckily, you can freeze this white sauce for later, extending the shelf life anywhere between 6 and 12 months in total.
Keep in mind that you should never let food sit out on the counter for too long, as this increases the risk of bacteria growing, food poisoning, or food waste, as it can go off quickly.
This is especially important when you consider all of that dairy, and how easy it is for dairy to be temperature sensitive.
Here’s how you freeze white sauce.
Two Different Ways Of Freezing White Sauce
You can either flash freeze white sauce, or you can freeze the whole thing. It depends on exactly how much time you have, as flash freezing requires a little longer.
If you’re pushed for time, go for the first option.
If you have enough spare time, and you want to preserve the silky texture of the sauce as much as possible, or you’re planning on storing the sauce for a significantly long amount of time, go ahead and flash freeze it.
How To Freeze White Sauce In A Hurry
To freeze white sauce, you’ll first need to let the sauce go completely cold. In order to prevent a skin forming on the top, put something on top of the container or pan it’s in, and this will help retain the moisture.
When the béchamel sauce is cool, grab a few airtight containers, or resealable freezer bags, whichever you prefer.
Decant the sauce between the containers or bags, leaving some room at the top for it to expand. Seal the containers and label them, and then store them flat in the freezer.
How To Flash Freeze White Sauce
To flash freeze white sauce, get a bowl and fill it with water and ice. Let the sauce go completely cool, making sure you cover it to stop a skin from forming.
As above, decant the sauce into your preferred containers, portioning it as necessary. Once you’ve sealed the containers, submerge them into the ice bath. Let them chill for a maximum of half an hour.
Then the sauce is ready to go into the freezer.
How To Defrost White Sauce
When you want to use the sauce, take it out of the freezer, and put it straight into the fridge.
Let it defrost completely, and this may take anywhere from a few hours to overnight, depending on the amount of sauce you want to defrost.
When it has defrosted, you may notice some changes in the consistency. It might have separated, or appear grainy. Once you reheat it, these changes will disappear.
The Key To Reheating Thawed White Sauce
When you want to reheat the béchamel sauce, the key to getting it right is to do it gingerly, gradually increasing the heat. Decant the sauce into a saucepan, putting the heat on as low as possible.
Stir it constantly, and gradually increase the heat, letting it gently warm up. Once it thickens, achieving a velvety texture, it’s ready to serve in whatever way you want.
Like with most food, béchamel sauce is best used on the day that you make it, as the fresher it is, the better quality it will be.
However, there’s no reason why you can’t make it ahead of time, and freeze what you won’t use straight away. It’s also the perfect way of preserving any leftovers for a later date.