Difference Between Bechamel and Roux

By: | Updated: Aug-2, 2022
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There is a lot of confusion in the world about Bechamel and Roux. What is the difference between them? This article will try to answer this question. We will also explain what you need to know about each of these two sauces in detail.

Summary Table

Bechamel Roux
Lighter color, heavier cream Darker color, lighter cream
Used for stews, soups, and cooking Used for stews and soups
Cooked in saucepan Cooked on the stove top in a skillet

Difference Between Bechamel and Roux


The bechamel sauce is mainly used in the preparation of Béchamel sauce, which is used to prepare both white and red sauces. The Bechamel sauce is a white sauce which consists of butter, flour, milk and dry mustard.

The roux is a variation of the bechamel. It consists of butter and flour in combination with hot water to form a thick slurry that can then be used to make elaborate sauces. When the roux is used, it will more than likely be called soffritto, which means burnt in Italian.

Bechamel vs Roux

The origins of bechamel and roux are intertwined. Bechamel is a French term meaning “good butter” or “a sauce made with good butter.” The word appears to be derived from the Latin word for butter, but the etymology remains unclear. In some cases, it’s believed that the word “bechamel” is a corruption of the French word “bachelet” which means “small pan.”

Roux dates back to the 18th century, but it may have originated in France. A 1747 edition of Dictionnaire de L’Académie Française suggests that the word is a derivative of the French word “rougaille,” which means “a kind of sauce composed of flour and water.”

Bechamel is a thick sauce made from butter and flour. Roux consists of the same ingredients but in different proportions; for example, a roux is made with equal parts of butter to flour. The two sauces are similar in appearance and flavor, but the former has a lighter color due to its use of milk instead of water as a thickener.

Bechamel and roux are both known to be used in making the popular French dish, Macaroni and Cheese. Bechamel is often used to make sauces which need heavy cream, while roux is most often used in stews and soups.

Bechamel is made by thoroughly browning the flour in butter and then adding other liquids. Roux is created by melting fat and liquid at a low temperature until the mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency. Roux can also be made with equal parts of butter to flour, while bechamel requires the addition of milk, usually heavy cream.

The difference between Bechamel and roux is that the latter one needs to be cooked longer than the former. You can use either one, but it will take some time to cook them completely. Bechamel is cooked in a saucepan while roux is often cooked on the stove top in a skillet or in an ovenproof dish.

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