Q. I really enjoy cooking for my family, but sometimes I can’t be bothered to put together sauces and such at the end of a long day at work. I already preserve some sauces, like tomato, and freeze others, but I still feel like I could do more to cut my prep time. I enjoy meats and pastas with a béchamel sauce, but it takes so long to make that I usually leave those dishes for the weekend when I have more time. My wife suggested that I freeze some béchamel sauce the way that I freeze others. I have to admit, it would certainly make my life easier! I’m a bit reluctant to try it though because I know that sauces made from milk and cheese don’t always freeze well. I don’t want to go through all that work for nothing. So, before I make all that effort, I have to ask: Can you freeze béchamel sauce?
A. Your wife’s suggestion was spot on! There’s no need to make a béchamel sauce from scratch each and every time. You can certainly make a batch in advance and then freeze it for later. Still, you’re not wrong about the sauce separating in the freezer. The fat and water will pull apart during the freezing process, making the sauce look kind of grainy and not at all thick. Don’t despair! I’ll show you exactly how to get your béchamel back to its thick, glossy finish in no time.
To freeze, start with a freshly made béchamel sauce. Allow it to cool completely before freezing it, to help avoid freezer burn. Since sauces made with milk and cheese easily take on the flavours of other things in the freezer, I suggest freezing it a double layer of protection. Spoon the desired amount of sauce into a freezer bag, allowing a little bit of headroom for expansion. Seal the bag tightly. Then, slip that freezer bag into another one, and seal the second bag tightly. Label and date the freezer bag, and lay it flat in the freezer. This is also a great way to protect against leaks.
To use frozen béchamel sauce, remove from the freezer the night before and allow it to thaw in the fridge. Your sauce isn’t going to look great at this point. Pour it into a saucepan and gently reheat over low heat. Using a whisk, whisk the sauce as it heats, returning it to its original consistency. Taste, and adjust any flavours as needed. Serve and enjoy!