Mornay Sauce

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Here is a classic bechamel sauce with two of our favorite cheeses, Gruyere and Parmesan.  

Of course, you can substitute your favorite melting cheese…from Swiss to Cheddar to Bleu or Gorgonzola. This is the perfect sauce for dipping a wonderfully grilled sandwich…Classic Monte Cristo comes to mind. We’ve been making this luxurious sauce for many, many years, and it never fails. Give it a try, it’s not hard…and you’ll be making a French classic.  Que oui!!

A small serving bowl with a blue pattern on it filled with mornay sauce with a spoon being lifted out of it.

How To Make Mornay Sauce

This sauce is not difficult to make at all. You can even make the sauce in advance and then reheat it with another splash or two of cream to bring it back to life.

Although the mornay sauce is not part of the French Mothers Sauces, we love it so much and use it all the time.

We start off with half of a nice large onion and then affix a fresh bay leaf to it with two cloves.  Perfect for simmering and creating a subtle, but distinct flavor.

A person holding a large white onion half that has two bay leaves affixed to the cut side of the onion with cloves, all over a pan filled with a béchamel sauce.

Start with a Classic White Roux

Now, it’s time to thicken the sauce and we do that by creating a simple white roux.

In a separate pan, melt the butter and then add the flour. Stir until fully incorporated.

EXPERT TIP: A white roux is just what it sounds like, it hasn’t begun to brown at all during the cooking process. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, just enough until the raw flour taste cooks out.

A stainless steel saucepan filled with a white roux being stirred with a flat wooden spoon.

Choosing the Best Cheese

As mentioned, we think Gruyere cheese is classic and perfect for this sauce.

It adds a depth of flavor and creaminess that is just heavenly.

EXPERT TIP: Gruyere cheese is usually sold in blocks. To help the melting process, we either add the shredding attachment to our food processor or just cut the block up slightly and process until crumbled. Or, just shred on the side of a box grater. This will help the cheese melt evenly into the roux when you transfer it in.

A hand transfer shredded Gruyere cheese from a small white bowl into a sauce pan filled with a béchamel sauce.

The addition of good-quality Parmesan cheese, or even better, Reggiano-Parmigiano cheese is exquisite!

Oh so good!

A person sprinkling grated Parmesan cheese from a tablespoon into a saucepan filled with Mornay sauce.

Did we mention how delicious this classic Mornay sauce is with our Best-Ever Monte Cristo?

Oh…it is AMAZING!

Homemade Mornay sauce with another little side of preserves is absolute perfection!

A person using a spoon to spread preserves along the cut side of a monte cristo sandwich.

Ready to make the best dipping sauce this side of Paris? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A small serving bowl with a blue pattern on it filled with mornay sauce with a spoon being lifted out of it.

Mornay Sauce

Mornay sauce builds on the classic French bechamel sauce and adds Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses to make the perfect dipping sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Classic French sauce recipe, Mornay
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 160kcal

Ingredients

  • cup whole milk
  • ½ large onion peeled and sliced in half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • Pinch nutmeg ground, optional
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Gruyere cheese
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper

Instructions

  • Use the cloves to attach the bay leaves to the cut-side of the onion halves.
  • Combine the milk with onion, bay leaf, and cloves in a small saucepan.
  • Simmer on LOW for 15 minutes, uncovered.
  • Discard the onion, bay leaf, and cloves.
  • Meanwhile, in a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Stir in the flour to create a roux. Cook, stirring often until flour is fully incorporated into the butter. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Slowly whisk in the warm milk and bring the sauce slowly to a simmer, whisking constantly. Add ground nutmeg if desired.
  • Keep over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 to 5 minutes, until just thickened.
  • Add the cheeses and stir just until melted. Add salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve at once. If serving a little later, add a few more splashes of cream and reheat over low heat, stirring often, until you reach the desired consistency.

Video

Notes

This Mornay sauce is best right from the stove, but it can be reheated with the addition of a little more milk or cream and brought to a low simmer on low heat.  
We shred our Gruyere with our shredding attachment with our food processor.  You can also process it into crumbles in your food processor.    A box grater does the trick, too. 
Reheat the prepared Mornay sauce by adding a few splashes of cream and heating over low. 

Nutrition

Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 245mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 391IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 195mg | Iron: 1mg
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