White Sauce in the Microwave

mushroom soup

Mushroom Soup

Wednesday is Recipe Day on CookingManager.Com.

You can use this simple white sauce on its own or add spices, herbs or vegetables. It’s a good base for a casserole or cream soup (pictured) when you don’t want to buy  the canned variety.

This version of basic white sauce comes from The Well-Filled Microwave Cookbook, by Susanna Hoffman and Victoria Wise.


3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1½ cups milk

¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Place the butter in a large bowl and microwave, uncovered, on High for two minutes until foaming. Add the flour and whisk until mixture is smooth.
  2. Microwave, uncovered, on High for 90 seconds or until boiling.
  3. Add the milk to the mixtures and whisk until smooth. Microwave, uncovered, on High for 2 minutes. Whisk to smooth again and microwave on High for 1 minute more, or until thickened.
  4. Add the salt and use right away. You can also add nutmeg, paprika, or pepper.

The sauce makes about two cups and keeps in the refrigerator for about a week.

White sauce is a good recipe to start with because nothing will happen if it’s not totally cooked. And you’ll know when it’s thick enough. I promise.

Any time you want to convert a conventional recipe that requires constant stirring to a microwave recipe, you follow the technique used in the recipe below: Stir in ingredients one at a time, heat, stir and check the consistency or doneness. Repeat until done. It’s hard to give exact times in microwave recipes because the temperature of the ingredients and the microwave’s wattage (maximum power level) affect the outcome.

The first time you make something new you might check it every 30 seconds, but with experience you’ll only have to stir it once or twice. Best of all, if you get interrupted the worst that will happen is that the food will cool off.

When you experiment, write down your results.

To make cream of anything soup, saute vegetables in a soup pot on top of the stove. You can cook the vegetables in the microwave too, just use a large bowl so the soup won’t boil over. Add one part water and one part white sauce. Add herbs or spices. Heat to just under boiling.

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  1. All sounds delicious, Hannah. Can’t wait to try it, maybe tomorrow. Do you think it makes a difference what kind of milk is used? 3% or 1%, etc? Which do you use?

  2. Thanks, Debbie. I use whatever I have in the house, I don’t even pay attention. Let me know how it turns out.

  3. Great dinner idea! Cream of something soup.

  4. Tikva, but without the microwave, right?

  5. I made a white sauce in the microwave this morning, for the first time, from a different recipe, and it didn’t thicken…

    I just saw this one now, and will try it next time. Can you think of a reason a white sauce wouldn’t thicken in the microwave? (I just poured it over the pasta anyway and am hoping for the best at supper tonight!)

    • Ruth, the only reason I can think of is that the instructions were for a higher-powered microwave and you didn’t give it enough time. Or you mismeasured the ingredients.

  6. LOL! yes, without microwave. i made cream of zucchini and fennel which was ok but i forgot that it was a chicken day at school!

  7. Yesterday I made the white sauce and mushroom soup. My 21 yo expert cook and baker son (who has been cooking and baking since before his Bar Mitzvah) was very impressed with the results! Thanks, Hannah.

  8. Thanks for participating in the November KCC! Please don’t forget to spread the word and post a link to it in your blog. Happy Thanksgiving!