This gluten-free white sauce is smooth, creamy and ready in just 10 minutes. The recipe has simple ingredients with a hint of Italian flavor that is perfect on pasta.
Tips for a Creamy, Lump-Free Gluten-Free Sauce
This sauce is thickened using a butter and flour roux. A roux is a mixture of cooked fat, butter in this case, and flour (gluten-free flour blend). This method allows you to add liquid and not have the sauce turn lumpy.
There are a few tips that will assure that your sauce turns out smooth and creamy.
Use a room temperature or lukewarm liquid so that it doesn’t cause the butter to curdle. This recipe uses milk (or a dairy-free sub). If your milk is cold, heat it in the microwave for 40-50 seconds to take the chill off.
Unfortunately all gluten-free flour blends are not created equal. They each have a different mix of gluten-free flours and starches which means they won’t all work exactly the same in a sauce. I use King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour. If you use a different gf flour, you may need to use a little more or a little less liquid to get the proper sauce consistency. I’ll walk you through it all in the recipe card below.
Finally, if a few lumps remain in the finished sauce, run it through a fine mesh strainer to make it completely smooth.
Gluten-free flour blend – I use King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour because that is the one I have in my pantry. I use it for almost all of my baked goods but it also works well as a thickener for sauces. If you use a different brand of gluten-free flour, don’t fear, this recipe accounts for the possibility that you use a different flour.
Butter – Butter is my favorite to use in a sauce because the flavor and texture are unmatched. Using unsalted butter will allow you to better control the salt level in the sauce.
If you prefer to keep this recipe dairy-free or vegan, I recommend using either olive oil or Miyokos Vegan Cultured butter. You may need to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe if you use a salted vegan butter.
The liquid in this sauce is milk or a dairy-free substitute. I am lactose-free, so I use whichever milk substitute I’ve got in the fridge. I’ve used coconut milk, soy milk and almond milk, all with good results
The sauce is flavored with chopped shallot and a garlic clove. If you prefer to avoid chopping, you can use granulated garlic and granulated onion instead – ⅛ tsp of each.
Dried Italian herbs or just straight dried oregano give a hint of Italian flavor to this sauce. If you have a favorite herb, feel free to sub it in. This sauce is a great neutral base for many flavors.
Finally, salt and pepper bring all the other flavors together.
This sauce is lovely on its own, but here are some simple options to give it more pizzazz.
- Add 1/4 cup finely grated pamiggiano or romano cheese to the thickened sauce and stir for a minute over low heat.
- Use fresh herbs including basil, oregano and thyme instead of the dried herbs, for a pop of fresh flavor.
10 Minute Gluten-Free White Sauce for Pasta
- 2 Tbsp roughly chopped shallot
- 1 small clove of garlic
- ¼ tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ c gluten-free flour blend, King Arthur Measure for Measure recommended1
- 2-2½ c milk or dairy-free milk sub (room temperature/lukewarm)
- ½-¾ tsp salt
- dash of pepper
- NOTES:A wire whisk works best for stirring sauces.If your milk is cold, heat it in the microwave for 40-50 seconds to bring it to room temp.
- Place a 2-3 quart pot on the stove over low heat.
- Add the butter and let it melt.
- Lightly smash the garlic clove using your hand, just enough to loosen the skin and break open the clove, do not chop. Discard the skin.
- Add the chopped shallot, garlic clove and dried herb(s) to the melted butter and turn the heat to low-medium.
- Cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Remove the garlic clove.
- Add the flour and stir well with a whisk until it is incorporated.
- Cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Turn the heat to high and immediately add about 2 cups of the milk. Continue cooking, stirring every 10 seconds, until it boils and thickens. Remove from the heat.
- If the sauce is too thick, whisk in an additional ¼ cup milk. If needed add the remaining ¼ cup.
- Stir in ½ tsp salt (¼ tsp if you use salted butter) and a dash of pepper. Taste. If it seems a little blah, add more salt 2 pinches at a time until you're satisfied with the flavor.
- If you prefer, run the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove the shallot.
- Serve over pasta, chicken or fish. Top with fresh basil, oregano or thyme.
- This sauce will stay fresh in the refrigerator for at least 1 week. I do not recommend freezing.
- Different brands of gluten-free flour may yield different levels of thickening power. The recipe should be able to account for this inconsistency.