How To Make Simple White Sauces With Milk Or Chicken Broth

Many recipes of all sorts call for a thickening, creamy ingredient.  Often this ingredient is a “cream of” soup of some sort.  Just think of all the casseroles and side dishes you make.  One that comes to mind right away is the classic holiday favorite, Green Bean Casserole.

But, many of us just aren't comfortable dumping in a can of cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, or cream of anything soup just because it's handy.  Not only is it expensive, but the ingredients leave much to be desired.

If you want to save money and control the ingredients in your recipes, you need to replace those prepackaged additives that are the basis of so many recipes ever since the invention of canned soup.

For everything from Green Bean Casserole to Macaroni & Cheese to gravies to cheese sauces, these white sauce recipes will be your new beginnings for every recipe you make that needs a smoothy, creamy touch.  You may just have bought your last can of soup!

Thick white sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 4 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup milk or chicken broth

Medium white sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup milk or chicken broth

Thin white sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup milk or chicken broth

Put medium sauce pan over low heat and add butter.
Sprinkle in flour and salt while whisking; continue whisking for 1 minute.
Continue whisking while pouring in all milk or chicken broth.
Whisk constantly while cooking until sauce gets thick and bubbly.

These recipes are simple to make and can replace all those cream of soups and sauce packets you have in your pantry now.  Save money and control the ingredients in your cooking with old fashioned white sauces.

Make even more convenience foods right at home!  You'll save money, control ingredients, and avoid expensive “fast foods” when you start making your own favorite convenience foods.  Click on here to find out about our informative resource Homemade Convenience Foods – and dig into over 200 recipes for handy convenience foods you can make at home.

Eliminate those prepackaged foods from your pantry, eat healthier and cheaper while still cooking fast.  Order your copy today!

Patti Winker - April 13, 2011

Excellent! I have been avoiding canned “cream of soups” for the longest time, too. Every time I get a new recipe that calls for it, I automatically scratch it out and replace it with “thick sauce” : that way I know to make a thick white sauce before I start. It’s SO SIMPLE and so much better than the canned jelly-like soup that plops out of the can.

I also use chicken broth or vegetable broth in place of milk very often. Another trick, especially if you’re cooking something tangy or savory is to replace some of the broth with beer. The sauce is, how can I describe it, brighter tasting, I guess.

Thanks, Susanne, for another spot-on suggestion for cooking good meals without opening a bunch of cans. And, I’m LOVING the new cookbook. I’ve gotten some great new recipes for fast, fun food. Thanks!

Mrs Koehn - April 13, 2011

I figured this trick out when I started going organic. I just couldn’t find a condensed cream of soup, and the thin ones won’t work in most recipes. So I make a cream of mushroom and chicken. Just made some this past weekend actually. I make a bunch and freeze it. What I do though, melt a stick of organic butter, and saute probably half a pound of mushrooms I buzzed in the food processor. Then I add enough flour to make it almost but not quite clumpy, and a big tablespoon of chicken Better than Bouillon. Then I put organic half and half, about a quart and any salt to make it really salty like the cream of’s. I cool it down and put about a can’s worth in zip top snack bags, and those into a big freezer bag and have them when I need them. I just pop out one or two and put it in a bowl of hot water with more hot water running over it. Thaws in 5 min or so and VERY convenient without the cost or mess! :)

Nancy - April 13, 2011

My granddaughter doesn’t care for red sauce with pasta, so I make white sauce with some garlic and parmesan cheese. We also add broccoli and leftover chicken for a dish that is a lot like the baked pasta dish sold at Pizza Hut. I’ve saved a bundle making white sauce.

    geri - November 28, 2012

    Do you use milk or broth

Shannon - April 14, 2011 has the best recipe for cream of chicken soup and is most like the canned stuff. The recipe makes the equivalent of 2 cans. I mix up several of the spice packets and it’s a breeze to make it when I need it. Like I said it’s more like the canned stuff then just a basic white sauce. I’ve been using it for about 3 years in place of cream of soups and all the recipes have turned out perfect.

Denise Osburn - April 15, 2011

definitely going to be trying this. For recipes, does this equal one can of cream-of soup? It looks like it would make just a little over a cup. Also, does this freeze well? I’d like to be able to make this ahead — so it would be as convenient as grabbing a can. Not that it looks like this would take more than 10 min, but after work when I’m trying to get supper on the table every minute counts. Also, this would add a sauce pan to whatever else I use to make the meal. If I could make several batches over the weekend and freeze for a couple months that would be helpful.

    The Hillbilly Housewife - April 15, 2011

    Thank you for your comment, Denise.

    I have not tried freezing this. I’m thinking if you use chicken broth it should freeze just fine, but if you use milk it may separate. The fact is, I would try it either way. It’s inexpensive enough that I think to try one batch would be worth it. Even if it does separate, you may be able to reheat and whisk to reincorporate. But, like I said, I haven’t tried it yet. Anyone else want to comment about that?

    Regarding the quantity, yes, it does make about as much as a can of soup.

    You may want to try the recipe for a dry mix soup substitute I have on the HBHW site. Here is the link to make it easier for you to find:

Summer - October 16, 2012

WOW! I don’t usually write reviews BUT this recipe made me! I can’t believe all this time I was buying Alfredo White Sauce at the grocery when I can make a quick and easy recipe! Thanks so much! You saved me money! But most importantly, THANKS for a wonderful recipe that I will be sharing with others! ~Summer

suellyn - November 11, 2012

Wow, Through persistance I finally found a recipe I can use to make some chicken noodle casserole that doesn’t use canned soup. I have some great free range chicken and some excellent Amish made noodles, and I didn’t want to dump canned soup into them. Thanks. I’ll bookmark this site.

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