Creamy Béchamel White Sauce (Dairy Free, Gluten Free + Soy Free)

bechamel sauce

I’m the youngest of three, with my siblings being 10 years older. By the time Mum got to me she was kind of ‘over’ cooking. She had just a few recipes which rotated every week (which might actually explain my love for cooking now?). One of those recipes was cream of chicken, which was a béchamel sauce with a few chicken stock cubes and shredded rotisserie chicken served over rice. If it sounds boring, thats because it is (sorry Mum!). She also used to make a béchamel cheese sauce over steamed veggies.

So safe to say in adulthood I have never craved anything with béchamel sauce. But, it’s a very necessary component of lasagna which in my pre-gluten free vegetarian days I made quite a few times with success.

Since then, I’ve tried a few different dairy and gluten free béchamel sauces, one was made with tofu and was one made with white beans (cannelloni, I think). Both were okay, but tasted very much like either tofu or beans and not very much like the classic béchamel sauce. I didn’t even think it was possible to recreate this to taste like the real thing! I should have learnt by now, it’s always possible.

When I came across spabettie’s recipe I was intrigued at making a sauce similar to the classic version, but I really don’t like to cook with butter (even the vegan kind) or gluten free flour blends. So I set out to create my own version keeping the base of cashews and almond milk. I can’t cook with garlic at the moment since my Mum is allergic and we are staying with her, so I opted to use onion instead – but I’m sure the garlic version is much better.

What I love about this recipe is you don’t have to make a roux (melting the butter and mixing with flour), which I remember screwing up once or twice. I love anything that I can make mostly in my Vitamix.

Are you noticing a trend with recipes this week? First the Marinara Pasta Sauce, and now a béchamel sauce. Guess what I made with them both (you can see it in the corner of the photo above)? Keep an eye out for the recipe next week (make sure your signed up for free newsletter updates to get the recipe).

Creamy Béchamel White Sauce (Dairy Free, Gluten Free + Soy Free)
Cook time
Total time
This creamy béchamel sauce is vegan + gluten free + soy free and so much easier to make than the regular version (no roux!).
Yield: 3.5 cups
  1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix).
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add in the cream sauce.
  3. Whisk for about 5-10 minutes until thickened to béchamel sauce consistency.


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33 comments on “Creamy Béchamel White Sauce (Dairy Free, Gluten Free + Soy Free)

  1. This sauce is wonderful.would it be the best choice if for serving a gluten free macaroni and dairy-free cheez?

  2. Hi, I have just started making my own almond milk and would love to follow this recipe. I’ve just put some almonds and water in a blender and usually I put it through a strainer and get all the runny milk out and then dry out the rest and make it into a flour. What I am wondering is, seing as this sauce needs some kind of flour, can I just leave the mixed up almond and water mush as is without straining out all the bumbs and bits of almond skin? Its quite a nice consistency for bechamel sauce but I just cant find any recipe online that advises people to do that. Hmmmm maybe I should just try it.

    • Hi, its hard to say without trying it, I’m sure it would be fine, but I still wouldn’t omit the arrowroot flour as it helps create the texture of the sauce. Let me know how you go! 🙂


  4. Shae- this is my very first recipe from your site and was super easy to make. As a note, I tried to thicken in my Vitamix blender and it’s really better as per your instructions to transfer to a pan on the stovetop. I used slightly more than the recommended arrowroot (just gently shook off the top of the 2 tablespoons, but didn’t use a knife to be exact) and the consistency looks amazing. I am pouring this over twirly pasta and using a little dairy-free cheese to top it off and then bake it for 30 mins at 350 (using my toaster oven). Perfection! My 4 year old is killin’ it! WOO HOO!

    • Hi Wendy :). Store bought would work, although try and get the least sweet one you can find, usually the organic ones are less sweet. Theres one by Pure Harvest that you can find in the supermarket that I use when I don’t remember to make my own. Let me know how it works out for you! 🙂

    • Hi Sylvia, I don’t think you would get quite the same creamy and smooth consistency, but if you have a fairly good food processor it should turn out okay, although I haven’t tried it so couldn’t tell you for sure. Let me know how you go!

  5. Hi Shae
    I read with interest your recipe for Creamy Bechamel sauce, my daughter has been diagnosed with M.S. and is on a gluten free, diary free diet, but has also an intolerance to yeast, can this recipe still work without the nutritional yeast. Or can you suggest an alternative.

    Thank you in anticipation

    • Hi Sandra, yes the recipe will still work without the nutritional yeast – it will just be a little less cheesy. Try adding a chunk of brown onion (about 1/8-1/4 of a large onion), that will help give it that cheesy bite. Let me know how you go with it! 🙂

  6. I would love to make this sauce, but my husband is cashew intolerant! Do you think this recipe would work with other nuts? Almonds, Macadamia…

    • Hi Jessa, the nutritional yeast is just for flavour, it adds a cheesy flavour to it so theres no really sub. You could add 1/4 of an onion to it, which gives it a little bit of a cheesy bite.

    • Hi Sonia, tapioca would also likely work. Agar agar flakes or powder would also probably work but it would be a different amount, you would have to experiment!

  7. I just made this for my parents who are on a fast called the Daniel’s fast- made the lasagna with zucchini and they absolutely loved it. Thank you for showing me vegan maybe something to consider.

  8. Wow!! Thank you so much, this sauce is amazing and I can use it for so many things. Thanks for all of the amazing recipes you create, you’ve helped me realise that having intolerances doesn’t mean it’s the end of eating exciting foods.

  9. This was fantastic – I used it to make a creamy eggplant lasagna and it was over the top. Many of the vegan bechamel type sauces I’ve made haven’t held up well to cooking, this one was great. Loved it – and so easy with no roux!

  10. Until we went gluten-free, we were doing a basic white sauce IN the Vitamix – all of it – blended for 4-5 minutes and it was fairly thick just from that. Any chance this could all be blended in the Vitamix then just keep blending approx 5 min to warm/thicken?

  11. After reading up through a few more comments – someone else suggested doing ONLY in the Vitamix wasn’t good enough, that it needed time on the stove. I am scared of it, with the nuts though. My family is so picky, trying new things is so hard for me. I am GF and DF and my hubby is GF, and even HE is scared to try so many things. I’ll keep looking.

  12. Cindy, Nobody will taste any cashews. It really tastes fabulous and is very easy to make. Fantastic recipe! Give it a try!!!

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