Dairy-Free Bechamel: Easy Vegan & Allergy-Friendly White Sauce


When I shared my review of Ripple Half & Half, many of you were intrigued by how it would work in recipes. I had done some quick sauce experiments before writing the review, but decided to give it a more thorough testing in dairy-free bechamel. Bechamel is a basic white sauce that is versatile and straight-forward, but I get mixed results with the various types of milk beverages. And it can be especially problematic with allergy-friendly milk beverages. But I’m happy to report that Ripple Half & Half Original works like a dream in dairy-free bechamel.

Basic Dairy-Free Bechamel: 5 Minute Vegan and Allergy-Friendly White Sauce (nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free option)

Some milk beverages can be too watery, produce “gummy” results, may separate, or have an overpowering flavor when used to make dairy-free bechamel. The Ripple Half & Half was smooth and creamy throughout the whole cooking process, and even after refrigeration. But like most bechamel sauces, you will want to heat and whisk it before serving. They can thicken quite a bit and are definitely best when served hot.

I made several versions of this dairy-free bechamel, and ended up settling on two variations. The one pictured above is more of a traditional medium white sauce consistency. It is the base dairy-free bechamel recipe, since it is more of a classic bechamel in texture and taste.

Basic Dairy-Free Bechamel: 5 Minute Vegan and Allergy-Friendly White Sauce (nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free option)

The Super-Creamy Option is pictured in the photo just above, and is a very thick dairy-free white sauce. It uses half the amount of buttery spread and flour, but is made with all Ripple Half & Half.

I love the consistency of the Super-Creamy version, but take note that the flavor is just a touch more pronounced. I like to use it in other recipes (like lasagna) or with some flavor add-ins. For the pasta below, I added some nutritional yeast, spices, and light squeeze of lemon. I left the sauce on top for the photo below, but it stirs in nicely and clings to each noodle.

Basic Dairy-Free Bechamel: 5 Minute Vegan and Allergy-Friendly White Sauce (nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free option)This post is sponsored by Ripple Foods. However, the opinions, ideas, results, photo, and recipe are all my own. Also, my review was unsponsored and unbiased, as usual. I purchased the product myself and did the write up purely to provide more extensive information to dairy-free consumers.

Special Diet Notes: Basic Dairy-Free Bechamel

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.

4.8 from 4 reviews
Basic Dairy-Free Bechamel
Cook time
Total time
Bechamel is a simple white sauce that is intended to be embellished. Season it to suit your meal, or use it to add creaminess to recipe. You can use 1 cup milk beverage in place of the water and half & half, but this can produce mixed results. As is, it has a perfect creamy finish that doesn't break.
Serves: ⅔ cup (about 4 servings)
  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free buttery spread
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (can sub wheat flour for "tan" sauce; use sweet white rice flour for gluten free)
  • ½ cup unsweetened dairy-free half & half (I used Ripple Original)
  • ½ cup water, plus additional as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Black or white pepper, to taste (optional)
  • Pinch nutmeg (optional)
  1. Melt the buttery spread in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk in the flour until smooth and bubbly.
  3. Gradually add the half & half, while whisking, until smooth.
  4. Gradually add the water, while whisking, until smooth.
  5. Whisk and cook until thickened to your desired consistency. If it thickens too much, whisk in a little more water.
  6. Season with the salt and pepper or nutmeg (if using).
  7. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat and whisk until smooth before using. Add more water, if needed.
Super-Creamy Option: Reduce the buttery spread and flour to 1 tablespoon each. Increase the dairy-free half & half to 1 cup and omit the water. This very thick sauce can be seasoned and used in layered dishes, or stirred into another sauce, soup, pasta, or rice dish.
Basic Dairy-Free White Sauce Recipe - 5 Minute Vegan and Allergy-Friendly

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


    • I just tried the Dairy free roux and it was more sweet than a regular flour and cream roux. I was trying to make a dairy free cream of ham on toast for my kids.

      It didn’t taste like the regular rouxs. I used Earth balance soy free butter, GF flour, a creamy plant based milk (silk Oat Yeah brand).

      • The sweetness is from the milk beverage you used. Oat milk is often sweet, even if unsweetened, due to the processing. Remember to taste the milk beverage and make sure it isn’t sweet at all.

  1. Hello Alisa,
    I was gonna try this recipe next week and then i wanted to try it with a cheesier flavor by adding nutritional yeast. Do you think it would work, and how much do you think i’ll need? Will i have to add anything else to it? Thank you for all your recipes, they’ve helped us out over the years with a highly allergic daughter with Eosinophilic esophagitis.

    • I think that could work! I always say to start with a small amount of nutritional yeast – you can always add more. Maybe start with a tablespoon, taste test, and add more until it reaches the taste you are looking for. Some things that can help round out the flavor when adding nutritional yeast are more salt (seriously, don’t underestimate salt when making something cheesy!), lemon juice (not too much), or miso (just a little, like a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon; you can use a soy one or soy-free). But you might like it with just some nutritional yeast and a little more salt. That’s often enough.

  2. Alisa, Can’t seem to find the half and half, do you think I could use the RIPPLE milk and add more butter and rice flour to make it thicker? I want to use the sauce for a white lasagna.

    • Hi Rima, unfortunately, the Ripple milk tends to thicken strangely. I did test it. Milk beverages with a fair amount of added protein don’t tend to work as well in sauces and similar heated recipes. I richer milk beverage that doesn’t have protein added should work though.

      • Camt wait to try it. Four f out my daughter has a dairy sensitivity a couple months ago. Been difficult to make meals sometimes as iij have been craving a cream pasta lately!! Excited to give this a try.

  3. Pingback: Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Recipe: Creamy, Spicy, Easy and Dairy Free!

  4. Pingback: Red Wine Pasta Sauce Recipe + Tips for Using Leftover Wine

    • I think by light or full-fat coconut milk (depending on the thickness you want), but coconut cream would be a little too thick. I do find that coconut milk is a little too pronounced in flavor on its own, so when I’ve used it like this, I stick with light coconut milk. It’s got enough body, but is smoother and not quite as pronounced. Then compliment with seasonings.

  5. I’m new to cooking dairy-free and have been wishing there was a dairy-free half and half! I checked out the store locator and see that the Albertsons stores near me carry at least some of their products, so I’m hoping I can pick up the half and half there!

  6. Thank you! I want to try this. I see how you added the nutritional yeast, which would make it taste cheesy, but I’m guessing to make a cheesy sauce, you could also add in shredded dairy-free cheese of choice.

Leave A Reply

Rate this recipe: