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Mornay sauce is made from one of the most famous of the French mother sauces – bechamel. 

Bechamel sauce is a basic white sauce made by creating a roux with flour and butter and adding milk. When you add a cheese to that it becomes mornay. 

The beauty of these French sauces is that, once mastered, they are the perfect base to build multiple recipes. 

pepper jack mornay sauce in pot.

Classic Mornay Sauce

As we know, life gets hectic, especially on weeknights. Monday through Friday, I intend to prepare my husband a great home-cooked meal, but after 10-12 hours at work, I lose my sizzle and often grab a frozen pizza or other not-so-good-for-you foods.

On the other hand, I love weekends because I can happily spend the entire day in the kitchen. This is when I bake, cook and blog. My solution for those unhealthy weeknights? Prepare dinner on the weekend, freeze and reheat it so that we’re not relying on convenience food so much. 

There’s nothing new about this concept, but with today’s post, I wanted to show you how easy it is to meal prep with this back-to-basics recipe.

Enter, mornay sauce. Typically made with Gruyère and Parmesan cheese, I’ve Americanized this French classic to include all sorts of delicious cheeses like pepperjack, cheddar and Swiss cheese. This makes them even more versatile! 

If you master this cheesy mornay sauce, you can make mac-n-cheese or a hearty, meaty pasta bake on Saturday and serve it to your family any day of the week. 

And if you’re single or cooking for two, the dish can be divided into smaller pans so you have easy single or double-portion home-cooked meals straight from the freezer.


Next time you walk through the frozen food aisle, take a look at all of the frozen pasta dishes. Which flavors stand out to you? Write down the main ingredients listed on the box, choose the cheese to use in your Mornay sauce and bake your own healthier version with local meats, organic veggies, whole wheat pasta and a lot less sodium.

I’ve created five different Weeknight Pasta Bakes that are all made with a mornay sauce. 

Once made, all you have to do is spoon them into your dish of choice. I recommend a large aluminum pan for baking straight from the freezer and individual bowls or plastic containers for quick microwave meals. 

Check out the links at the bottom of this post for your weeknight meal plan. 

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Weeknight Cheese Mornay Sauce


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 ounces, 2 cups cheese
  • salt, pepper and other spices


  • Melt: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk: Add in the flour and stir for about 3-5 minutes or until it thickens into a roux.
  • Stir: Pour in the milk and continue to whisk, until the sauce thickens about 10 minutes.
  • Add: Add the cheese and stir with a wooden spoon, until melted.
  • Season: Season with salt, pepper and other spices of your choice to taste. 


Calories: 740kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 21gFat: 53gSaturated Fat: 32gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 508mgPotassium: 782mgFiber: 1gSugar: 24gVitamin A: 1920IUCalcium: 672mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sauce
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Cheese Sauce

Ingredients for mornay sauce

  • Butter: This is the fat that will help create the base of the roux. You can use salted butter or unsalted butter. Just be sure you’re using real butter, not margarine or butter from a tub.  
  • Flour: I use all-purpose flour. 
  • Milk. Whole milk, heavy cream or your alternative milk of choice will work well here.
  • Cheese. For a classic mornay use gruyere cheese. Shred your own cheese for the creamiest results. 
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Other spices

Substitutions: Since this is a base recipe, there are lots of options to swap here, depending on your needs. I recommend choosing ingredients and spices that complement your final dish.

See the full recipe card for servings and a full list of ingredients.

How to make the perfect cheesy sauces 

  1. MELT: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. WHISK: Add in the flour and stir for about 3-5 minutes or until it thickens into a roux.
  3. STIR: Pour in the milk and continue to whisk, until the sauce thickens about 10 minutes.
  4. ADD: Add the cheese and stir with a wooden spoon, until melted.
  5. SEASON: Season with salt, pepper and other spices of your choice to taste. 


Whisk flour and butter together until just golden brown to ensure there is no leftover raw flour taste that’ll overpower your cheese sauce. 

How to serve mornay sauce

This is the perfect sauce for mac-and-cheese, potatoes au gratin, lasagna or even as part of an open-faced sandwich. I love having this quick sauce in my back pocket as I know it’ll always take me somewhere tasty. 

One of my favorite things to do is to mix the sauce with cooked pasta, cooked meat and sautéed vegetables. Then, I scoop it into pans or dishes, then freeze. Just before baking, I sprinkle the top of the pan with panko breadcrumbs and bake or microwave until heated through.


This will keep for several days in the refrigerator when kept in an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot over low heat until small bubbles start forming on the surface of the sauce. You don’t want to risk overcooking it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the five French mother sauces? 

The five French mother sauces are bechamel, veloute, espagnole, hollandaise and tomato.

Bechemel is a white cream sauce. Veloute is similar to bechemel, but it’s made with stock instead of milk. Espagnole is a brown sauce made with veal stock, tomatoes and mirepoix. 

Hollandaise is a combination of egg yolk, butter, water and lemon juice. Lastly, Tomato sauce or sauce tomat is similar to a marinara. 

​Is mornay sauce the same as alfredo? 

While similar, the main difference is that mornay is made from a roux while alfredo is made without flour. 

Does mornay sauce have eggs, gluten or dairy?

Mornay sauce does not contain eggs, but it does contain gluten and dairy. The base of the sauce is made with butter, flour, milk and cheese. 

​Weeknight Mornay Sauce Recipes

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Christie Vanover

About Zestuous

Hi. I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and have dozens of top ten category finishes. People know me as the girl who is forever hovering over a grill, smoker or campfire with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

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