I was preparing white sauce from milk. I started with boiling one half litres skimmed milk for the above. The bottom was getting burnt as I was not stirring continuously.

Finally the white sauce for pasta had the pungent smell of burnt milk.
I have tried adding peeled raw potatoes but no idea if it worked as the burnt milk smell and taste prevailed. Then, tried adding sugar step by step while stirring...still the smell was persisting. I have tried increasing garlic and onion but the taste and smell remained.

Please let me know how the burnt smell of milk can be removed in these kind of sauces. Thank you.


3 Answers 3


There is nothing you can add or do to your sauce to remove or mask the burnt taste.

Really. Don't even try. Throw it out and start over, being careful not to burn it this time.

For some foods, there are various tricks you can try for removing the burnt taste, but they all start with removing the burnt bits. With a sauce where you've already thoroughly mixed everything together, that just isn't possible.

A side note: you don't need to boil the milk for white sauce. If you have trouble with remembering to stir the milk while it's heating, just use a method that involves adding cold milk to a hot roux. Of course, in that case you need to remember to not burn the roux, but for Béchamel/white sauce, you're basically barely cooking the fat+flour before you add the milk, so it shouldn't be an issue.

  • The recipe I use for bechamel (for mac and cheese) uses warmed milk (I put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes). I've never had issues with it, so I'm not sure that the temp of the milk really matters. When the milk is already hot, it takes less time for the sauce to finish, which is nice.
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 18:00
  • 2
    Catija is right, we have had the question about proper roux making before. It seems that every combination of cold/hot milk and cold/hot roux works as soon as the cook has mastered that combination, but that every cook learns a different one and then starts swearing that the others are wrong and will always clump.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 20:21
  • @rumtscho: I edited my side note to emphasize why I'm suggesting not boiling the milk.
    – Marti
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 20:38

I'm not sure your exact recipe or method, but you cannot get rid of the burnt taste or smell and you will need to start over with fresh ingredients.

You don't need or want to boil the milk at any part of the process, just to heat the milk enough to activate the thickener. In the case of a classic flour roux thickened sauce you start by cooking the roux for a short time to cook the flour, then add the milk and stir while gently heating. Your sauce will start to steam a bit and then within a minute will thicken and get bubbly, at which time the sauce is done. You can take it off the heat or keep it warm on low after that point.


Your best bet is to change the pan for a clean pan, but I doubt if you can really get rid of the taste. Depends on how burnt it all was. To my knowledge, you cannot add things to burnt food to get rid of the taste.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.