This super easy Cheese Sauce recipe is a game changer in the kitchen and is way better than any store-bought kind! It’s so versatile, it can be used as a nacho cheese sauce on loaded nachos, mac and cheese sauce or even a cheese sauce for broccoli!
The kids will love this homemade cheese sauce because it goes with everything! And how much easier can it get with only a handful of ingredients? Honestly the best cheddar cheese sauce you’ve ever had.
How to Make a Roux for Cheese Sauce
The most important part of any good sauce is a ‘roux’ which is, essentially, a cooked, thickened combination of butter and flour.
This will be the base of the sauce and it only takes a few minutes to whip up! Be sure to stir it constantly and cook the flour to rid of any starchy flavor before adding the other ingredients.
Any Cheese Goes
You can use any type of cheese for this recipe based on what you’re pouring it over.
- Monterey Jack or Spiced Cheese for Loaded Nachos
- Swiss Cheese for Chicken Cordon Bleu or with ham dishes
- Sharp Cheddar (and a touch of grainy mustard for Oven Baked Soft Pretzels)
- Any combination for dipping breads or pouring over vegetables like Roasted Brussels or Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
How to Make a Cheese Sauce
Here’s where it gets good! Really good! To make a cheese sauce:
- Cook flour and seasonings with butter to remove any floury flavor
- Slowly add in some milk to the roux and whisk constantly (it will be super thick). Keep adding a little at a time until it smooths out.
- Whisk until it reaches a boil and let bubble 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and add cheese. Whisk until smooth.
Remember to always remove from the heat before adding cheese, the milk will still be plenty hot enough to melt it. Cheese can separate or become grainy if it gets too hot.
Be sure to adjust for taste, feel free to add a splash of hot sauce or garlic powder…anything that you want!
How to Thicken Cheese Sauce
The ratio below will create a perfectly thick and cheesy sauce and shouldn’t require thickening.
The best way to thicken a cheese sauce would be to add more cheese! Who can resist a thick, creamy, savory cheese sauce perfect for making Homemade Mac and Cheese too!
Another way to thicken a cheese sauce is to add a little bit of cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and water) added a little at a time to hot cheese sauce. This method is less desirable, you do risk the cheese separating if you re-heat it too much when thickening.
More Cheese Please
- Cheese Grits – southern classic
- Gooey Cheese Sticks (Fried or Baked) – kid friendly
- Crock Pot Mac and Cheese – so easy
- Pizza Grilled Cheese – my personal fav
- Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole – cheesy and delicious
- Quick Broccoli and Cheese – two amazing flavors
Creamy Cheese Sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups milk
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper or a pinch
- 1 ¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese shredded
- Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add milk a small amount at a time, whisking smooth after each addition.
- Add onion powder and white pepper.
- Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking continually until slightly thick.
- Remove from heat and add cheeses. Stir until melted.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Hi Holly, could I add fresh jalapenos to this? Or should I use canned jalapenos? This sounds absolutely delicious. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes you have shared with all of us.
I would either diced the fresh jalapeno very fine or used canned jalapenos for the best texture as larger pieces of jalapeno may not cook through and be a little crunchy in this sauce. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out! I am so glad you are enjoying the recipes.
can I sub Monterey jack or other mild cheese. dont like cheddar.
You can use your favorite cheese, any will work just fine in this recipe Karen! Enjoy!
Flavor was good. I removed from heat before adding cheese but still got grainy texture.
Did you use pre-shredded cheese Melanie? This can cause a grainy texture.
How would you halve this recipe?
I would follow the recipe instructions as written and half each ingredient. Enjoy Cathy!
I think more cheddar cheese is needed. Overall a good recipe.
Creamy Cheese Sauce.
What are the equivalent measures for Australia.
Hi Joseph, I don’t have these available in grams. I would suggest using an online converter for accurate conversion amounts. Enjoy the recipe!
This is the perfect recipe to have on hand when you need a cheese sauce. I like to keep some in a jar to pour over veggies, add to noodles for quick mac and cheese etc.
For some reason my cheese sauce has just a slight texture problem (yes, I add the cheese off burner) I found out today that whizzing with a stick blender once it cools makes it silky smooth.
Thanks for the great tip Tricia!
Super quick and easy but it definitely needs some salt. Added about 1/2 teaspoon of salt when it was done cooking.
It’s easy no doubt but I leave out onion powder next time. I also added about half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
Glad you enjoyed it, Renee! Thanks for sharing your tweaks.
Super simple, and super yummy!
Added garlic powder and used cheddar and Monterey cheese
Absolutely amazing!! It’s very creamy!
I made this the other night to go with some broccoli – it was heavenly and oh so easy! I love this website! I have found so many good recipes here. Thanks Holly!
So happy you are enjoying them, Robbie!
Amazingly easy recipe!!!! So delicious and simple my mind is blown! Thank you
Absolutely delicious. I added more cheddar and left out the parmesan.
The instructions were clear and very easy to follow.
This will always be my go to sauce for my cauliflower .
Looks yummy …. Planning in using this for a potato bar. Can it be made or at least kept warm in a crockpot?
I haven’t tried but I think that would work well, Karen!
Great sauce, well balanced flavor
Can this be made ahead of time and frozen?
Hi Sheri, we have never tried freezing this cheese sauce. It should be okay frozen for up to a few months but it may change the texture once defrosted.
Recipe is perfect. Will use this for my scallop potatoes and Mac. Used exact measurements. At the end I added my “secret” additions, teaspoon of MSG and mustard.