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
Creamy Cheese Sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper or a pinch
- 1 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
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.)