Cheddar Cheese Sauce Recipe

Cheddar Cheese Sauce Recipe

There’s always a reason to have Cheddar cheese sauce on hand—everything goes with it. Warm, oozing cheese is never a bad idea.–Spike Mendelsohn

LC Any Which Way Note

This recipe, adapted from the one found in The Good Stuff Cookbook, creates an uber cheesy sauce that you’ll want to slather on everything by the ladleful. And when Spike says it goes with everything, he really means everything, including the ridiculously indulgent Uncle D’s Chili and Cheddar Burger. Or just Uncle D’s Chili. Or a baked potato. Or french fries. Or, well, use your imagination. Any which way, it’s a keeper.

Cheddar Cheese Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 15 M
  • Makes just shy of 2 cups


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne or store-bought or homemade hot sauce, to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1. Heat the milk in a large saucepan over medium heat until you see bubbles forming on top.
  • 2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the top, stirring constantly until a thick paste forms, 1 to 2 minutes. (In classic French cuisine, a mixture of flour and fat such as this is known as a roux. In reality, this mixture is known to behave differently in every kitchen, so don’t be alarmed if it becomes quite thick.)
  • 3. Slowly add the warm milk to the flour and butter paste in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Continue cooking, whisking almost constantly until the mixture thickens considerably, about 5 minutes. It should be thick but still spreadable and perhaps even pourable. Add the cheese, whisking constantly until it has melted. Season with the cayenne or hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste. If you want to be fussy about it, you can strain the sauce through a sieve to remove any lumps before serving. The sauce will thicken upon cooling.
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  1. RisaG says:

    This looks rich and almost like Cheez Whiz. I have to try this.

  2. Nick says:

    So I tried this and ended up with a SUPER thick, tasteless glop. I was imagining something a little more like the picture. Is a cup of flour too much for the roux? Any ideas on how to make it a little more velveeta and a little less play dough?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Nick, thanks for letting us know your experience. We’d tested it to great effect—it came out thick yet with ample flavor. We’ve retested and tweaked the recipe, reducing the flour but not the cheese flavor. Our apologies for your disappointment the first time through. We assure you, this version that now appears on the site will be much more to your liking…

    • jennalynnd says:

      A cup of flour would be for 8 cups of milk using a 2-2-1 ratio. For 1 cup of milk, the most I would use is a roux of 2 T butter and flour. Flavor is going to largely rely on your cheese -this is not a place to use a mild cheese. You might also try adjusting your seasoning and adding a shot of hot sauce or a pinch of nutmeg.

      • Beth Price says:

        You are so right, Jennalynnd. We tweaked the original recipe to conform to the standard proportions for a roux.

    • Linde says:

      The original recipe called for 2 cups milk and 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup flour, 1 cup cheese plus spices.

      • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

        Yep, it does, Linde. And we tested it that way and it wasn’t pleasant. We found that with these tweaks, it made for a better consistency and taste.

  3. RisaG says:

    1 cup sounds like way too much. More like a couple of tablespoons. Is this a misprint? I don’t have the book but it is on my wish list.

    • David Leite says:

      RisaG, it’s not a misprint, as that’s what’s in the book. We’re going to test it one more time and report back.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      We’ve retested and tweaked the recipe, RisaG. Give it a whirl now…with confidence.

  4. Melissa says:

    I just made this recipe from Spike’s book, as is. Wish I had looked your version up first. That roux was much too thick! Thanks for helping your readers out. I’ll certainly try your roux measurements. But, do you think there’s a way to fix it? I don’t want to have to do it all over again!

    • David Leite says:

      Melissa, you can try to use the existing sauce as a base, adding some milk, cheese, and butter to it to avoid making it all over again. But I suggest starting fresh. With only 2 tablespoons of flour, it is much simpler than the version in the book.

  5. Rebekah Wilhelm says:

    Delicious. Simply delicious.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Excellent to hear, Rebekah. Excellent. Let us know what else, if anything, you decide to smother in it. Though remember, please, we have kids reading the site…

  6. vgts900 says:

    Made this tonight to go over broccoli. My husband and his dad loved it. Thanks for the tweaked recipe. It is perfect.

  7. Sara says:

    This looks great can’t wait to try it! I hate using Velveeta because of the VERY HIGH sodium content! This looks great I am even going to add some Dijon Mustard. The recipe I have used in the past (using Velveeta) called for the mustard. It gives it a great tangy flavor without overpowering the cheese flavor and it makes you want to dip everything in it! I think the real cheese is going to make a great change. Thanks for recipe! :-)

  8. Jose says:

    Looks like it’s going to be a great cheese sauce!! Can’t wait to try this!.. Just have a few questions.. Can you refrigerate this sauce and use it whenever you need it to? Do you need to add anything or just heat it up every time you are going to use it? How much time will it last?

    Thank you for your help!

  9. Clare says:

    Delicious! I made it with some super strong cheddar and it was just perfect — not too thick and not too watery. I reheated some later in the microwave but it didn’t taste as good. I guess I will just have to eat it all in one go next time!

    • David Leite says:

      Clare, the microwave is pretty bad when it comes to foods like this. Next time, add the sauce to a double boiler and heat it slowly. I think you’ll find a big difference.

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