Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Cheddar cheese sauce is an easy, creamy, indispensable, and versatile homemade go-to in your recipe repertoire, whether destined for burgers, tater tots, broccoli, chili, nachos, cauliflower, baked potatoes…get the picture? Here’s how to make it.

Cheddar cheese sauce being ladled over a chili-topped burger.

Adapted from Spike Mendelsohn | The Good Stuff Cookbook | Wiley, 2010

This Cheddar cheese sauce creates a spectacular cheese sauce so stupendously rich and gooey and versatile you’ll want to slather it onto everything by the ladleful. And when we say everything, we mean everything, including the ridiculously indulgent Uncle D’s Chili and Cheddar Burger. Or a classic Uncle D’s Chili. Or a baked potato. Or a roasted sweet potato. Or fries. Or broccoli. Or macaroni. Or nachos. Or cauliflower. Or tater tots. Or, well, use your imagination. Any which way, this recipe is a keeper. As the author says, “Warm, oozing cheese is never a bad idea.” Amen to that.–Renee Schettler

CAN YOU REHEAT CHEDDAR CHEESE SAUCE?

Reheating cheese sauce can seem like a daunting task—all that solidified dairy, seemingly immovable. But wait, it can be done. The best way to do it, is not in the microwave, but on the stovetop. Slowly reheating over low heat, and stirring frequently, is the best way to ensure a smooth sauce on the second day.

Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Cheddar cheese sauce being ladled over a chili-topped burger.
Cheddar cheese sauce is an easy, creamy, indispensable, and versatile homemade go-to in your recipe repertoire, whether destined for burgers, tater tots, broccoli, chili, nachos, cauliflower, baked potatoes...get the picture? Here's how to make it.
Spike Mendelsohn

Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 15 mins
Condiment
American
8 servings
95 kcal
4.89 / 27 votes
Print RecipeBuy the The Good Stuff Cookbook cookbook

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Ingredients 

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) 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

Directions
 

  • Pour the milk in a large saucepan, place it over medium heat, and let it warm until you see small bubbles forming along the edge of the pan.
  • Meanwhile, in another saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the bubbling butter and stir constantly until a thick paste, or roux, forms. It may become quite thick and almost paste-like. This is okay. And if it doesn’t become crazy thick, that’s okay, too. Expect this to take 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Constantly whisking, slowly pour the warm milk into the flour and butter mixture in a steady stream. Continue cooking and 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 and whisk constantly until it completely melts. Season with the cayenne or hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste. If you’re the fussy sort, you can strain the sauce through a sieve to remove any lumps before serving. The sauce will thicken even more upon cooling.
Print RecipeBuy the The Good Stuff Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 95kcal (5%)Carbohydrates: 2g (1%)Protein: 4g (8%)Fat: 8g (12%)Saturated Fat: 5g (31%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 24mg (8%)Sodium: 382mg (17%)Potassium: 30mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 324IU (6%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 112mg (11%)Iron: 1mg (6%)


Originally published June 17, 2010

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Comments

  1. How long will this stay good for? I do meal prep & this would rock my food world if it holds for the whole week.

  2. It should be noted if you buy the cookbook, there is an error in the measurements (Kindle version). The above is correct, the flour and fat (butter) should be equal amounts when making a roux but in the cookbook, the measurements are 1/4 cup of butter and 1 cup of flour (the recipe above is half portion of the cookbook recipe). That should be a 1/4 cup of flour if the butter is 1/4 cup. Just an FYI for those that buy the book as I did…that would make one floury tasting roux! Yuk 😉

    1. Toby, thank you for this. Yes, we did correct the measurements in the above recipe to what worked for us, as we had a not-so-nice experience when first trying the recipe but did see the potential. Thanks for alerting folks!

  3. The PERFECT cheddar for this simple sauce is Old Quebec Vintage 3-year cheddar. The bite and total flavor cannot be beat.

    1. Magnificent, Ruth! We’re so relieved to hear that! Trying anything the first time can be a little anxiety inducing. That’s human! Glad you persevered and were so pleased with the results! Looking forward to hearing about other firsts that you try from our site!

        1. The type of Cheddar you use will affect the color, Donald. So go for the darkest orange you can find. Also, if you want to amp up the hue even more you could add some crushed saffron dissolved in a touch of water (although that’s a pricey fix!) or a small pinch of ground turmeric without affecting the flavor.

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