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
4.9 / 28 votes
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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. Terrific to hear, Melissa! We tested this recipe over and over, tweaking it slightly each time, to get rid of a few glitches we experienced with the original recipe. We’re so pleased to hear that you had such an incredible experience because that’s exactly why we do what we do. Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know! And looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

  1. 5 stars
    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!

    1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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! 🙂

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

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