Homemade Cheese Sauce

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 12 servings

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This Homemade Cheese Sauce is a 6-ingredient, 15 minute recipe for the richest, creamiest cheese sauce. Serve it on veggies, with nachos, over pasta, you name it!

piece of broccoli being dipped into cheese sauce
Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients Needed:
  2. How to Make Cheese Sauce
  3. Homemade Cheese Sauce FAQs
  4. Tips and Notes
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. More Easy Sauce Recipes
  7. Homemade Cheese Sauce Recipe

This Cheese Sauce is one of those basic and simple yet incredibly delicious recipes that’s just good to know. Why? Because it is so darn versatile!

Whether you’re wanting an extra cheesy pasta, a big plate of cheesy nachos, a way to dress up your Roasted Veggies or Air Fryer Broccoli, or maybe even just a big bowl of plain cheese sauce to slurp down like soup (just me?), this 15 minute, 6-ingredient recipe has you covered!

Keep this sauce as-is or customize it with different spices and add-ins!

Ingredients Needed:

  • Butter: I always use unsalted butter so I can add salt to taste.
  • All-Purpose Flour: whisked into the butter to make a roux which helps thicken the sauce.
  • Milk: any kind of milk will work. The richer the milk, the richer the sauce.
  • Shredded Cheese: I keep it classic with shredded cheddar, but other types of melty cheese will work too. Whatever you do, shred your own!
  • Salt and Pepper: or other seasonings to taste.
ingredients needed to make cheddar sauce on white background

How to Make Cheese Sauce

This homemade Cheese Sauce comes together in a total of 15 minutes!

  1. Make the roux: Melt butter over medium heat, then whisk in flour until smooth.
  2. Add milk and cheese: Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thickened. Stir in the cheese, whisking constantly until melted.
  3. Season and serve: Season as desired, then serve warm.

Homemade Cheese Sauce FAQs

What is a Cheese Sauce made of?

Homemade cheese sauce consists of cheese, milk, a roux made up of butter and flour, and the seasonings of your choice. It’s incredibly simple and so delicious!

What is a good melting cheese for sauce?

I love to keep it classic with sharp cheddar, but any melty cheese works great. Try Asiago, white cheddar, fontina, gouda, gruyere, havarti, Monterey jack, mozzarella, you name it. You can even use a combination. Whatever you do, shred the cheese yourself! Pre-shredded cheese includes anti-caking agents which prevent it from melting smoothly.

How to store:

Leftover sauce will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. To reheat, warm in the microwave or on low on the stove until heated through. You may want to add a splash of milk or water to thin the sauce when reheating.

overhead image of a chip being dipped into cheese sauce

Tips and Notes

  • Shred your own cheese! Freshly shredded cheese is the key to a smooth and creamy texture. Pre-shredded cheeses contain an anti-caking agent that can result in a gritty texture.
  • Heat on low. It can be tempting to crank the heat up in the hopes that the cheese melts faster. I get it. But cooking on medium/low allows the cheese to melt without clumping. It’s worth the extra time. Trust me!
  • Lighten it up. If you want to make a lightened up version, swap the cream out for half chicken broth and half milk or cream. It won’t be quite as rich, but will still be delicious.
  • Play with flavor. This recipe is basic for a reason. So you can play around with it! Add 1/2-1 teaspoon of taco seasoning or chili powder to make nacho cheese sauce, spice it up with cayenne pepper, chili peppers, or diced green chiles, kick the heat up with a drizzle of hot sauce…you really can’t go wrong!

Serving Suggestions

This incredible sauce is also incredibly versatile! Here are a few ways you can serve it:

More Easy Sauce Recipes

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Homemade Cheese Sauce

5 from 55 votes
This Homemade Cheese Sauce is a 6-ingredient, 15 minute recipe for the richest, creamiest cheese sauce. Serve it on veggies, with nachos, over pasta, you name it!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Cuisine American
Course Appetizer, Sauces and Condiments
Servings 12 servings
Calories 68cal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (60 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (63 grams)
  • 1 ¾ cups milk (any kind*)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or another kind)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in flour until smooth, then gradually whisk in the milk.
  • Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in cheese until melted. Add additional milk for a thinner sauce if desired.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Tips:
  • *You can use any kind of milk or even light cream in this recipe! The richer the milk, the richer the sauce. If you want to go lighter, skim milk works. If you want rich flavor, opt for whole milk and a splash of cream. You can lighten this recipe even further by using half chicken broth and half milk.
  • Shred your own cheese! Pre-shredded cheeses contain an anti-caking agent that can result in a gritty texture.
  • Heat on low. Cooking on medium/low allows the cheese to melt without clumping. It’s worth the extra time.
  • Play with flavor. This recipe is basic for a reason. Play around with it! Add 1/2-1 teaspoon of taco seasoning or chili powder to make nacho cheese sauce, spice it up with cayenne pepper, chili peppers, or diced green chiles, kick the heat up with a drizzle of hot sauce…you really can’t go wrong!
 
Storage:
Leftover sauce will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. To reheat, warm in the microwave or on low on the stove until heated through. You may want to add a splash of milk or water to thin the sauce when reheating.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 68cal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 131mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords cheese sauce, cheese sauce for broccoli, nacho cheese sauce

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

    • Dave says

      Used this recipe on my chicken florentine crepes (half cheddar half swiss ) turned out great. Shredding the cheese yourself does make it turn out better. I doubt I will ever buy shredded cheese again. Thanks!

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