Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce is quick and easy to make!
With just 5 natural ingredients and less than 10 minutes, you can have rich and creamy nacho cheese sauce for nachos, fries, or any game day snack!
If you’d rather skip my (very helpful, I think) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
I was always a sucker for nachos when I went to the movies.
Don’t get me wrong, I always ordered popcorn and candy too, but nachos are where it’s at!
Crunchy, cheesy, and they serve it in those handy dandy cups:)
Now some people say that it’s fake but I’m ok with it since I am inhaling copious amount of popcorn butter and salt and washing it down with a gallon of soda.
Go big or go home!
I jazzed mine up with extra pickled jalapeños so who cares!?!
Want to join me in enjoying some crunch tortilla chips dipped in cheesy, melty, drippy cheese sauce? Come on over!
Or check out the recipe below and celebrate at home:)
Why is it called Nacho Cheese?
Because basically it’s the melty cheese that is served with tortilla chips when you order nachos. It stays melty and smooth for a longer time which is perfect for dipping your chips in!
Not to mention, it’s better for spreading on other dishes and mixing in with other ingredients like ground beef and chicken to make super cheesy quesadillas and burritos.
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What’s in Nacho Cheese Sauce?
- evaporated milk
Evaporated Milk – If you don’t have evaporated milk you can use whole milk. I wouldn’t use reduced fat milk as the water in it can make your cheese sauce grainy.
Cheese – I prefer to grate my own mild or medium cheddar cheese. It will melt the best. the pre-shredded cheese you get in a bag contains anti-caking chemicals which can keep it from melting properly.
If you want to use the processed cheese like Velveeta or American cheese slices, that is fine but I feel the block cheese has the best flavor!
Spices – I like to use paprika and salt but you can use chili powder if you prefer!
How to make nacho cheese sauce from scratch?
STEP ONE: Place the flour and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to melt the butter, combine with the flour, and cook over medium heat until the flour no longer tastes raw and the mixture starts to bubble and look foamy.
Roughly 1-2 minutes.
STEP TWO: Slowly pour in the milk and stir to combine. Stirring constantly, cook until the mixture forms a thickened “sauce” that when a spoon dipped in and you run your finger through it, doesn’t bleed back into the space.
STEP THREE: Reduce the heat to low and add the grated cheese. Keep stirring until all the cheese is melted and a smooth sauce is formed.
STEP FOUR: Remove from the heat and stir in the spices. Serve warm with chips!
For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
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What is the best way to melt cheese for nachos?
The best way to get your cheese to melt smooth is to use whole cheese (not pre-shredded), add it to your milk mixture in a few batches instead of all at one time, and keep your stove on the lowest setting so it doesn’t burn.
Can I freeze it?
You can freeze it, but it will separate when thawed. You will need to reheat it, with a small amount of milk, and whisk until combined and smooth again.
How long does it last?
You can keep it in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 4 days. If it lasts that long!
How do I reheat it?
The best way to reheat your cheese sauce is in the microwave at 30 second intervals until nice and smooth. If it seems thick, you can add a tablespoon or two of milk to thin it out.
You can also put it in a saucepan and reheat it on the stove top over medium-low heat.
Take Two Tapas Tips
- use a block of cheese and shred it yourself. You will get a smoother and creamier sauce.
- make sure you cook the flour and butter for at least a minute to cook out the raw flour flavor or your sauce will have a chalky taste.
- mild cheddar is the best flavor without being overly sharp and seems to be the one that will be loved by everyone
- switch up your flavors a bit by adding Rotel, pico, or diced jalapeños to the cheese once it’s melted.
- you can switch out the paprika for chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, or cayenne pepper for even more flavor!
- if the pan is too hot when adding the cheese, turn off heat and remove pan for a minute or two.
- keep it warm in a crock pot or slow cooker while you have your party!
If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!
others dips to try
Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe
- 3 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 can ( ounces) evaporated milk
- 10 ounces mild cheddar cheese (grated by hand)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour.
- Stir to combine and cook over medium heat until the flour no longer tastes raw and the mixture starts to bubble and look foamy
- Slowly pour in the milk and stir to combine. Stirring constantly, cook until the mixture forms a thickened “sauce” that when a spoon dipped in and you run your finger through it, doesn’t bleed back into the space.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the grated cheese.
- Keep stirring until all the cheese is melted and a smooth sauce is formed.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the spices. Serve warm with chips!
*If you love this recipe as much as I do, please leave me a comment and rate it 5 stars. Thank you!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 276mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 6g
This nutrition information was generated via a third party. I can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.
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