An exquisite, Creamy Cheese Sauce made with cheddar cheese – perfect over nachos, pasta, potatoes and steamed vegetables.
An easy, creamy cheese sauce recipe is a must-have in your cooking repertoire. You will never have to buy another box of kraft dinner again! Start off with a basic roux, add in the tangy flavor of sharp cheddar and BOOM, creamy cheese sauce. It’s simple, delicious and much healthier than any store bought version.
A roux is a mixture of equal parts butter and flour, whisked and cooked together and it’s used as a thickener in sauces. This recipe showcases how simple ingredients can come together to make a delectable, out of this world sauce.
Almost no prep and made in a matter of minutes, it will save you time and energy when you’re cooking. It’s the perfect addition to amplify any basic dish to make it a stand-out crowd pleaser.
Keep scrolling to the printable recipe card for FULL ingredient amounts and instructions or click the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the page!
- Butter – I used unsalted to control the sodium level.
- Flour – I used all-purpose flour.
- Salt and Pepper – To taste.
- Milk – I used 2% for a creamier consistency – feel free to use your preference.
- Cheese – Cheddar, mild or sharp. You can use your favourite type of cheese to make different varieties of cheese sauce if you’d like!
How to make cheese sauce
- Make a Roux – Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
- Add Milk – Whisk in the salt and pepper. Gradually add in milk, while continuously whisking. Continue to cook and whisk until slightly thick.
- Add Cheese – Remove the saucepan from heat. Add in the cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese has melted and is smooth.
The difference between sharp and mild cheddar
You might end up at the store buying cheese and leaving confused. Cheese comes in a plethora of different varieties, but today we are talking about cheddar because that is what I used in this particular recipe. Cheddar cheese can range from mild to old and can be categorized by a variety of different “sharpness” levels. I gave the option between mild or sharp cheddar because I feel their flavor profiles work best for this sauce.
Sharpness attributes to how “tangy” or how much “bite” the cheese has, which comes from how long the cheese has been aged. Aging is the only difference between mild and sharp cheddar, therefore the longer the cheese has aged naturally, the sharper and more pronounced the cheddar flavor becomes. Mild Cheddar is typically aged for around 2 to 3 months, whereas an extra sharp could go through the aging process for as long as a year.
Can I make this in advance?
One of my favourite things about this creamy cheese sauce is that it can be made ahead of time! Prepare your sauce, cool it until it is room temperature, and transfer it into an airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, and then reheated in a saucepan over low heat when ready to use. Convenient!
What to serve with creamy cheese sauce
This cheese sauce is so versatile, it can be poured over anything – nachos, veggies, you can even make the BEST homemade mac & cheese you’ll ever have with it. I like to pour mine over cooked broccoli to make the ultimate side dish or atop a baked potato – dreamy. Trust me, once you try it, there’s no going back – say goodbye to store bought cheese sauce!
How to store leftovers
As mentioned above, you can store your cheese sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Did you like this sauce recipe? Try these!
- Enchilada Sauce
- Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Bechamel Sauce
- Marinara Sauce
- Homemade Tzatziki Sauce
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Chile Con Queso
- 1 Ingredient Caramel Sauce
- Chimichurri Sauce
- Crockpot Queso Blanco
- Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce
- Balsamic Glaze
Creamy Cheese Sauce
- 3 tbsp butter, unsalted
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper, ground
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, mild or sharp
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
- Whisk in the salt and pepper. Gradually add in milk about 1/4 cup at a time, while continuously whisking. Continue to cook and whisk until slightly thick.
- Remove the saucepan from heat. Add in the chedder cheese and stir until the cheese has melted and is smooth.
- Recipe yields about 2 cups.
- Nutritional information is per 1/4 cup.
- Serve over pasta (to make mac and cheese), steamed broccoli, baked potatoes.
- Store your cheese sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.