Ingredients For Nacho Cheese Sauce
Heres what you need to make a finger-licking nacho cheese sauce:
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese 0r a combo of cheddar and Monterey jack, or your favorite!
- Seasoning: salt and pepper
- Spices chilli powder, oregano, garlic powder
- Flavorings minced jalapenos, scallions, cilantro, pickled jalapeno
If you want to make it creamier, you can increase the amount of butter and cheese.
Whats In Nacho Cheese Sauce
Butter Use unsalted butter for this recipe. This way you can control the salt.
Flour All purpose flour is best. I havent tested this recipe with any other flour or flour substitutes.
Evaporated Milk If you dont have evaporated milk you can use whole milk. I wouldnt 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 real 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. I prefer Sharp Cheddar but you can use Colby Jack.
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!
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Using Fresh Grated Cheese
Pre shredded cheese is not the way to go for this recipe, as fresh just tastes so much better and makes a big difference in the quality of the nacho cheese sauce.
For a super thick sauce, just leave it on the heat a little longer, watching and stirring so that it doesnt burn.
This nacho cheese recipe is similar to my cheddar cheese sauce recipe , but made with colby jack cheese and mexican spices to create a nacho cheese flavor.
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Why Should You Try It
- Quick – This is ready in just 2 minutes and all done in the microwave.
- Comfort food – A smooth cheese sauce smothered over tortilla chips is total comfort food.
- Serves a crowd – You can easily double or triple this recipe if you are serving a crowd.
- Adaptable – Feel free to adapt it to make it as spicy or as mild as you like.
- Cheap – Using cheese slices makes this a budget friendly recipe.
Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce
Nacho Cheese Sauce is ridiculously easy to make, and tastes so much better than store bought. Enjoy it as a dip or on a plate of nachos.
Nacho Cheese Sauce is ridiculously easy to make, and tastes so much better than store bought. Enjoy it as a dip or on a plate of nachos.
Nacho cheese sauce is so stinkin delicious. It is basically a cheese gravy, and whats not to like about that? This is good as a dip with tortilla chips, or on a giant plate of nachos. However you like it, you are going to love this cheese sauce.
Lets talk cheese choices. You have many options when it comes to nacho cheese sauce, and they are all delicious in their own unique ways. Velveeta is a processed American cheese, and is a standard option when it comes to nacho cheese sauce. It will be thicker, smoother, and creamier than a shredded cheese. You can also use your standard cheddar cheese or other favorite melting cheese, which will make a thinner, slightly grainer sauce.
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Uses For Nacho Cheese:
Nacho cheese is SO very versatile! You can use it as a dip as is, or mix in some pico de gallo into it.
It goes great with all kinds of different meats, so feel free to use it all of your favorite nacho recipes. Use it on sandwiches, tacos, burritos, and other wraps.
You can even top off your beef enchiladas or chicken enchiladas with it talk about ultimate comfort food!
I mean really, isnt everything a little better with nacho cheese?!
Homemade Nacho Cheese Recipe
Ive always been a fan of those nachos you get at the ballpark or movie theaters. Sure, you can get nachos baked and covered with all kinds of toppings, but sometimes Im a simple gal, who just wants to dip some tortilla chips in a bowl of hot cheese dip.
This homemade nacho cheese recipe is the perfect EASY cheese dip to make for simple nachos. Just whip it up on the stove top, and youve got a hot and cheesy dip ready in no time. It gets so thick and bubbly, and its just perfect with classic tortilla chips. Everyone LOVES this dip on game day.
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How To Melt Cheese For Nachos
Nachos are a great way to feed a crowd.
Theyre easy, theyre fun, and they can be customized to suit anyones taste!
But when youre making nachos, one thing is certain: You need to melt your cheese!
So, how do you melt cheese for nachos?
The best way to melt cheese for nachos is to use a microwave, or heat on the stovetop. To melt cheese in the microwave, put the grated cheese in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Heat for 15 seconds at a time until all of the cheese is melted.
If youre using a stovetop, place the grated cheese in a pan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until all of the cheese is melted.
If you want other ways to get your cheese melted just right, heres how:
What Kind Of Flour Can I Use
You can use regular all-purpose flour for this recipe, we used gluten free 1-1 flour. But, you can even use self-rising flour if thats all you have!
A word of caution, I have not gone out of my way to experiment with wheat flour or even other gluten-free alternatives like almond flour or coconut flour.
So, I cant say that those ones work, but youre welcome to try it out and then come back to comment how your cheese sauce turned out. I am very genuinely curious if it works with other flours.
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Can I Use Whole Milk Instead Of Evaporated Milk
Yes, although the sauce will have a much thinner consistency because fresh milk is lower in fat, milk solids, and protein. It also doesnt contain thickening agents like carrageenan that give a velvety texture. The difference is that when the cheese sauce cools down, the whole milk version will not thicken as quickly for a slightly longer dipping time.
Variations On Nacho Cheese Sauce
Want to vary it up? Here are a few ways to make give this nacho cheese sauce different flavors:
- Stir in diced green chilis. Add 1 4-ounce can green chilis for a spicier, chunky spin.
- Add pico de gallo. This makes a zingy, tasty cheese dip.
- Make it vegan. Try our amazing Vegan Nacho Cheese: its just as delicious .
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Best Cheese For Microwave Nachos
Ive tried pretty much every cheese in the cheese drawer for quick microwave nacho snack plates. I think the best cheese for these is a mix of Monterey Jack and cheddar.
Monterey Jack is the best for melting. It really melts beautifully and isnt too strong in flavor. A little cheddar gives some sharpness to the cheese mix, but if you just have Monterey Jack thats fine.
American cheese also does okay in a pinch, but has a weird texture once it cools which is inevitable for a microwave plate of nachos.
How Do You Make A Quick Cheese Sauce
The answer is simply: cornstarch.
Once I realized the cornstarch trick, I make all of my cheese sauce recipes this way!
Cornstarch is now a time saving staple in my home.
You cant taste it, and it makes dinner time a heck of a lot easier.
Once we first made this recipe, I had to make it three times in one week because I just could not get enough of it!
The homemade nacho cheese just takes nacho night to the next level.
It literally takes five minutes to make and tastes so good I really cant even prepare you for the deliciousness.
Since first posting this recipe, I have made this countless times and even served it at a party.
From easy dinners to party appetizers, you really cant go wrong with a batch of this cheesy goodness!
It reminds me of going to a mexican restaurant and filling up on chips and cheese.
I could totally do that with this recipe!
I love this cheese sauce plain with tortilla chips, or drizzled generously over whatever mexican dish we are having that night.
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Tips For Cheese Sauce Success
Here are a few tips to help make sure your nacho cheese sauce is a success:
- Make sure to cook the flour in the butter for one minute. This helps cook out the floury flavor.
- Use medium cheddar for smoother results. Sharp cheddar tends to break or become grainy easier than medium cheddar.
- Remove the pot from the heat before stirring in the cheese. Overheating the sauce once the cheese has been added can cause the sauce to seize up and become thick and/or grainy. If needed, use only low heat to help the cheese fully melt.
- Use block cheese and hand shred it when possible. Pre-shredded cheeses sometimes contain a lot of anti-caking powders, which can cause a powdery flavor in your cheese sauce.
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.The equipment section above contains affiliate links to products we use and love. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
How Spicy Is This Nacho Cheese Sauce
That completely depends how spicy you want it. I can tolerate a little spice and I LOVE this homemade cheese sauce. In fact, sometimes I add even more hot sauce and cayenne than the recipe lists below. If you dont like spice, leave both out.
Feel free to adjust the amount of spice based on your heat tolerance.
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Quick And Easy Nacho Cheese Recipe
02/01/21 | Appetizers, Mexican, Recipes
This nacho cheese sauce is sharp and creamy, and everything you ever dreamed of smothering over nachos, veggies, or a giant pretzel.
Hey, friend, you ever marvel at that super creamy nacho cheese sauce you get at restaurants and movie theaters and wish you could make it at home? I have just the recipe for you.
This nacho cheese sauce is sharp and creamy, just as spicy as you want it to be, and everything you ever dreamed of smothering over nachos, veggies, or a giant pretzel .
To make it, you just need 5 minutes, AND my secret creamy cheese sauce weapon: evaporated milk.
And I know this might not be something you keep in your pantry. If thats the case, and you need cheese sauce NOW, no worries, go make my classic Homemade Cheese Sauce. Its made with butter, milk, and flour, so you probably have the ingredients, and its GREAT.
But if you have evaporated milk in your pantry or are going shopping before making this, grab a can and give this recipe a try. You will not be disappointed.
What Are The Best Chips For Nachos
While I dont know if its the perfect chip, I do believe that a corn tortilla cut into wedges and fried at home is the sturdiest. Heres how to make your own tortilla chips!
But lets be real, many of us dont have the time or desire to fry homemade tortilla chips. Many grocery stores now sell bagged tortilla chips that were fried in-house or locally. Check out your supermarkets bakery section to see if they have them. They tend to be thicker and sturdier, which makes them great for nachos.
If those are unavailable, regular store-bought triangular corn tortilla chips also work great for nachosjust definitely avoid the thin kind. You want thick tortilla chips so they dont break when you lift them!
If you have younger children, or older grandparents who have trouble eating, I recommend using round tortilla chips since the pointed ends of the triangular-shaped chips can sometimes be cumbersome for those diners.
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The Absolute Best Type Of Cheese For Nachos
If you like both tortilla chips and cheese, chances are you like nachos too. All nacho recipes start out with those two ingredients, and from there you can customize them to your liking. Bobby Flay, for example, likes to make his sweet and sour with pickled onions or chiles and fresh Fresno or jalapeño peppers. Adding meat is always a popular option as well, and there are even different nontraditional styles, including Indian and Irish.
While there are plenty of interesting toppings that can elevate the flavor of your nachos, it’s really the cheese that holds it all together. Without the right type of cheese, or worse, no cheese at all, your nachos just won’t taste the same. Ever wonder why you don’t normally see nachos made with cheeses like parmesan or feta? The answer has everything to do with taste, texture, and meltability.
Take these factors into consideration when selecting cheese for your nachos and you’ll have perfect results every time.
How To Keep Nacho Cheese Warm:
- You can use a warming plate.
- Another idea is a small crock pot. This small 1.5 quart crock pot is perfect if it is just for family or a small group. We use this a lot when we make dip recipes. They are inexpensive and super handy. Now, if you are making it for a crowd or throwing a party, you might want double the recipe and use a 3 quart crock pot to have more room.
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Ingredients In This Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe
Its quick and simple to make a nacho cheese sauce at home, and requires just a handful of ingredients. The secret ingredient here? Evaporated milk. This magical substance gives the stretchy body to the sauce and makes it easily re-heatable. Heres what youll need:
- Mild to medium cheddar cheese: Use block cheese if possible. Bags of shredded cheese have additives that can make it come out grainy. If you can, shred your own cheese off a block. Also avoid using an aged cheddar, as the flavor is much too strong.
- Cornstarch: This makes the magic with the evaporated milk. Use arrowroot powder as a substitute if desired.
- Plain evaporated milk: Make sure to buy plain evaporated milk, not sweetened! See below for more about this key ingredient.
- Onion powder, garlic powder and salt
- Mexican hot sauce: we like Cholula brand.
The Best Serving Temperature
Because cheese solidifies around 90ºF , its best to enjoy the sauce while still warm, above 110ºF . The texture will be more dippable, with a thick coating, but not heavy like pudding. Consuming within 30 to 40 minutes has the best taste.
It takes about 1 hour for it to get closer to room temperature. Youll notice the sauce firm up more due to starch retrogradation, where the gelatinized starches realign to create a gel-like texture. At that point, if you have any dip left, give it a quick reheat.
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Spicy Nacho Cheese Sauce
This is my favorite recipe for cheese dipping sauce. This spicy nacho cheese sauce is absolutely awesome with veggies, soft pretzels, and nachos! None of that processed stuff, either.
Seriously! What is better than a bowl of silky, creamy, spicy nacho cheese sauce? Nothing. A far cry from processed, this spicy nacho cheese sauce is to die for. I love serving it with soft pretzel bites or pouring on top of a big bowl of broccoli. Its how I get everyone to their vegetables. Just kidding but not really.
Making nacho cheese sauce at home is not difficult. Its actually one of the easiest and quickest little recipes around. There is no excuse to buy anything from a can or from a jar. Homemade cheese sauce, made from real sharp cheddar cheese, is the only way to go. Plus, it tastes worlds better.
I love serving this spicy nacho cheese sauce right from the stove when its warm. But this cheese sauce keeps well covered tightly in the refrigerator for about 1 week. Just heat it up before serving its a great item to make ahead before the guests arrive.
Why Evaporated Milk Makes The Sauce More Creamy
Evaporated milk contains two ingredients that may be unfamiliar. Dipotassium phosphate prevents the milk from turning into curds when heated. Carrageenan helps stabilize, emulsify, and thicken milk products. During testing, I noticed a more creamy smooth texture when using evaporated milk than whole milk, which gave a thinner consistency. It made the difference! You can substitute milk, but the sauce will be runnier.
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Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe
It really doesnt get better than this liquid gold drizzled over crispy tortilla chips. Forget that snack youre used to eating at movie theaters and stadiums, my nacho cheese dip is so much tastier and creamier. I love that its a super easy recipe that you can quickly whip up on the stovetop.
This easy cheese dip is great as a last minute party dip for unexpected guests, or make a double batch for a party and keep it warm in a crockpot. If Im being totally honest, Ill make this just on movie night for me and my hubby! It definitely satisfies those late night cheesy cravings.
So load up a plate with your favorite chips or veggies and whip up this yummy dip for your next movie night, game day party or just when the craving hits.