Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Recipe

Our Nacho Cheese recipe is the base for making many of your favorite copycat Taco Bell™ meals! The cheese sauce makes a fantastic party dip, too! All you need are 4 ingredients and 10 minutes to make the best ever Taco Bell nacho cheese!

tortilla chip dipped into taco bell nacho cheese sauce

The combination of Velveeta and evaporated milk creates a deliciously gooey texture.

A dash of cayenne plus a surprise ingredient, pickled jalapeño juice, add just enough heat to get your taste buds tingling.

Put it all together and you have one irresistible creamy smooth sauce that you’ll want to spoon over just about everything!

Nacho Cheese Recipe

It’s incredibly easy to make a homemade nacho cheese sauce, and it tastes so much better than any store bought sauce.

Plus, no more waiting in line at the restaurant! You can use this recipe to make a Taco Bell Beef Quesarito, Crunchwrap Supreme, or any other Mexican favorites.

It’s even great for dunking tortilla chips when you want an easy snack. Or, drizzle it over some seasoned tater tots for your very own cheesy fiesta potatoes!

nacho cheese recipe ingredients

How To Make Taco Bell Nacho Cheese

  1. Cube the Velveeta. Cutting the block into smaller pieces helps it melt down quicker and more evenly.
  2. Mix with remaining ingredients. Add the cheese cubes, evaporated milk, and cayenne pepper to a saucepan with some liquid from a jar of pickled jalapeños.
  3. Heat until melted. Stir over medium-low heat with a silicone spatula until everything is smooth and well combined. Milk and cheese can scorch easily if overheated, so be sure to stir constantly and scrape along the bottom of the pan. Keeping the heat low will help prevent this as well.
  4. Serve. Give it a quick taste — you may want to add more cayenne or brine. Transfer to a serving bowl and dig in while it’s hot!

cubes of velveeta in dutch oven

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Medium saucepan - This one heats evenly and is easy to clean too.
  • Use a sharp knife to cube the Velveeta in seconds.
  • Can opener - It seems like a no-brainer, but a good can opener can save your hands and a lot of frustration as well!
  • A sturdy silicone spatula can be used for scraping, stirring, and smoothing and is easy to clean too! 

making nacho cheese recipe in dutch oven

Nacho Cheese Recipe FAQ

What can I use instead of evaporated milk?

This nacho cheese sauce recipe uses evaporated milk to get the sauce silky and smooth. If you prefer, substitute fresh milk instead. Whole milk is best, but reduced-fat or skim milk should work too.

How do you make nacho cheese thicker?

The sauce should naturally thicken as it cools. If your Taco Bell nacho cheese is too thin, you can thicken it with a slurry. Mix a teaspoon or two of cornstarch with an equal amount of pickled jalapeno juice, then stir it into the sauce over medium heat. It should thicken up within a minute or two.

For a thinner consistency, simply stir in more evaporated milk.

What is Taco Bell nacho cheese made of?

While the exact ingredients remain a mystery, it appears that the fast food chain receives their sauce in powder form! Liquid is added to create the thick nacho cheese sauce.

taco bell nacho cheese in dutch oven

Prep Ahead Instructions

Since this nacho cheese sauce recipe comes together in minutes, there’s really no reason to make it ahead of time! Plus, it tastes best when it’s hot and fresh off the stove.

You can easily mix up a larger batch for parties if needed. Heat it back up before guests arrive, or keep it warm in a small crockpot or a fondue pot.

Be aware that a skin may form over the surface as the nacho cheese sauce sits. Just give it a good stir and it will be good as new!

tortilla chip with ooey gooey cheese sauce

How To Store Taco Bell Nacho Cheese

Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

To reheat Taco Bell nacho cheese, place it in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in additional evaporated milk, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

spoon of nacho cheese sauce over bowl


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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closeup: dipping tortilla chip into homemade cheese sauce

Yield: 10
Author: Donna Elick
dipping corn chip into taco bell nacho cheese

Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Recipe

This Nacho Cheese recipe can be used to make many different copycat Taco Bell recipes! Whip up a double batch for parties or a game day dip.

Prep time: 5 Min  Cook time: 10 Min  Total time: 15 Min


  • 16 ounces Velveeta cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 5 tablespoons pickled jalapeno juice (brine from a can of pickled jalapenos)


  1. Cut Velveeta into cubes and place in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add cayenne pepper, evaporated milk and 4-5 tablespoons brine from a can of pickled jalapenos.
  3. Heat over medium-low, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula until cheese is fully melted and sauce is combined.
  4. Taste for flavor and adjust with additional cayenne pepper and/or jalapeno brine.
  5. Serve hot; sauce thickens as it cools.
  1. Evaporated milk makes the nacho cheese sauce very smooth and silky. You can substitute fresh milk instead.
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Reheat over low heat on the stovetop, adding additional evaporated milk, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, stirring until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Cutting the Velveeta into cubes helps it to melt more quickly and evenly.
  4. Stir constantly and be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with a silicone spatula to prevent scorching. The milk/cheese scorches easily if overheated. Keep the heat on low or medium-low to prevent scorching.
  5. For thinner nacho cheese sauce, simply stir in more evaporated milk.

titled pinterest collage of nacho cheese sauce

Originally published May 2022


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  1. Can this be prepared in the slow cooker??

  2. Sounds good. Gonna make it!


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