This creamy cheese sauce recipe uses 3 cheeses, making it perfect on pasta, vegetables, or as a dip. Make this recipe soon, for any reason!
The love for cheese is strong here on TSRI!
One of our most popular recipes is a copycat recipe for Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Who can possibly resist flaky, buttery biscuits with cheese baked into the dough? Not us!
The base for almost every cheesy pasta dish we make is this simple homemade cheese sauce, made from scratch in 10 minutes!
Some cheesy facts
If you believe that cheese makes everything taste better, you are not alone! There is proof of that in these numbers.
In 2019, Americans consumed an average of 37 pounds of cheese per person.
While that may seem like a lot of cheese, it pales in comparison to the country of Denmark. The citizens of that country each eat an average of 62 pounds of cheese every year!
What you’ll need for this cheese sauce recipe
Note: This is just a partial list of ingredients. For a full ingredient list, with amounts, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Roux: All cheese sauce recipes start with a roux (pronounced ROO). This is a fancy French cooking term for a thickener made with equal parts of a fat (usually butter) and all-purpose flour.
- Milk: You need to add liquid to roux to create a pourable sauce. In the case of cheese sauce, the liquid is milk. You can use any type you prefer, but using milk with a higher percentage of fat, like whole milk or half & half, will give you the best results.
- Cheeses: Although this is a simple cheese sauce, we use three types of cheese. Not only do they add flavor, but each one of them adds an extra layer of creaminess to the sauce.
Velveeta cheese is the perfect choice for a creamy cheese sauce. For the best flavor, we use pepper jack and cheddar cheese.
To ensure that you have the creamiest sauce possible, buy blocks of cheese and shred them yourself.
This is because packages of shredded cheese have a chemical on them that prevents the shreds from clumping together.
Unfortunately, this chemical also prevents the cheese from melting well.
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Tips for making creamy cheese sauce
- Incorporate the milk slowly. If you add all of the milk to the roux at one time, the butter will not combine with the milk to thicken the sauce. As a result, the sauce will be thin and you will notice butter floating on the top of it.
- Add the cheese a little at a time. When making cheese sauces and cheese-based soups, be sure to add the cheese slowly, and add it at the end of the cooking time.
- Use low heat. Also, always cook and reheat the sauce over low and slow heat. To maintain a smooth consistency and prevent graininess, using low heat is absolutely necessary.
Uses and Serving Suggestions
You can make the sauce to use in a lot of different ways! Here are just a few ideas:
- Veggies – Use the cheese sauce for cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, or any other veggies. Picky eaters will gobble them up!
- Pasta – Use it to make macaroni and cheese, or serve it over any other type of pasta or noodles
- Breakfast – Serve over scrambled eggs or hashbrowns for breakfast or brunch.
- Loaded baked potatoes – Top a smoked baked potato or air fryer baked potato with some of this creamy sauce, some crumbled crispy bacon, sour cream, and chives!
- Nachos – it really needs no explanation but my favorite nachos ever are: pulled pork on tortilla chips with baked beans and this cheese sauce! Add a few jalapenos and a drizzle of barbecue sauce and you’ll be in heaven.
With love from our simple kitchen to yours.
Creamy Cheese Sauce Recipe with 3 Cheeses! + Video
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup freshly shredded pepper Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cut into chunks
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the flour, salt and cayenne pepper and whisk to combine. Cook for 1 minute to cook out the floury taste. Don’t skip this step. Trust me, floury sauce is not tasty, and cooking it for a minute will also brown the flour, adding a slight nuttiness to your cheese sauce.
- Add the milk, whisking constantly. Simmer until the sauce begins to steam, about 3 minutes. Decrease the heat to low.
- Add the cheeses a handful at a time, whisking after each addition until the cheese melts into the sauce. Lift your whisk out of the sauce. If there are still cheese shreds on the whisk, keep stirring. Continue adding the cheese and whisking until all the cheese is melted into the sauce, and then stir the sauce until it’s well-combined.
- The sauce will keep in the refrigerator in a mason jar for 3 to 4 days.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published June 2011, updated and republished August 2020
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