This creamy Homemade Cheese Sauce is ready in 10 minutes and guaranteed to be your kids’ favorite! You can drizzle this cheesy, rich sauce over just about everything from vegetables, fries, chili dogs, to warm soft pretzels.
Creamy Cheddar Cheese Sauce Recipe
We feel like this Homemade Cheese Sauce recipe should come with a warning… make it once, and you’ll want to make it over and over again! It’s truly that addictive. You’ll be drizzling it over broccoli and french fries, dipping pretzels in it (soft or crunchy), loading up a chili dog with it, etc.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, though, let’s talk about how easy it is to make this sauce. Everything starts with a roux. Then you’ll stir in the milk and seasonings, and then whisk in the shredded cheddar cheese. The result is a thick, creamy cheddar cheese sauce that you’ll want to eat straight from the pan with a spoon!
It takes just 10 minutes to whip together, and the whole family will absolutely adore it. So, make it as a dip, for a plate of game day nachos, as a hot dog topping, or for just about any other reason – we promise you will be finding all kinds of fun ways to enjoy this cheese sauce once you try that first bite!
What Makes This Homemade Cheese Sauce So Good?
What’s so great about this cheese sauce recipe? Well, to start, lots of butter plus lots of melted cheese equals lots to love. More specifically, though, we love homemade cheese sauce because:
- Flavor: The sharp cheddar cheese combines with the spicy cayenne and the fattiness in the butter to create a rich, creamy sauce that everyone will find irresistible! But don’t worry, it’s not spicy, the pinch of cayenne pepper gives your sauce a great depth of flavor. Our kids gobble this up!
- Quick and Easy: It only takes 10 minutes total to whisk this sauce together, and the most difficult part is the stirring! Make sure you have all the ingredients ready to go, it really does move quick!
- Picky-Eater Approved: Struggling to get your kids to eat some veggies? Pour some of this cheese sauce over them, and they’ll dig right in!
Time for a quick overview of today’s ingredients. Note that you can find the exact amounts for each ingredient in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is necessary to create a roux (a mixture of flour and fat – in this case we use butter), which will be the base for your sauce.
- Butter: You can use salted or unsalted butter, either is fine for this recipe.
- Milk: Whole milk makes for the creamiest cheese sauce, but lower percentages of milk can still be used. Your sauce will just be a little less creamy.
- Seasoning: We like to use a mix of onion powder, salt, and cayenne (for a bit of kick!).
- Cheese: Shredded cheddar cheese melts really well. Sharp cheddar provides the best flavor, but mild will still work.
How to Make Cheese Sauce
The step-by-step instructions for this cheddar cheese sauce are very simple and straightforward. Here’s how everything comes together:
- Make the Roux: In a medium size sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour, while continuously stirring, until it becomes fragrant and starts to turn lightly tan in color.
- Keep Stirring While Slowly Pouring in the Milk: Continue to stir/whisk to remove any lumps. Then, add in the onion powder, salt, and cayenne.
- Add the Cheese: Once the sauce begins to thicken, add the cheese and continue stirring until it is melted and blended. Remove everything from the heat and serve immediately.
Tips for Success
Easy peasy, right? Regardless, we still have some tips and tricks for you on how to get the best results with your creamy cheese sauce:
- If the Sauce Gets Too Thick: Add more milk if your cheese sauce gets too thick. Once the sauce is removed from the heat, serve it immediately or keep it in a crockpot on warm. This sauce will thicken once it starts to cool.
- For More Garlic Flavor: If you are a garlic lover, add a teaspoon of granulated garlic.
- What Kind of Cheese Should I Use? It is best to use block cheese and to shred it yourself. Bagged cheese has a non-clumping agent that can make pre-shredded cheese not melt as easily. However, in a pinch, we still use bagged cheese and it works alright. (You can also use different types of cheese such as swiss, gouda, or white cheddar.)
How to Use Cheese Sauce
As we mentioned above, there are SO MANY uses for homemade cheese sauce. Here are just a few to get the ball rolling for you:
- Vegetables: We love to serve this cheese sauce with Roasted Broccoli, cauliflower, Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts, asparagus, etc.
- Hot Dogs: Cheese sauce is the perfect addition to spicy Chili Dogs, or even an Air Fryer Hot Dog.
- Potatoes: Potatoes in all forms taste great with this cheese sauce (i.e. Baked Potatoes, french fries, roasted potatoes, and more).
- Pretzels: Warmed soft pretzels are an ideal candidate for a healthy dose of cheddar cheese sauce. If you’re using it as a dipping sauce instead, crunchy pretzels are good, too.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Sauce
This cheese sauce can be kept in the refrigerator, but it’s best used immediately, after removing it from the heat. In the refrigerator, it gets very thick. You will have to add more milk to help thin it out.
- To Store: Though best served fresh, you can store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat: Reheat in a skillet with a hearty splash of milk, whisking often.
More Homemade Sauce Recipes
Homemade sauces and condiments are the way to go when it comes to bold, vibrant flavors! Here are a few of our favorite sauce recipes that we’d love for you to try:
- Bang Bang Sauce
- Tartar Sauce
- Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce
- Homemade Alfredo Sauce
- Homemade Brown Gravy
- Easy Chili Con Queso
Homemade Cheese Sauce Recipe
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cup whole milk
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 cups freshly shredded cheddar cheese
- In a medium size sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour, while continuously stirring, until flour becomes fragrant and starts to turn lightly tan in color.
- Keep stirring while slowly pouring in the milk. Continue to stir/whisk to remove any lumps. Add onion powder, salt and cayenne.
- Once sauce begins to thicken, add the cheese and continue stirring until cheese is melted and blended. Remove from heat and serve immediately.