How To Make Nacho Cheese Sauce

Nacho Cheese Sauce

One more fake food comes off my list of guilty pleasures.

I’m a sucker for nachos with cheese sauce. I’ve had the “cheese” sauce in jars and in cans. Have you ever read the ingredients in those things? Some of them don’t list a single dairy ingredient. That’s so nasty. But they taste so gooood.

I finally went looking for recipes to make nacho cheese sauce from real food. And maybe some actual cheese. (I know … crazy, huh?) So did it work? Well, like I said, one more fake food I won’t be needing any more.


080919-173646_Lg1½ tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon corn starch
½ cup evaporated milk
1 ounce cream cheese, cubed
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/8 cup Monterey Jack, shredded
½ tablespoon hot sauce (to start, see below)
1 tablespoon paprika


Some recipes work well when you prep one ingredient, put it in the pot, then prep the next. Some work better when you do a mise en place, where you prep everything and set it out before you start cooking. This recipe is definitely one where you should do a mise.

Shred the cheddar and the Monterey Jack. I couldn’t find any Monterey Jack at my grocery store, so I ended up with Colby-Jack.

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I forgot how soft Jack cheeses get when they warm up. Like if you leave it out, say … long enough to stage and take a couple photos, then shred some cheddar, melt some butter and cream cheese … yes, what I did. Don’t do that. Keep the cheeses in the fridge until you’re ready to shred them. In fact, 15 minutes in the freezer first wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom sauce pan. Thin pans get hot spots, and it’s too easy to burn cheese.


Stir in the corn starch.

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Add the milk. The recipe I was working from called for regular milk, but I had some evaporated left from the corn casserole. I doubt I could tell the difference, and wanted to use up what I had before it went bad.


Chop the cream cheese into small cubes so it will melt faster, and stir into the butter and milk until it’s melted and smooth.

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Add the cheddar and stir until it is well melted.

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Add the Jack and stir again.


Add the paprika.


The original recipe called for paprika and chili powder, but I had just used the last of my chili powder making the perfect chili. Considering how much the flavor of different chili powders and different kinds of paprika can vary, I don’t think this is an exact science anyway.

Same goes for the hot sauce. You could use anything from a straight habanero or cayenne sauce — Red Devil or Tabasco — to a mild tomato-based sauce. Start with a half tablespoon and see if you can taste it. Keep adding until it’s as hot as you like.


Stir well and serve hot. Unlike the fake cheese sauces, this one sets up again when it gets cold.


And that’s it.

Come back tomorrow to see what I served this with. And no, it’s not just nachos. Sign up using the form to the right to get it as soon as it comes out.

Nacho Cheese Sauce

Nacho Cheese Sauce


  • 1½ tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 ounce cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/8 cup Monterey Jack, shredded
  • ½ tablespoon hot sauce (to start, see below)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika


Shred the cheddar and Monterey Jack while they are still cold. (Don't use pre-shredded -- it has an anti-caking agent that will prevent it from melting as smoothly.) Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom sauce pan. Stir in the cornstarch and the milk.

Chop the cream cheese into small cubes so it will melt faster, and stir into the butter and milk until it's melted and smooth. Add the cheddar and jack cheeses and stir until they are well melted.

Add the paprika and hot sauce. Check the flavor and adjust as needed. Serve hot.


  1. I was craving nachos tonight, but somehow I just knew in my bones that you’d be coming up with a good recipe for nachos/nacho cheese soon, so I (ta-da) resisted going to the drive-thru for plastic food tonight!

    It’s almost scary, isn’t it? I’ll be trying this sometime this week. My nacho cravings tend to last over several days. And I want to see what magic you work with this! Thanks Drew!

  2. looks absolutely like something I can feed Grumpy with no complaints from him! I have a hard time feeding him real food. He grew up a processed boy. tsk tsk.

  3. That looks yummy. But I’m lazy and always end up just throwing grated cheese and salsa over chips and nuking them for nachos. I bet this tastes better, though.

  4. This upcoming Saturday our Nebraska Huskers will be playing a night game which will (at last) be shown on regular TV (the last three games we had were pay-per-view…). We will be having kids and grandkids over to watch the big game and this will definately be on the menu. We are a family who thinks there can never be too much cheese! Thanks for a new recipe for this favorite!

    Omaha, NE

  5. Trixie, it’s magic.

    Honeyb, I’ve been meaning to ask. Does he know you call him Grumpy?

    Kristin, I’ve done the grated cheese when I want “real” cheese taste. But there’s something about having a bowl of hot, gooey cheese to dip into.

    Trish, I’d like to have enough people over to really scale this one up. I love recipes that are measured in whole numbers: 5 pounds of cheddar cheese, 1 pack of cream cheese, 1 bottle of Tobasco, etc.

  6. I’m a total sucker for nachos, this looks awesome.

  7. Can you reheat this after it has set? And if so, what would be the best way? This looks soooo good!

  8. Hanna, microwave worked just fine for re-heating.

  9. Any Little Reason says:

    I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to read this – and even more so, to realize I have every ingredient listed, so I don’t even have to go to the store! I can always eat nachos, especially during football season. Can’t wait to see how you served them!

  10. Definitely looks like something worth trying. Thanks for the great recipe.

  11. OMG i made this b/c I was craving mac and cheese and had none in the house. It was AMAZING. I didn’t use the hot stuff, but put in a little spice and some salt and pepper. It was just the right consistency, and was delicious. Just remember to keep stirring! It keeps it smooth and keeps it from burning. 😀

  12. I see that I’m really going to have to do my creamy version of mac and cheese.

    • This was a awful recepie. I hope your grandma doesnt cook that crap. way to thick. It tasted like poop.

      • Sorry.

      • Well, if you know what poop tastes like then maybe you should rethink how you eat!!!

      • It is actually almost impossible for this to taste as bad as you say it does. I know taste is just a matter of prefrence, but the thing is, this is just a basic cheese sauce recipie with three extra ingredients, and one of those is just an extra kind of cheese (the cream cheese). The other two extra ingredients were paprika and hot sauce, two ingredients that are mainly there to give it the spice and nacho taste. So if it really tastes as bad as you say it does, then either you dont like cheese, you used too much of one ingredient, or you should try a different (or less) hot sauce

  13. I want to make a big batch for a party … will this change the recipe any (except for the amounts, obviously.) Also, how will it do in a crock pot for the evening?


  14. It will do fine in a crock pot. Just make sure to stir it occasionally so it doesn’t form a skin on top.

  15. Was REALLY good, and very easy to make. I have tried to make nacho cheese sauce several times, and always a flop. This was so easy even I couldn’t mess it up.

  16. Oh don’t sell yourself short. I’m sure you could mess it up if your really applied yourself.

    • Nacho Lover! says:

      Dear Drew,
      I am 12 years old and I like my nacho cheese to taste like the kinds that they serve at sporting events or even the movie theater! I like a little spice that makes your taste buds want more. Before preparing this recipe to make with my mom, is it really worth the time and will it taste like what I’m asking for?
      If not, do you suggest another nacho cheese recipe that will work for me?
      Nacho Lover!

      • Hey, Nacho, sorry it took so long to get back to you. I was on vacation and have a ton of email to catch up on.

        This recipe has a little bit of spice, but the greatest thing is that you can adjust it as you go. Start with just a little spice then add more until it’s perfect for you.

  17. I just made this sauce for mac and cheese, and it was really good. Did you ever do the creamy mac and cheese? I’m thinking that would probably be even better.

  18. I was actually just thinking about the creamy mac and cheese last night. I’ll probably be getting to that in the next couple of weeks.

  19. Wonderful recipe. I used regular milk, “Mexican” blend cheeses, and Sriracha instead of regular hot sauce, and it tastes great!

  20. I’ve heard of Sriracha. How is it different?

    • Hey I wanted to comment on Sriracha sauce, this hot sauce is really delightful if you get the chance to use it it’s really a sweet garlicky chilli sauce that is just absolutely wonderful. PLEASE TRY IT!!!!

      Miyuki from Lincoln, Nebraska

    • Sriracha- a wonderful thing! Full bore one Korean Food- gets your engines revving. A few drops in a bowl of bean soup is enough to flavor the whole bowl. Many hot sauces are just heat– Sriracha is flavor [with a good deal of heat thrown in]. Around here [Buffalo, NY area] it is sold in even small town grocery stores. Enjoy

  21. Out of curiosity, what is the approximate volume of the final product? I like to scale down everything for 2-3 people since I usually only cook for two people, if that. The recipe looks great though; I had to do a fair amount of research to find one that looks wholesome.

  22. R, this should be perfect for you then. This is less than what I would normally get in a 16-ounce can. There was enough for two large helpings of nachos, with no leftovers.

  23. adog317 says:

    I accidentaly added Paprika instead of corn starch…. it tasted fine, the pot was screwed.

  24. You mean it actually ruined the pot? Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever done that.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Needed a good cheese sauce for a demo to go along with some organic nachos. The ingredents list look looked like it tasted, yummy!!!
    It was a win win situation, I enjoyed making and the staff along with the customers enjoyed.
    1000 Thanks

  26. Anon, so you used this in a restaurant? I’d love to know where.

  27. Hi Drew, Mi name is Karla
    I want to thank u for this recipe, is great, so yummi!!!

    Regards from Mexico!!

  28. Someone from Mexico liking my nacho cheese sauce recipe? Thank you, Karla!

  29. musicalsara says:

    this recipe sounds really good! im making it for my family! 1.i was wondering do you need all the ingredients????????? you need milk!????????? 3.Which ingredients are most important??????????? thanks for answering my three questions!!!!!

  30. musicalsara, you can use regular milk instead of evaporated, and you can certainly change up the ingredients. The key is to get the sauce going with the butter, corn starch and milk. That will keep the cheese "saucy". Then use whatever cheese and spices you want. Obviously with different cheeses you'll need different proportions. You can just experiment with it.

  31. thank you drew,its musicalsara!! Another question is some recipes say i need olive oil.. is that true??????? thanks again!!!!

  32. Sara, I'm sure you could use olive oil, but I'd worry about the cheese and the oil separating. I'm not a sauce expert, but once you add oil you're talking emulsion, like a salad dressing, and that technique can be tricky to get right.

  33. Anonymous says:

    hey drew once again it sara(musicalsara) i had to ask something!!! My nacho sause i made was so thick and "stuck together" what i wanted it to be was more "saucy" and "liquid-like"!! you know what i mean like it didnt seem like a sause(such as pudding)it wasnt liquidy and moving like a sause when i poured it on the cchips it was just thick and "put together"! my question is how do i make it more like a sause!!! i used salt,cheese,milk,a pinch of flour,butter(more like margerine,peppers and thats pretty much it!!

  34. sorry drew its sara on my last comment i didnt mean to post "anoynomus" and instead of butter i used margerine if you get this comment read the one above that is my question(read above says anonymus)!!!!

  35. Sara, more milk, less flour. Actually, you could probably get by just reducing the flour.

    Milk (or cream) and flour is a basic white sauce, so this is technically a white sauce flavored with cheese, not melted cheese with some milk to thin it out. Even though yes, it's mostly cheese.

  36. i only used a pinch of flour mabye less and about half a cup of milk because i didnt use a lot of cheese(really little)and it still didnt work!!

  37. Um, Drew, I don't have any hot sauce. Will the recipe still work? and if it won't, i happent to have pepper sauce. Will that work?

  38. Madison, you can use just about any pepper sauce for this. The proportions are the important thing. And if you use something you already have on hand, you can bet you're going to like it.

  39. Neutrinotao says:

    I just tried this recipe and it turned out perfect! I have food allergies and can’t eat the artificial stuff. I’ve been wanting a pretzel with nacho cheese sauce (like they have at the mall) for a long time. This recipe is awesome (as I sit here dipping and eating). I used rice milk in place of the evaporated milk, coconut oil in place of butter, 2 tbsp flour in place of the corn starch, and I didn’t have any Monterey Jack so I used mozzarella. Next time I’m going to add a little more kick by adding more hot sauce and using pepper jack. The texture and taste is just perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

  40. Neutrinotao, that’s great. I don’t talk about it much because I don’t have any food allergies, but for people who do it really helps to know what’s in your food, and how to make substitutions.

  41. Micheal Debord says:

    Average and Lacked taste, nothing special here.

    • No Pallet Michael says:

      Feel free to put some MSG in it since that’s what you’re used to. *sarcasm*

      No really…don’t be afraid to experiment! You’re supposed to taste your food before you’re done cooking it to make sure it tastes alright. Add a little garlic powder. Don’t forget salt makes a difference! Try adding some McCormick taco seasoning too.

  42. Thanks for the feedback. I’ll be sure to make something else instead when you come to visit.

  43. I was looking for a good cheese dip made with REAL ingredients. This is perfect! Thanks!!!

  44. I found you while looking for a recipe to make cheese sauce for my daughter’s wedding — they want to have a taco and nacho bar!

    Not only does this look EXACTLY like what we need, but I think I’ve found a new favorite blog. Subscribed now :-)

  45. I think I’d like your daughter. 😀

  46. I made this and it turned out like a flavorless flubber. I used colby jack and didn’t add hot sauce, so maybe thats why. I was kinda disappointed.

  47. Jennifer says:

    I am plannign on making Chili cheese dogs for my daughter’s birthday and thought it would be nice to use nacho cheese sauce instead of shredded. I was wondering if you know how well this cheese sauce would hold up sitting in a slow cooker for a couple hours to keep it from setting or if you have any other ideas for keeping it from setting?

  48. Jennifer, keep it set on low and keep a lid on as much as possible. If it starts getting too thick, thin it out with milk instead of water. If it bubbles even on low, turn it off for a little while.

  49. Thanks for your recipe. I live in Australia and when I was a kid we had some friends make this for my family when they came back from living in America. We loved it!
    I was just remembering it the other day and was delighted to find such a recipe! I look forward to making for my own little family now!

  50. Wow this recipe looks great! I had some killer nachos from a local taqueria made with real cheese sauce and I decided I had to make my own. Thanks for the recipe!

    I really like the way you talk about substitutions. It’s something that I picked up in my cooking. Seeing it in the recipe really gives a better picture of how the whole thing comes together.

  51. I’m in the process of making some nacho sauce… Hope it turns out alright. >.>

  52. Hey, I did use this for the nacho/taco bar at the reception for our daughter’s wedding. It worked great. In case anyone’s interested:

    The 2 things I changed was the cornstarch and the paprika. I decided to use flour instead of cornstarch, because I needed to be able to make it ahead and reheat it. My experiences with cornstarch gravy led me to switch it to flour. So, I used 2 tablespoons of flour where your recipe called for 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. As for the paprika, we just used a small amount, so the color didn’t change quite so much.

    I octupled the recipe to make about 2 quarts per batch, then did that three times. This gave us enough to fill two crockpots a decent amount. Made it ahead of time and chilled in the removable crocks. A couple hours ahead of serving, the crocks were put into the bases and heated on low, stirring occasionally. It was a pretty informal wedding and reception, so the cheese sauce (and the taco meat, and the refried beans) were served right from crockpots.

    I knew it would work well because I’d made a test batch that got chilled and reheated, and my guys ate that up and were looking for more!

    Also: the sauce that was left over from the reception got frozen in ziploc bags (with air squeezed out carefully, then laid flat) — I’ve used two of the frozen batches so far, and they worked pretty well. The flavor was still good and the texture was smooth after it was thawed, warmed through and stirred.

    Thanks, Drew!

    (born & bred in NE Ohio)

    • would you mind posting the exact recipe you used fo rthe 2 qts. I want to make some for a fundraiser and need to make ahead of time and a lot.

      • I didn’t think I had the recipe, but apparently, I still do.

        2 quarts nacho cheese sauce (that can be chilled and reheated)

        3/4 cup butter
        1 cup flour
        4 cups evaporated milk
        8 oz cream cheese
        2 1/4 pounds shredded cheese (cheddar and jack, combined. Use the proportion you want – I didn’t write down what I used)
        1/4 cup hot sauce (I used Tabasco brand Chipotle sauce)
        1/4 tsp paprika

        I followed Drew’s directions, as above. Used my 8 quart stock pot so I had plenty of room to stir without sloshing it out of the pan, AND because it’s got a very heavy bottom which reduces risk of scorching.

        Good luck!

  53. Sounds like a fun reception. Best wishes to your daughter and new son.

  54. I have allways been a chef either in my mind or at the stove, but if you dont ever ask for help with Foods and how everyone cooks them you will never reach Master Chef… I have been cooking all my life and I am going to the store to recreate your sauce, I would really hate to use just milk tho as it looked like you recived the right consistancy in your final product, I make a mean Salsa Verde’ from my Grandma, Rest her soul… the best in the world mabey I will share with all of you after I have made this cheese sauce I have been craving…I like that no more Fake Food!!!!

    • Michael Gee says:

      Ohhh…. it’s been a while and I don’t see that Salsa Verde recipe yet, it would be much appreciated! Thanks!

  55. Dylan _____ (age 17) says:

    I must know if the nacho sauce will taste starchy. I tried to make nacho sauce before but I did it like how I would make mac-n-cheese.

    Butter, flour, milk, cheese.

    I was craving nachos so I started googling……. Can you please tell me before I make the sauce that it will be delicious and NOT starchy.

    • Starchy flavor means you didn’t cook the roux ( flour and butter ) long enough before you added the other things. Cook the flour and butter separately for 3-5 minutes after you get the last of the flour integrated. You’ll know it’s done when you get a nice nutty smell from it.

      Then add the rest of the ingredients, and poof, no starchy taste at all.

      Also, if you want to use oil to control the consistency, or the cheese you use tries to break into that icky oil/goo you can add a teaspoon of Sodium Citrate after you add the liquids, but before you add the cheese.

      You can find it on Amazon, or at specialty food stores. It is a food additive that acts as an emulsifier. It is also an uncommon, but naturally occurring salt, and I can find no studies that indicate that it is unsafe or unhealthy in any way. If you have any contrary data, please share.

  56. I didn’t at all. But if you’re worried, just cook the milk and corn starch a little bit before adding the cheese.

  57. Dylan _____ (age 17) says:


    I finally made it and I’m amazed how good it is!

    Got the game on, got chips & nacho sauce…… And a root beer.

  58. I wish I had thought to make my own nachos at your age. Could have saved me years of bad food.

  59. Dylan _____ (age 17) says:


    It pays that I keep kosher, I never touched fast food in my entire life. (not very long)

    Hopefully I can browse for some great recipes here.
    So far so good.

  60. I was just looking for a nacho cheese recipe without the chunks like the jars have(the husband is extremely picky) and this one looks perfect. On question though, do you think it would be just as good if I substitute the hot sauce and paprika for some hot cayenne pepper?

  61. Jessie, once you get the consistency of the cheese right, you can add just about any version of pepper/heat that you want.

  62. hey, i just made this sauce but added diced jalapenos and it was great

  63. I made this sauce tonight. i am not a recipe follower at all so i was looking for a base recipe to see if it followed what i thought would work. :) I used flour instead of cornstarch for my roux and i also added salsa to make a queso. It was good but i added some salt and i think i ended up adding more seasoning and hot sauce than what was in the recipe. (hard to say because i don’t measure) haha.

    thanks for this recipe! i’m a food network fan and started there and they do not have a recipe like this on their site!

  64. Karrah, I rarely follow a recipe the same way twice (except when baking). And you’re right, this one is all about the texture.

  65. Drew, I love that you answer peoples comments. Most sites I’ve been to don’t do that! Planning on trying you recipe this weekend cuz I’ve been craving the kinda nachos I woud get a b-bal games! Hope this makes the cut!

  66. Cayla, normally your comment would make me want to have some nachos right now. But I’m already planning on the pulled pork nachos at Hoggy’s this weekend, so I can wait. :-)

  67. So glad I found this. I’ve made my own nacho cheese sauce before, but I used flour, and it had a grainy texture that left it trailing behind the awful (but so delicious) store-bought cheese sauce. So I thought “I should try cornstarch” but never got around to it. Now I don’t have to guess at proportions!

  68. Marlene Rzeppa says:

    Drew, nice to meet you. Tomorrow is my birthday and I want to serve nachos with the melted cheddar cheese. Is your sauce “thin” ? I dont want to serve the nachos with the cheddar on the top, I want that my guests “slip” them into the cheese.
    How do I melt only the cheese, so it stays thick.
    Excuse my english, because I’m brasilian.

  69. Rzeppa, this sauce is not very thin, but if you want it even more thick you can just add more of the cheddar cheese.

    I’ve melted just the cheese before, without the flour and milk. It’s very thick, but as soon as you take it off the stove it gets too thick to dip into.

  70. Hey drew. So I looked up nacho cheese yesterday and found your page here. And by looking at the final picture it looks phenomenal. Everyone seems to like it but also are having problems. I love to cook but I’m really bad at it. I’m one of those people who has burned cereal before. Anyway, I noticed you used evaporated milk as opposed to regular, and I was wondering how much of regular milk should I use for these exact measurements so it doesn’t come out too thick but just right? Thank you.

  71. Michael, I mentioned up above that the original recipe called for regular milk. I only used the evaporated because I had a half can left over from another recipe that I needed to use up. So regular milk will be fine.

    If you’re worried about it being too thick, just don’t add all the cheese at one time. Stir in about half until it melts, check the consistency, and keep adding until it gets to where you like it.

  72. this looks really yummy and super easy. cant wait to try it!! :)

    p.s. im 17 and just learning how to cook real food. ive been lookin for a real good site to learn from and this is the best site ive found so far :) cant wait to start cooking

  73. Kassie, I hope it comes out good for you.

    • so i did make it and i think i might have done something wrong cause it tasted kinda funny by its self 😛 maybe im just spoiled by store bought nacho cheese or somethin. but when i added it to the chips and beef with some black olives and banana peppers it was amazing!! :) im about to try your french onion soup recipe. never had that before but i love french onion dip sooo i hope its good lol :)

  74. Froggygirl98am says:

    I made this the other night and loved it I Didnt use monterey jack because i didnt have any so i used motserella and i didnt have any paprika but it turned out just fine.
    thanks. : )

  75. Lindsey Smalley says:

    Could you make this in a crockpot without changing ingredients?

    • I’ll bet you could, but you’d have to increase the amounts by several times. This was a pretty small pot I was working in. If I tried to make that amount in my crock pot, most of it would end up stuck to the sides of it.

      The one thing I’m not sure about is whether it would get hot enough to cook out the raw flour taste in the first step. Give that some extra time on high before adding the shredded cheese.

  76. This is a great recipe… but you should have credited the source.

    • I looked at a bunch of recipes before making this. Yes, what I ended up with was closest to the one you linked to, but I did make some changes. So mine was inspired by that one

  77. This. Was. FANTASTIC! Just like the nacho cheese sauce at my and my boyfriend’s favorite restaurant, which is what I was going for. Thank you for sharing!

    • PS, for all other nacho cheese enthusiasts: I made the recipe exactly as detailed here, only I used regular milk instead of evaporated. Same amount. Delish.

  78. Hi drew, my name is Reynard, you might be suprized to know this but I live in South Africa, and even more shocking, I’m 14 even more ahocking I’m originally Afrikaans, I can’t wait to try this recipe, they don’t have authentic nachos in SA but I can’t wait to taste wait authentic ones would taste like… I would totally love to visit America some time, but you see to us its very expensive, we’re actually quite a pour country… But, yeah, your dollar is worth R8 here that means our R8000000 is just $1000000… But enjoy the new year, just thought you would like to know that mexico isn’t the farthest you’ve reached… Regards from SA

  79. I came across recipe today after trying for years to make a good nacho cheese sauce. So, naturally, when I found a recipe that wasn’t just butter, flour, milk and cheddar, I rejoiced and changed my dinner plans. After loosely following the recipe, substituting the crap out of it and then throwing it on top of impromptu skillet chilli, my family and I are in love with it!! Even my picky 3 year old. Thanks!!! My nacho cravings will never go unanswered again!!

  80. Just made this.
    So easy, quite good. :)
    It was a little thicker then I wanted so I ened up using the whole can of milk. I might have started with a little too much chedder cheese (I did not measure the too good). I can’t wait to eat the actual nachos (if their is any left)!

  81. Karla Grant says:

    Hi – enjoying looking around your website. I am planning on trying your nacho sauce tonight for my children. I am an American living in Scotland. The local supermarkets sell the jars of sauce, but they are awful. I prefer to make my own when I can as I try not to give my children too much crap. I prefer to cook from scratch! Looking forward to trying your sauce tonight! Keep up the good work.

    Karla Grant

  82. I was really excited to see this recipe on pinterest, so I tried it out today, but I think I must have messed something up–the mixture was not very smooth (it was thick and a bit glumpy), and then I really messed it up by adding some canned diced jalapeno peppers–it curdled and separated (and to use a term I heard on Top Chef, I think I “broke” the sauce). I still tried some and it tasted good, but the texture was not super appetizing. Do you have any suggestions as to why I had problems? My sister thought it might be because I bought pre-grated cheese (maybe they add something to it?). Anyways, I definitely will try it again, but would love to hear any feedback you may have. Thanks so much!

    • Kaybee, I don’t know if it was all about the cheese, but yes that could be a problem. Pre-shredded cheese contains cellulose. That’s the marketing-approved name for “sawdust”.

      Yes, they dust the cheese with ultra-fine sawdust to keep it from sticking together in the bag. It works really well, which is a problem when melting and sticking together is exactly what you want it to do.

      • Thanks so much for such a quick reply! LOL, that’s what I get for being lazy and not grating the cheese myself. I will try it again sometime soon the non-lazy way and let you know how it goes. Thanks again!

      • kaybee says:

        Just an update. . . I tried this recipe again using a brick of cheese that I grated myself (instead of buying the pre-grated kind at the store) and it turned out PERFECTLY!!!! Smooth as silk and not glumpy at all!!!! This will be a recipe that I will definitely use again and again! Thanks!

      • Thanks for the warning about bagged cheese! I am making this tonight and had planned on using pre-shredded. So glad I didn’t have to find out the hard way, LOL!

  83. Dana Rowan says:

    Hi Drew,

    I am looking forward to trying your cheese sauce. Since I don’t like spicy food very much, I will probably omit the hot sauce and just add chili powder and cumin along with some garlic salt and pepper. I am taking my teenaged son and his friend to our condo for a week, and I figure I can use this sauce on hot dots, nachos, or with pretzels and might even be able to use it (sans the spices) for a batch of Mac ‘n Cheese.

    Thanks everyone for the tips and suggestions. I’ve read EVERY one, so I am ready to make this!

    One question: How much sauce does one batch make? I will probably at least double the first batch, but I was curious as to how much I would end up with and I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere on this site.


    • You’ve probably already made this by now (I was on vacation and I’m just getting caught up) but you’re right, you’ll want a double batch for a couple of teenagers. The original amounts only yield enough for two servings of nachos.

  84. Hi!
    I saw your recipe and it looks great; I wanted to share my version too, if that’s okay. If it’s not, I apologize.
    Here goes:
    My sauce has three (yes, 3) ingredients! – It tastes great, sets up after cooling so it should be warmed up before eating, and it’s TASTY!
    8oz cheese (medium cheddar makes a nice sauce, but use whatever)
    1 can Cream of chicken soup (the “souper”-secret ingredient! (I know, bad pun…))
    Fresh chopped peppers to taste
    Here’s the not-so-long process to make this. First, cut up the cheese in small cubes, put in a frying pan on LOW heat – if you heat it up too fast, it will burn (not a good thing). While it’s melting, chop up whatever pepper(s) you want to add in. I usually try to use a seranno pepper or two, maybe some generic “Hot Peppers” (that’s how they’re labeled in some of our grocery stores – nice heat, though). You can use chipotles too, they add a smokier flavour to the sauce. Chop the peppers quite fine, leave in or remove the seeds as you see fit. The seeds WILL add more heat, but I’d rather add more of the pepper flesh than seeds.
    Once the cheese is mostly melted, add the can of cream of chicken soup and the peppers and stir everything together. It’ll take a minute or so, but you end up with a creamy sauce with a nice sizzle (or not, depending on how many peppers, if any, you added)
    Enjoy warm, on pretty much anything!
    Take care,

  85. Hey I’m going to try this, I tried a different one the other day thinking it was this one, to my disappointment it was not, now I have a bowl of gross cheese in my fridge. Thank you for this one it sounds amazing!

  86. Thank you! I mostly used this recipe for the technique – I’m still wondering how the cornstarch works – but it did and turned out better than restaurant grade.

    I started with half a diced onion, a couple teaspoons of jalapenos from a jar, and a bit of olive oil to add to the butter. I added some toasted cumin and the paprika and some turmeric to the oil before adding the evaporated milk. Using what I had on hand, some American cheese slices and a bar of shredded cheddar turned out great. I used a couple splashes of Worchestershire instead of hot sauce and a bit more salt (depends on your chips, I think).

    The kids LOVED it! Folks can riff on this recipe endlessly – I was sorta wishing I had some taco beef to mix in … next time!

  87. I’m always looking for ways to reduce our use of processed foods. Velveta gives me the creeps but we love nachos. I made my own version of a cheese sauce using almond milk, flour, butter, and cheese but it was a little too bland no matter how much cheese and hot sauce I added. I tried your recipe today and will probably use it again. The cream cheese gives it a nice kick.
    The mixture was VERY thick after adding the evaporated milk and even thicker after adding just 1/2 the cheese. I added 1/4 almond milk to thin it out. I think next time maybe 1/2 tbsp flour and 1/2tbsp cornstarch may do the trick. the flavor wad great though. Thanks for sharing.

  88. Is saucepan a must? I recently moved into my own place for the very first time. Kitchen is definitely where I’m limited on items. I just have basic pots and pans, no crock pock.

  89. is the hot sauce optional?

  90. This was very creamy but I didn’t like the strong Paprika taste. Next time I will start with 1/2 and then add more if I want.

  91. how many people does this serve

    • This is enough for 2-4 people, depending on whether you’re dipping or pouring it over nachos. For a large crowd, you’ll definitely want to scale it up two or three times.

  92. I find it highly awesome after 5 years you are still answering questions about this recipe. Def trying it out this weekend, hopefully its better than the last one I made that turned out grainy (prob because I used pre-shredded cheese).

  93. A few years ago i had an aneurism. Before the aneurism i did not eat cheese because i didn’t like the taste/texture/smell. My husband had to make his own mac and cheese and had to basically eat it in a separate room. After recovery, my husband was making mac and cheese and it smelled good. I tasted it and ate most of it. I asked a doctor i knew, she said brain is very complex and aneurism/stroke can change many things including taste buds. But, back to cheese – i know nothing about cheese, so cheese 101 which cheese is good with what. Is yellow cheesebetter than white? My husband eats Kraft mac and cheese and i’d like to make him homemade, do you have a fav recipe, i think he’ll be surprised! Thnx!

  94. Question: You said it sets up when it’s cold, right? So could you make this then pour it in molds of some sort to make bricks and then melt as you wanted nachos?

    • Hmm … you probably could. I’ve done the same with pesto and turkey stock, so I like the idea.

      When I’ve had leftover store-bought cheese sauce, it doesn’t reheat well the second time. It tends to separate and get watery. This should stand up better because it’s made with real food, but I’d try it with a small portion first before freezing a bunch.

  95. Sharon Kincaid says:

    I use the microwave for no-burn smooth
    sauces. With cheeses, melt the base, add
    cheeses, using 60 % power, stir often with
    Whisk. About 4 minutes stir to stir.


  1. […] so that means nachos. And giggles. And beers. Tonight’s variety: turkey chili with homemade nacho sauce made with real cheese. […]

  2. […] Original recipe can be found here […]

  3. […] we’ll get back to health and moderation on Monday! Nacho Cheese Sauce Adapted from How to Cook Like Your Grandmother Printable […]

  4. […] How To Make Nacho Cheese Sauce | How To Cook Like Your Grandmother. Share Pin ItShare on TumblrEmailPrint This entry was posted in Recipes and tagged cheddar, cheese, cream cheese, evaporated milk, home-made, nacho, recipe on February 17, 2013 by kyungs. […]

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