Easy Cheese Sauce Recipe Along With Tips For Making A Good Cheese Sauce

Here is an easy cheese sauce recipe, along with the tips learned about how to make a cheese sauce that is creamy and thick, not gloppy and congealed.

cheese sauce recipe
In our home we love a good cheese sauce. You can put it on vegetables, make the best baked macaroni cheese recipe with it, and you can put a white cheese sauce on Mexican food like burritos to make it taste even better, just to name a few uses.

However, when my husband first started cooking what he hoped would be an easy cheese sauce recipe it ended up being a disaster.

He followed the ingredients of the cheese sauce recipe to the letter, but instead of a nice creamy sauce he got a congealed blob of cheese in the middle of some soupy milk. Not very appetizing, and totally frustrating for him, as the cook.

There had to be a secret to it that the recipes weren't sharing, but what was it?

Well, after much trial and error and some discussions with friends who also make a good sauce, here is what we learned. I'm sharing our easy cheese sauce secrets with you, so you can wow your family and friends too!

Before I share the secrets though, here is the recipe for cheese sauce we use for our homemade baked macaroni and cheese. Whatever type of sauce you want can be made with this basic recipe, just substituting the cheeses you want for the use you will make of your sauce.

Cheddar Cheese Sauce Recipe

  • 1/4 stick real butter
  • 3 cups finely shredded mix of mild cheddar and monterey jack cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Secret Number 1 - Make A Roux With Butter And Flour

The first step for any good cheese sauce is to make a roux. Melt your butter in a large sauce pan, and then add your flour to make a thick sauce or paste.

Set your heat on your stove to medium low, where your pan gets hot enough to melt stuff, but not too much hotter. During this whole process you'll just keep the heat at about this setting, without turning it up or down.

Sometimes, for some recipes, such as for gumbo, you may want to brown your roux. However, for cheese sauce you do not. As soon as it is thickened up, but before it gets brown, go to the next step.

Secret Number 2 - The Cheese And Milk Need To Be At Room Temperature

Begin adding your cheese and milk next. Make sure you also read secret number 3 though, before you dump it all in at once.

The secret here is to make sure the cheese and the milk is at room temperature, not still chilly or cold from the refrigerator. If you add a cold substance to your hot roux it will just congeal the cheese into a big clump, instead of melting it and creating a creamy sauce.

You can either think ahead and set these ingredients out to warm up a bit before you begin cooking, or you can use a trick we do since we generally don't think ahead.

Here's our trick -- put the cheese on a plate and microwave it for approximately 45 seconds, or until the cheese is not cool to the touch and almost melted, but not quite.

The same thing, basically, for the milk. We just microwave it for approximately 30 seconds, not to the point that it is hot, just no longer cold.

That's how we get easy, room temperature ingredients for our cheese sauce recipe.

Do this before you begin making your roux, so you don't end up browing it while waiting for the cheese and milk to get warm enough.

Secret Number 3 - Incorporate The Cheese And Milk In Batches

cheese sauce recipe
As you can see from the recipe, we make a lot of cheese sauce at one time. You cannot just dump all this cheese and milk into the pot all at once and expect a creamy sauce like you see to the left.

Dumping in too much of an ingredient that is cooler than the rest of the sauce will cause it to congeal and become lumpy.

To avoid this add your cheese and milk in batches so that the temperature of the new ingredients does not shock the rest of the sauce at once.

For the amount used in the recipe above we separate the cheese and milk into three batches, and add 1/3 of the cheese and 1/3 of the milk at at time to the roux, and then to the rest of the sauce.

Secret 4: Stir Constantly Until All Cheese And Milk Is Melted And Incorporated Into Your Cheese Sauce Recipe

Once you begin adding the cheese and milk you will need to stir the sauce constantly, so it does not burn or get too hot in one part.

Add your batches slowly, and only add a new batch after the first batch has become fully incorporated into the sauce.

Once you have incorporated all the cheese and milk, and your sauce is nice and creamy, than you can add any spices you wish to the sauce, stirring to incorporate and mix them in.

Further, you don't want the sauce to set and wait for very long. Therefore, if you are adding it into another recipe time it as close as possible to be able to add the sauce directly into the next step as soon as it is done, instead of having to keep it warm on the stove very long.

If you let it sit too long it will develop a film on the top, and also may burn from the heat needed to keep it warm.

I hope this thorough explanation of the secrets of making an easy cheese sauce recipe have helped you impress your friends and family with your great cooking techniques!

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