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Nacho Cheese Sauce

Make this easy Nacho Cheese Sauce at home with a variety of cheese options, including Velveeta, cheddar, Monterey Jack, and more. Learn my secret trick that makes this the BEST Nacho Cheese Sauce recipe you’ll find!

Serve this with Chili Cheese Dogs, French Fries, Potato Wedges, Tortilla Chips, Crusty bites of bread, or vegetables.

A hand dipping a tortilla chip into nacho cheese sauce.

Nacho Cheese Sauce

Have you ever tried to replicate classic nacho cheese sauce at home, only to end up with a boring, bland result that tastes nothing like the velvety smooth nacho cheese that we all know and love?

I’ve got the secret trick to infusing this sauce with classic nacho flavor. And all it takes is 1 jalapeno, a little hot sauce, and some simple seasonings. Read on and get ready to make some nachos!

How to Make It (Summary)

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Melt butter in a saucepan and add sliced jalapeno (seeds removed). Let the jalapenos flavor up the butter for about 2 minutes. Remove and leave the butter in the pan.
  • Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes, until you can no longer smell flour.

A skillet with melted butter and diced jalapenos to make Nacho Cheese Sauce.

  • Add the milk in splashes, whisking continuously to ensure a smooth result. 
  • Bring to a gentle boil, reduce to a simmer. Add cayenne, hot sauce, and paprika.
  • Reduce heat to low. If the base is too hot when the cheese is added, you’ll end up with a grainy consistency. Add the cheese.

Adding Cheese to a skillet of roux with milk and seasonings for Nacho Cheese Sauce.

  • Stir continuously until melted and smooth. Serve immediately with chips! Save leftovers for Chili Cheese Dogs.

A skillet filled with creamy Nacho Cheese Sauce.

Pro Tips

  • The most important step is to make sure the base of the sauce isn’t too hot when you add the cheese, or you’ll end up with a grainy consistency. Add the cheese gradually over low heat and stir to combine until fully melted.
  • I find that using Velveeta is the best way to replicate classic nacho cheese sauce at home, but American, Cheddar, or Monterey Jack are all great variations of cheeses that you can use.
  • Don’t use packaged shredded cheese as it contains cellulose and doesn’t melt well. Shred cheese from a block for the best creamy texture and flavor.
  • Rotel tomatoes with green chilies makes a great addition to this nacho sauce.

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Reheating

  • Reheat in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add splashes of milk to loosen it up and restore it back to it’s original form.

Can you Freeze Nacho Cheese Sauce

  • Nacho cheese sauce made with Velveeta can be frozen, the consistency once reheated can vary slightly but it’s not a huge difference. Let it defrost first and reheat it in a skillet as outlined above.

A white platter with tortilla chips topped with Nacho Cheese Sauce.

 

Tools For This Recipe

(Amazon affiliate links)- Check out all of my kitchen essentials here.

  • Box Cheese Grater– Always shred cheese from a block for creamy/melty results. Bagged shredded cheese contains cellulose and prevents it from melting as well in soups/sauces.
  • Mini Crock– Perfect for keeping this warm for serving.
  • Measuring spoons I love that these are magnetic. They keep my drawer neat.

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A pile of Tortilla Chips with creamy Nacho Cheese Sauce on top.

Nacho Cheese Sauce

5 from 6 ratings
Make this easy Nacho Cheese Sauce at home with a variety of cheese options, including Velveeta, cheddar, Monterey Jack, and more. Learn my secret trick that makes this the BEST Nacho Cheese Sauce recipe you'll find!

Ingredients

  • 2 Jalapenos
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon hot sauce
  • 8 oz. cubed Velveeta Cheese, see notes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Instructions

  • Slice the jalapenos in half. Remove the stem and seeds and cut into smaller slices.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the jalapenos (skin-side-up) and cook for 2 minutes or so, until softened. We want to transfer as much jalapeno flavor into the butter as possible without browning the butter.
  • Remove the jalapenos and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes or until you can no longer smell the flour.
  • Add the milk, one splash at a time, and whisk continuously to incorporate. If it’s added too fast it could break the roux. Be sure to whisk the whole time until the milk is all incorporated.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the cayenne, hot sauce, and paprika.
  • Reduce heat to low. If the base is too hot when the cheese is added, you’ll end up with a grainy consistency. Add the cheese and stir continuously until melted and smooth.
  • Serve immediately with Chili Cheese Dogs, French Fries, Potato Wedges, Tortilla Chips, Crusty bites of bread, or vegetables.

Notes

• American, Cheddar, or Monterey Jack are all great variations of cheeses that you can use. I find that Velveeta is the best way to replicate classic nacho cheese sauce at home.
Rotel tomatoes with green chilies makes a great addition to this nacho sauce.

Storage
• Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To Reheat:
• Reheat in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add splashes of milk to loosen it up and restore it back to it’s original form.

This recipe makes approximately 2 cups of Nacho Cheese Sauce. Nutritional facts are per cup.

Nutrition

Calories: 510kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 105mg, Sodium: 2055mg, Potassium: 611mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 2459IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 798mg, Iron: 1mg

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26 comments on “Nacho Cheese Sauce”

  1. Thank you for posting this! I wanted a Velveeta based sauce recipe instead of the typical Rotel dip recipe. This came out perfectly. The texture and the flavor was exactly what I wanted. The heat can easily be adjusted by the amount of cayenne, but the amount in the recipe is just like traditional nacho sauce. I diced the buttery jalepenos and used them in omelets all week. Great job!

    • You’re very welcome John! I’m so happy you enjoyed this so much. Your Omelets sound amazing!🙌 Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!

  2. Your recipe, by far, is the best cheese sauce I’ve made for nacho night! It’s also seven-year-old approved as I’ve been struggling to make something that tastes similar to his favorite cheese sauce from Taco Bell. All other cheese sauces have failed according to my child… The jalapenos in the butter are key for that delicious hint of spicy. Thank you for this recipe! I’ll be making it from now on.

    • I’m so happy to hear such great comments! I put this cheese sauce on everything from hot dogs, to veggies, and french fries! Thanks so much for the great comments and review!😍

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