Best Homemade Cheese Sauce

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This is the best cheese sauce recipe ever. It only takes 5 minutes and 6 ingredients to make the most delicious, creamy cheese sauce for fries, soft pretzels, broccoli, etc.

overhead view of a spoon stirring a bowl of cheese sauce


During three of my six pregnancies, my most-craved food combination was cheese fries and kale salad (haha)! So, I created this recipe for the best cheese sauce ever! You’ll never buy the canned sauce again once you try this homemade recipe!

This cheese sauce is creamy, cheesy and easy to make in 5 minutes with only 6 ingredients.

It’s the most delicious cheese sauce for fries, soft pretzels (or pretzel bread), broccoli, etc. and perfect to whip up whenever the craving strikes without having to go to a restaurant.

overhead photo of a plate of French fires drizzled with Cheese Sauce

Cheese sauce: ingredients & substitutions

Let’s discuss the ingredients in this recipe, as well as possible substitutions.

overhead view of the ingredients in this Cheese Sauce recipe
  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter can be used in this recipe in place of salted butter.
  • All-purpose flour. to make it gluten-free, use an all-purpose gluten-free flour.
  • Whole milk. I don’t suggest using a lower fat milk because the fat content makes it extra creamy. You could use heavy cream, half and half or 2% milk (if you had to).
  • Cheddar Cheese. I suggest a sharp variety for the best flavor, but you can use your favorite.
  • American cheese. This ingredient makes this recipe taste like the sauces you get at your favorite fast food restaurants. You can omit it and add ¼ cup more cheddar cheese if you prefer, but you’ll loose the “take out” flavor.
front view of a hand dipping a french fry in cheese sauce

How to make cheese sauce

This cheese sauce recipe is easy to make in 5 minutes with only 6 ingredients! We’ll walk through the process step-by-step and don’t forget to watch the video.

To begin we make a roux by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Then, once the butter is melted, add the flour and salt and whisk to combine.

two photos showing how to make cheese sauce - making the roux

Cook until mixture is bubbly and just lightly browned (about 30-60 seconds) Then, whisk in the milk until smooth and continue cooking until mixture is slightly thickened.

two photos showing how to make cheese sauce - adding milk and cheese

Add the cheese (both cheddar and American) and whisk until they are melted and mixture is thick and smooth.

photo showing how to make cheese sauce - whisking the smooth sauce

Serve

Serve this homemade cheese sauce with fries (homemade or frozen), broccoli, pretzel bread, soft pretzels, use it to make nachos, etc.

overhead photo of a plate of French fires drizzled with Cheese Sauce

Store/freeze

Store this recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. It will thicken as it cools. Gently warm it in the microwave or on the stovetop to reheat and serve again.

front view of cheese sauce being poured into a bowl

Recipe FAQs

What cheese melts best for sauce?

I prefer using a mixture of sharp cheddar and American cheese for the best flavor and texture.

How do you make cheese sauce stay melted?

Keep it warm, it thickens as it cools.

How do you make cheese sauce more flavorful?

I love the flavor of this recipe. However to “spice it up” you could add hot sauce, smoked paprika, garlic, onions, crumbled bacon, etc.

overhead view of a hand stirring cheese sauce in a bowl with fries and chips on plates next to it

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Cheese Sauce Recipe

Laura
This is the best cheese sauce recipe ever. It only takes 5 minutes and 6 ingredients to make the most delicious, creamy cheese sauce for fries, soft pretzels, broccoli, etc.
5 from 7 votes
Course condiment, sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 111
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time10 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • In a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add flour and salt and whisk to combine.
  • Cook until mixture is bubbly and just lightly browned (about 30-60 seconds)
  • Whisk in milk until smooth, then continue cooking until mixture is slightly thickened.
  • Add cheddar and American cheese and whisk until melted and mixture is thick and smooth.
  • Serve immediately.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions 

  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter can be used in this recipe in place of salted butter.
  • All-purpose flour. to make it gluten-free, use an all-purpose gluten-free flour.
  • Whole milk. I don’t suggest using a lower fat milk because the fat content makes it extra creamy. You could use heavy cream, half and half or 2% milk (if you had to).
  • Cheddar Cheese. I suggest a sharp variety for the best flavor, but you can use your favorite.
  • American cheese. This ingredient makes this recipe taste like the sauces you get at your favorite fast food restaurants. You can omit it and add ¼ cup more cheddar cheese if you prefer, but you’ll loose the “take out” flavor.

Serve

Serve this homemade cheese sauce with fries (homemade or frozen), broccoli, pretzel bread, soft pretzels, use it to make nachos, etc.

Store/freeze

Store this cheese sauce recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 2 months. It will thicken as it cools. Gently warm it in the microwave or on the stovetop to reheat and serve again.

Nutrition

Serving: 2TBS | Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 274mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 285IU | Calcium: 192mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was so easy and delicious! I used a shredded cheese blend, since I didn’t have the american or cheddar cheeses. I used it to top tacos and as a dip for tortilla chips.