5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (2024)

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$2.83 recipe / $0.47 serving

by Beth - Budget Bytes


4.13 from 241 votes

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I know, it seems kind of weird that I’m posting this homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce recipe the dayafter the super bowl.But, the reason I made this nacho cheese sauce has nothing to do with the super bowl and everything to do with the fact that I have just had a crappy week. :) After a series of unfortunate events and two recipe flops, I had an, “Ugh, I give up. Just give me some chips and nacho cheese.” moment.

Don’t judge. Nacho cheese dip is powerful stuff.

5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (2)

NO Processed Cheese, Please

Rather than going totally off the deep end and buying a gelatinous block of Velveeta, I decided to try to make the nacho cheese saucemyself, with real, simple ingredients. To my surprise (and probably to my detriment), this homemade nacho cheese recipe made with real cheddar cheese isextremely fast and easy to make.

Spice it Up!

The nacho cheese recipe below is the very basic version of nacho cheese, which you can customize or embellish in many different ways. Try substituting half of the cheddar with pepper jack, or stirring in a 4oz. can of diced green chiles. Experiment with the seasonings by adding a pinch of garlic powder, cumin, or even cayenne pepper. Stir in a few sliced green onions, or a can of Rotel tomatoes (drained). You can really have fun with this one.

Tips for Cheese Sauce Success

Here are a few tips to help make sure your homemade nacho cheese recipe is a success:

  • Make sure to cook the flour in the butter for one minute. This helps cook out the “floury” flavor.
  • Use medium cheddar for smoother results. Sharp cheddar tends to “break” or become grainy easier than medium cheddar.
  • Remove the pot from the heat before stirring in the cheese. Overheating the sauce once the cheese has been added can cause the sauce to seize up and become thick and/or grainy. If needed, use only low heat to help the cheese fully melt.
  • Use block cheese and hand shred it when possible. Pre-shredded cheeses sometimes contain a lot of anti-caking powders, which can cause a powdery flavor in your cheese sauce.

New to cheese sauce? Try making our no-roux Easy Cheese Sauce that melts together smoothly in minutes and is absolutely fool-proof!

5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (3)

5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce

4.13 from 241 votes

This rich and tangy homemade nacho cheese only takes about 5 minutes to make and uses only real, simple ingredients.

5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (5) Servings 6 (1/4 cup each)

Cook 5 minutes mins

Total 5 minutes mins

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  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.22)
  • 2 Tbsp flour ($0.02)
  • 1 cup whole milk ($0.30)
  • 6 oz. medium cheddar, shredded (about 1.5 cups) ($2.25)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder ($0.02)


  • Add the butter and flour to a small sauce pot. Heat and whisk the butter and flour together until they become bubbly and foamy. Continue to cook and whisk the bubbly mixture for about 60 seconds.

  • Whisk the milk into the flour and butter mixture. Turn the heat up slightly and allow the milk to come to a simmer while whisking. When it reaches a simmer, the mixture will thicken. Once it’s thick enough to coat a spoon, turn off the heat.

  • Stir in the shredded cheddar, one handful at a time, until melted into the sauce. If needed, place the pot over a low flame to help the cheese melt. Do not overheat the cheese sauce.

  • Once all the cheese is melted into the sauce, stir in the salt and chili powder. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. If the sauce becomes too thick, simply whisk in an additional splash of milk.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 183.1kcalCarbohydrates: 4.92gProtein: 8.13gFat: 14.65gSodium: 337.23mgFiber: 0.32g

Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.

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How to Make Nacho Cheese – Step by Step Photos

5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (8)

Start by placing 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp flour in a small saucepot.

5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (9)

Heat the flour and butter over medium flame and whisk together until they become bubbly and foamy. Continue whisking for about 60 seconds. Thismixture is called a “roux” and is what will thicken your sauce. Letting the roux cook for about 60 seconds slightly toasts the flour and gets rid of that raw floury flavor, but you want it to stay “blonde”, so if it begins to brown, remove it from the heat.

5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (10)

Whisk in one cup of whole milk. Turn the heat up slightly and let it come to a simmer (whisking frequently). Because the small volume, it should come to a simmer very quickly (about a minute).

5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (11)

When it reaches a simmer, the milk will thicken. When it’s thick enough to coat a spoon like in the photo, turn off the heat.

5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (12)

Whisk in 6oz. (or about 1.5 cups) shredded mediumcheddar, one hand full at a time, until it is melted into the sauce. If needed, put the pot back over a low flame to help it melt, but the residual heat should do most of the work.

5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (13)

Finally, season the nacho cheese sauce with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp chili powder.

5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (14)

Taste the nacho cheese sauce and adjust the seasonings if needed. And that’s it! Now you have a real ingredient, really delicious, homemade nacho cheese dip.

5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (15)

This post either just ruined your life or made your day. Or maybe both.

Try These Other Great Party Appetizers:

  • Black Bean Taquitos
  • Double Spinach Artichoke Dip
  • Crispy Baked Honey Sriracha Chicken Drumsticks
  • Raspberry Balsamic Baked Chicken Wings
  • Pizza Rolls
5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe {Video!} - Budget Bytes (2024)


How many cans of nacho cheese for 100 people? ›

I created the shopping list below, assuming the shopping is done at a warehouse store, but regular grocery store sizes are also provided. A #10 can has 96 oz (3 quarts). If you can only find 15-oz cans of nacho cheese sauce, you'll need about 18 to 26 cans (too many!).

What is the best shredded cheese for nachos? ›

Sharp cheddar gets my vote for nacho cheese. It melts smoothly without being stringy, while having a nice flavorful punch. You can use mild or medium cheddar if you prefer, but the flavor will be a bit blander. Monterey jack and pepper jack also melt really well into sauces and make a great white nacho cheese sauce.

How to thicken up nacho cheese sauce? ›

Flour or cornstarch can both thicken a liquid. In a small separate bowl, mix a tablespoon of either flour or cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cheese sauce until the mixture is smooth. Add the mixture back to the milky cheese sauce, and stir until combined and desired thickness is achieved.

What keeps nacho cheese liquid? ›

Salts such as sodium citrate and sodium hexametaphosphate are known in the cheese industry as melting salts. Their primary purpose is to swap sodium ions for calcium ions bound to the casein proteins in cheese. In doing so, they loosen these proteins and make them water-soluble. We used two different recipes.

How many ounces is a #10 can of nacho cheese? ›

Made with pure cheddar cheese, real diced jalapeno peppers and green chilies - thi… Everything tastes better with Rosarita Nacho Cheese Sauce, so purchase six 106-ounce containers for your food service or restaurant business.

How much queso per person for nachos? ›

1 batch of sauce makes 4 cups. Plan on approx. 1/2 cup per person, give-or-take depending on how much other food is being served. For serving, keep queso sauce warm in a small slow cooker or fondue pot.

What cheese do Mexican restaurants use for nachos? ›

Asadero Cheese

It elicits a subtle tanginess that offers a little more dimension than Oaxaca cheese. Because of its spectacular melting properties, it's an ideal base for queso on nachos, burritos, tacos, enchiladas or any Mexican dish.

What kind of shredded cheese do Mexican restaurants use? ›

Authentic Mexican restaurants will likely use only cotija or queso fresco. Americanized Mexican restaurants will list the cheeses they use, often monterey jack or cheddar.

Why add flour to cheese sauce? ›

Starch (such as all-purpose flour, cornstarch, or potato flour) will keep the cheese from curdling. If using all-purpose flour, add it to the mixture before the cheese; it needs to be cooked for a few minutes to remove the starchy taste.

How to stop cheese sauce from splitting? ›

To temper a cheese sauce, you must take your boiling milk mixture off the heat and let it cool a bit so that the proteins in the cheese don't immediately break bonds with the fat and water. Sara Moulton suggests that you grate your cheese before adding it to minimize the heat required for melting.

What makes nacho cheese thicker? ›

Making a slurry with cornstarch and cold milk is how you will thicken your queso. A traditional slurry is a 1:1 liquid to cornstarch ratio, but for our queso purposes I used 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of milk.

How do I keep my cheese sauce creamy? ›

Use low heat.

Always cook and reheat cheesy sauces over low and slow heat. This guarantees a smooth consistency and prevents it from developing a grainy texture.

How do you keep cheese dip creamy? ›

For dips, you'll want to use a tablespoon of cornstarch per pound of cheese, then add at least five ounces of evaporated milk. After that, you can use more evaporated milk to thin out your dip as much as you need.

What is the best melting cheese for sauce? ›

What is the best melting cheese? Cheeses with more moisture and lower melting points - cheddar is one of the most popular choices, but Swiss and Gruyère are also terrific options. Which melts better, mild or sharp cheddar? Mild cheddar melts more smoothly than sharper (more aged) cheddar.

How much cheese do you need to feed 50 people? ›

How Much Cheese is Needed For 50 People. The quantity of cheese you need depends on if the charcuterie will be an entire meal or not. About 2-3 ounces per person will be enough if the charcuterie isn't an entire meal. So you will need about 100-150 ounces in total.

How many ounces of cheese do I need for 50 people? ›

Plan for about 1-2 ounces of cheese per person. As with your meat selections, have your cheese sliced thin (at a 1-2 thickness) to make layering easier. If you'd like to incorporate cheese cubes, or have guests cut their own pieces, have those sliced at an 8-10 thickness.

How many servings of cheese per person? ›

A good rule of thumb is 1 ounce of each cheese for every guest and about five types of cheese. For a party in which cheese is the main event, plan on buying 3 pounds for eight people, 6 pounds for 16 people, or 9 pounds for 24 people. If cheese is one of many items being served, plan on buying 3 to 4 ounces per person.

How much taco meat for 100 people? ›

How much taco meat is needed for 100 people? A portion of meat for one person is considered to be about 1/4–1/3 of a pound. The high end of that is about 35 lbs. Since some people will eat more, especially at a large gathering, I would add another 10 lbs.


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