This Cinco de Mayo, get the party started with some homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce! This iconic creamy cheese sauce is flavored to perfection and perfect for drizzling on or dunking your tortilla chips into. You’ll never believe just how easy it is to make this quick cheese sauce.

A small bowl is filled with nacho cheese and topped with jalapenos, and it's surrounded by round tortilla chips.

Nacho Cheese Sauce

There is one thing that will always, ALWAYS make people happy at a party, no matter how young or old they may be… And that’s nachos. While I love nachos of all varieties, it’s pretty hard to beat out the original stuff, and that’s exactly what this classic nacho cheese is. Sometimes, a fusion dish or new, exciting version of nachos is fun, but none of it holds a candle to real nacho cheese.

I think nacho cheese is a childhood staple for pretty much all American kids. Did you ever go to a ballgame as a little kid and grab some nachos from the concession stand? If you’re from the states, I’m sure your answer is a big resounding yes! That little plastic container that contained the equally as plastic tasting nacho cheese was like a pot of gold to dip your stale chips into.

As an adult, my love for nacho cheese went nowhere, but I did find ways to improve upon the nostalgic, artificial flavors of my childhood! A little Velveeta never hurt anybody, but once you try this real nacho cheese, you’ll never go back to that block again. This nacho cheese is creamy, flavorful, and made with the best cheddar cheese – freshly grated, of course!

Jalapenos are placed on top of a bowl filled with nacho cheese.

How to Make It

Spoiler – this may be even easier to make than the big block of Velveeta. Just get to grating, and the rest is quick!

Melt the butter. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. 

Add the flour. Whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture starts to turn a golden brown.

Pour in the milk. Slowly add the milk, continuing to whisk while adding.

Make it cheesy! Turn the heat to low. Stir in the cheese, cumin, cayenne and salt.

Stir it all together. Continue stirring until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth, approximately 5 minutes.

Enjoy! Serve immediately on top of nachos with some ground beef, or use as a dip with your favorite tortilla chips.

Chips and jalapenos top a bowl of nacho cheese.

Tips for the Best Nacho Cheese

  • Make sure to keep any leftover nacho cheese you may have stored properly! Once it’s cooled to room temperature, place the cheese into an airtight food storage container and pop it into the fridge. There, it’ll stay fresh for about 4 days. To reheat it, pop it in the microwave and stir every 30 seconds until it’s warmed through.
  • Make this nacho cheese spicy by adding chopped jalapenos and/or some extra cayenne powder!
  • Do NOT use a bag of already shredded cheese! Pre-grated cheese from the store has anti-caking agents in it that can cause the sauce to become lumpy and not mix well into a smooth consistency.
  • For the best flavor, make sure to cook the flour in the butter for a few minutes, or until golden brown. This takes the flour taste out of the cheese, lending it a buttery taste instead.
  • I like to use medium cheddar cheese. Sharp cheddar cheese doesn’t really have that signature nacho cheese taste to me.

Whether you serve this easy to make nacho cheese on your tortilla chips or beside them, you’re going to be so happy you whipped it up! It only takes a few minutes and it always the biggest crowd pleaser at the party.

A tortilla chip is being dipped into cheese.

Check out more of my favorite Cinco de Mayo recipes!

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Chips and jalapenos top a bowl of nacho cheese.

Get the Recipe: Nacho Cheese Sauce

The BEST Nacho Cheese Sauce is easy to make in less than 10 minutes. Perfect for tacos, nachos and more…this is so much better than anything from a jar!
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Equipment

  • saucepan

Instructions 

  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture starts to turn a golden brown.
  • Slowly add the milk, continuing to whisk while adding.
  • Turn the heat to low. Stir in the cheese, cumin, cayenne and salt.
  • Continue stirring until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

Video

https://youtu.be/u9Qm4LEXpUo

Notes

Freshly grate the cheese because grated cheese from the store has anti caking agents that don’t can cause the sauce to become lumpy or break.
Calories: 111kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 26mg, Sodium: 195mg, Potassium: 49mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 298IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 160mg, Iron: 1mg