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cheese sauce dripping from a spoon into a pan of cheese sauce

Basic Cheese Sauce

A versatile basic cheese sauce recipe that can be used for topping vegetables, a dipping sauce, nachos, or mac and cheese. Super simple.
Course condiment
Cuisine American
Keyword basic cheese sauce, cheese sauce, cheese sauce from scratch, homemade cheese sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Author Tara Buss


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded from a block
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • pepper to taste


  • Shred cheddar cheese using a grater and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.         
  • Whisk in flour and cook for a minute or two.
  • Whisk in milk slowly.
  • Bring to a gentle simmer and whisk until thickened.
  • Remove from heat or turn heat down to lowest setting, and stir in cheese a little add a time. If your heat is too high, your sauce might "break" and take on a grainy texture.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.


A block of cheddar cheese will yield better results than pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese contains additives that can create a grainy texture when melted into the sauce.
Add more cheese if you need it thicker or a cheesier flavor.
Add a bit more milk if it starts to get too thick.
Add more salt if it doesn't "pop" in flavor.