An easy Homemade Cheese Sauce for appetizers, cooked vegetables, pasta, and baked potatoes. It’s ready in 5 minutes with just 3 ingredients.

A bowl of cheese sauce with tortilla chips on a platter.
Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Homemade Cheese Sauce Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for homemade cheese sauce.

Ingredient notes

  • Shredded cheese: It’s okay to use pre-shredded cheese here. Although they are tossed with agents to prevent the cheese from sticking together, it will still melt and thicken up fine.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine cheddar cheese and cornstarch. Toss until cheese is evenly coated.
Shredded cheese tossed with corn starch in a sauce pan.
  1. Stir in evaporated milk and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper). Heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until cheese is melted and smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and keep warm until serving time. Or, transfer to a slow cooker on the “warm” setting for serving.
Cheese sauce in a sauce pan.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about 2 cups.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Slow cooker: Make the recipe as directed below, on the stove, and then transfer it to your favorite slow cooker (I used one of the “mini sizes” and there is room for a double batch of this cheese sauce recipe). I’ve left it on the “warm” setting for a few hours and all it ever needs is a little stir. It works really well!
  • Spicy: You can stir in a can 4-ounce of diced green chiles, drained, for some extra flavor and heat. You can do that on the stove or in a slow cooker. If you add them to the slow cooker, just be sure the cheese sauce is back to “hot” before serving (the chiles might cool it down temporarily).
Drizzling cheese sauce over broccoli.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade Soft Pretzels that are soft and chewy on the inside and crackly brown on the outside. Knot or twist your way to the BEST soft pretzels you’ve ever had!

1 hour 40 minutes
View Recipe

Drizzle cheese on these

Tortilla chips next to homemade cheese sauce.

Homemade Cheese Sauce

An easy Homemade Cheese Sauce for appetizers, cooked vegetables, pasta, and baked potatoes. It's ready in 5 minutes with just 3 ingredients.
5 from 42 votes
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 8 (¼ cup) servings
Course Appetizer, Pantry
Cuisine American
Calories 118

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (see note 1)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • In a small saucepan, combine cheddar cheese and cornstarch. Toss until cheese is evenly coated.
  • Stir in evaporated milk and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper). Heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until cheese is melted and smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover, and keep warm until serving time. Or, transfer to a slow cooker on the "warm" setting for serving.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Shredded cheese: It’s okay to use pre-shredded cheese here. Although they are tossed with agents to prevent the cheese from sticking together, it will still melt and thicken up fine. 
  • Yield: This recipe makes about 2 cups.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Slow cooker: Make the recipe as directed below, on the stove, and then transfer it to your favorite slow cooker (I used one of the “mini sizes” and there is room for a double batch of this cheese sauce recipe). I’ve left it on the “warm” setting for a few hours and all it ever needs is a little stir. It works really well!
  • Spicy: You can stir in a can 4-ounce of diced green chiles, drained, for some extra flavor and heat. You can do that on the stove or in a slow cooker. If you add them to the slow cooker, just be sure the cheese sauce is back to “hot” before serving (the chiles might cool it down temporarily).

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupsCalories: 118kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 7gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 176mgPotassium: 28mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 283IUCalcium: 204mgIron: 1mg
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Comments

  1. So great! Super easy and delicious, and it’s alot! Can you use whole milk, I want to try a half recipe!5 stars

  2. Forgot to rate the recipe in my last comment… 5 stars for simplicity and speed, 5 stars for taste, 4 stars for texture… But not worth docking it overall!5 stars

  3. I love how dead easy this is! I had some cauliflower gnocchi in the air fryer and wondered what the heck I would eat it with them decided I needed a cheese sauce, and this hit the spot! I’ll use this as a quick Mac n cheese dupe for my daughter who’s currently obsessed with the powdered crap. And I love that it’s coeliac friendly…. Making a roux with gf flour just doesn’t work well for me. Thank you!!

  4. I think I may have used too much corn starch. I’ve seen this recipe sans corn starch, and I may try it that way next time. It’s still good–a a Dijon or dry mustard might be a good add-in, but delish!5 stars

  5. I don’t comment on blogs. I have to say after many failed cheese sauce recipes this is PERFECT. I’ve tried so many different things and this gets it just right and it’s so easy which is the best part. It has opened the door to try so many new things and cheeses. I have even begun grating my own cheeses to use with this recipe. Highly recommend!!!!5 stars

  6. The flavor and instructions are amazing! I found that the original size of the pretzels was fairly large so I cut each piece of dough in half. I literally couldn’t stop eating them!5 stars

    1. Hi Alyssa, off the top of my head I don’t know for sure. Evaporated milk feels like a fairly stable dairy product when I think about it, but without testing this I don’t know for sure. The biggest issue would be whether it separates or congeals, both would be gross. I’m assuming you’re thinking of putting it in a crockpot or something (or were you thinking more like a heated chafing dish?). I can test it and find out, but probably not in time for whenever you would need to know (my next test kitchen day is January 25th). I wish I could tell you with certainty whether it would work! I feel like it would probably be fine, and this is definitely an important question for the recipe. I just would hate for you to be disappointed. Sorry about that. I’ll post my results once I’ve had a chance to test it out! Thanks. -Meggan

    2. Hi Alyssa, I tested this! Yes, it was great in a mini crockpot on the “warm” setting. If I left it uncovered, a skin formed, but it wasn’t anything that couldn’t easily be stirred back in. And, sometimes the sauce looked like it was a little textured from siting (looked like it curdled, maybe?) but a quick stir and it was as smooth as ever, no issues. I let it sit in the crock pot for about 3 hours. It was great! I also tried stirring in a can of diced green chiles (the 4-ounce size, drained) it that was good too. All in all, no issues on a buffet as long as you can keep it warm. It held up really well. Thanks for the question! -Meggan

  7. Best and easiest cheese sauce ever . I used pizza mozzarella and some powdered cheddar, garlic salt, pepper and parsley, dash of cayenne , so good!!!!! Oh, I also did in microwave. Thanks for the awesome recipe👍5 stars

  8. Hello, your recipe looks easy and delicious. I need to prepare this for a catering event for 50 people . It will bee drizzled on roasted potatoes. Can you please help modify the ingredient list. Much appreciated!!

    1. Hi Shelia, there is a slider on the recipe that allows you to change the quantity (from 2 cups to say, 20 cups, as an example). The ingredient list will change accordingly. I don’t know how many pounds of roasted potatoes you need to serve 50 people or how much cheese sauce you want to drizzle, I’m sorry about that! I have never had a catering business myself to know these things, but I am very excited for yours! Good luck! -Meggan

  9. Really good and easy to make. I didn’t want to mess a pan so I microwaved for 3 minutes at 30 second intervals and stirred. Came out perfect. Great w pretzels!5 stars

  10. Just amazing! My daughter and I have been looking for a cheese sauce for pretzels. This is the first one we tried and we are stopping here! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.5 stars

  11. I was looking for a quick and simple cheese sauce to go with my homemade pretzels and this sauce was not only easy to put together- it was delicious!  My husband and I loved it and will definitely make it again 😀5 stars

    1. Wonderful Laurie! Thank you so much! There are a lot of bad cheese sauce recipes out there, so I appreciate that you tried mine and I’m so relieved that you liked it! And that your husband did (always the true test right?). :) Thank you again!

  12. This is 100% crazy I just went to Disneyland land with my parents and siblings and I had one of there pretzels I was in love!!!! And when I tried this recipe I doubted that it would work but I’m stunned it tastes amazing I’m reliving Disney pretzels all over again!! Thanks so much! 
    -emma

  13. This is 100% crazy I just went to Disneyland land with my parents and siblings and I had one of there pretzels I was in love!!!! And when I tried this recipe I doubted that it would work but I’m stunned it tastes amazing I’m reliving Disney pretzels all over again!! Thanks so much!5 stars

    1. Sorry to hear that, Angela. We really like it in our house, but everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. I hope you find one you like!