Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Cheesy ravioli
Alle12/Getty Images
    20 mins
Ratings (22)

This easy cheese sauce is prepared with a simple white sauce base and shredded cheese. Use this classic Cheddar cheese sauce on vegetables, pasta, nachos, or in any other dishes. Try this recipe with smoked Cheddar cheese, or use a combination of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.

The cheese makes a delicious topping for cauliflower, green beans, or broccoli, or use it as a sauce for macaroni and cheese or a casserole. It's good with pasta or rice as well.

Add some peppers or spicy Mexican cheese blend if you are using the sauce to top nachos.

What You'll Need

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or light cream
  • 1 cup grated mild or sharp cheddar cheese

How to Make It

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; remove from heat. Stir in flour and seasonings.
  2. Put the saucepan back on the heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring until well mixed. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth and well blended. 
  1. Serve with pasta or vegetables.

Makes About 2 cups.


  • Add diced pimientos to the cheese sauce to color and flavor.
  • Add a pinch of cayenne and a dash of garlic powder to the sauce.
  • Use smoked cheddar for a smoky-flavored sauce.
  • Use a Mexican blend of cheeses and add chili peppers if using the sauce in a Tex-Mex style dish.

Tips and Ideas

  • To make a quick macaroni and cheese, combine the sauce with 3 to 4 cups of cooked and drained macaroni. Transfer to a buttered baking dish and top with buttered bread crumbs and more cheese, if desired. Bake in a preheated 350° F until bubbly and crumbs (if using) are browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. 
  • Stuffed Baked Potatoes With Broccoli: Bake 4 to 6 large  russet potatoes until tender. Split the potatoes open and fluff the potato lightly with a fork, leaving the shell intact. Arrange on plates. Top with hot cooked broccoli and ladle cheese sauce over the broccoli.
  • Chicken or Turkey Sandwich Melts: Arrange 4 thick slices of toast on a baking sheet. Top each slice of toast with turkey or chicken slices and a slice of tomato. Drizzle with cheese sauce then top with bacon. Put onto the broiler until heated. 

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