Learn how to make CHEESE SAUCE and pair it with all your favorite recipes! This EASY step-by-step guide helps you make the PERFECT homemade cheese sauce.
What is a roux?
Roux is the base you’ll use when making a cheese sauce.
It’s a mix of flour and fat cooked together to form a thick paste. Traditionally, roux is used to thicken both soups and sauces. It ranges in color from white to brown, depending on how much time it spends cooking on the stove. The longer your roux cooks also changes its flavor and aroma.
For cheese sauce, you would normally use a light-color roux, but you can also cook it to almost brown if you prefer your sauce a bit richer.
What is in Cheese Sauce?
This homemade cheese sauce recipe calls for the following ingredients:
- 3 Tbsps. Butter
- 3 Tbsps. Flour
- 2-3 cups Milk
- 3.5 oz. Grated Cheddar or Gruyere Cheese
- 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to Make Cheese Sauce
It’s easy to learn how to make a cheese sauce. Here are the steps:
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 Tbsp. butter. Add 3 Tbsp. flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. This creates a roux.
- Gradually add 2 cups of milk and stir. The flour mixture will dissolve completely and the sauce will thicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.
- Remove from the heat and add 3.5 oz. grated cheddar or Gruyere. Return the saucepan to the stove, turn the heat to low, and stir constantly until the cheese melts.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce looks too thick, you can add up to another cup of milk.
How long does cheese sauce keep?
You can keep homemade cheese sauce refrigerated for up to a week. It will thicken in the fridge so you might need to add some milk when reheating it.
Can you freeze cheese sauce?
Cheese sauce freezes well because it contains a good amount of fat.
You can freeze it in a small container or in plastic bags, then let it thaw in the fridge when you’re ready to use it again. You can also thaw in the microwave.
With either method, stir the thawed cheese sauce until it becomes smooth again.
How do you reheat cheese sauce?
The easiest way to reheat homemade cheese sauce is in the microwave, on high. Stir every few seconds or so to make it smooth.
You can also reheat cheese sauce on the stove at low temperature. Add some milk to thin down the consistency if it is too thick.
Uses for Cheese Sauce
It is amazing how many dishes are complemented by homemade cheese sauce! You can simply mix it with cooked pasta, or you can make macaroni and cheese with it.
Homemade cheese sauce can also be used in lasagna, combined with tomato sauce or meat sauce. And, of course, it pairs really well with meat or vegetables!
Once you know how to make cheese sauce, you’ll want to make it all the time to pair it with your favorite meals.
Cheese Sauce Variations
There are many possible cheese sauce variations you can make. For example:
- Add different spices like ground cloves, allspice, cayenne pepper or even hot sauce
- Cook some onion or bacon in the butter, before adding the flour for the roux
- Use a different kind of cheddar (smoked, orange) or add some blue cheese, like gorgonzola
Once you make your own cheese sauce from scratch, you will probably find much more variations and uses for it. Homemade cheese sauce is so tasty, it goes well with a lot of things!
Let us know in the comments below what your favorite use for homemade cheese sauce is!\
Are you a cheese lover like us? Try these recipes:
- How to Make Alfredo Sauce
- Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken
- Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- Mushroom Grilled Cheese and French Onion Soup
- Cauliflower Cheese Casserole
- Chorizo Cheese Dip
- 3 Tbsps. butter (50 g)
- 3 Tbsps. flour (50 g)
- 2-3 cups milk (500-600 ml)
- 3.5 oz. grated cheddar or gruyere (100 g)
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Add flour and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Gradually add milk and stir. The flour mixture will dissolve completely and the sauce will start to thicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with nutmeg.
- Remove from heat and add the cheese. Return the saucepan to the stove, lower the heat to the minimum and stir constantly, until the cheese melts. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce looks too thick, you can add some more milk.
- Reheating: Keep cheese sauce in the fridge for up to one week. Reheat on low in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat with some additional milk.
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