Best Ever Homemade Cheese Sauce is creamy, smooth and slightly spicy with a touch of garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes.
This post is one of my favorite recipes, and when I decided to start a blog over six months ago, I knew I wanted to feature this recipe. It’s hands down one of my all time favorite foods. There’s no doubt that I like cheese sauce and always have, but this is the best homemade cheese sauce ever.
I haven’t eaten another cheese sauce since mastering this recipe, which did take some time I might add, but when I finally got the hang of it, WOW! This creamy, smooth sauce is such a staple in our house that there’s almost always some in our fridge. It’s great with anything, and I do mean anything. Before I get into the how I want to get into the why, because there’s a reason this the best ever homemade cheese sauce.
Growing up, I had a thing for cheese dip and chips, and I liked cheese dip from a jar or a little metal can like the kind you find in the chip aisle. I wasn’t a huge fan of squirt cheese, but it was good on crackers and would do in a pinch. My favorite was the large, rectangle of processed cheese product. In my house, we melted it and combined it with a can of diced tomatoes and chilies. It was so good, or at least I thought so at the time. I made it for my husband when we first got married, but he wouldn’t eat it. He kept telling me, “I can make you something better,” but I didn’t believe him.
Finally, I gave in and let him give it a try, and it was delicious. He made a wonderfully creamy, lightly spiced cheese sauce that works on chips, french fries, macaroni noodles and even broccoli. He even showed me how to put it in scrambled eggs to make cheesy eggs, and after that day, I never ate processed cheese dip again. If you’d like to know the how part of the story, keep reading. I’ve listed the recipe along with some notes below.
*Notes: This recipe is very versatile. The cheese flavors are interchangeable, but the consistency of the sauce may not be the same. Jalapenos and red pepper flakes are optional. Add more to increase the heat level, or decrease the amount to reduce the spiciness. This sauce reheats best at low heat on the stove top, but if the sauce becomes too thick, add a tablespoon of half and half, milk or heavy cream. My favorite cheeses to use are Cabot Creamery brand. Cabot Creamery brand is not a sponsor of this post.
Used for this recipe:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, chopped (seeded and membranes removed for less heat)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 quart half and half
- 14 ounces good quality shredded cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, Monterrey jack, etc.)
Melt butter in a heavy bottom stock pot on low-medium heat. A 5-quart stock pot works well.
Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, red pepper flakes and salt. Continue to cook over medium heat until tender. About 10 minutes.
Add flour and stir to combine. Using less flour will result in a thinner sauce. Using more flour will result in a thicker sauce.
Continue to stir for about 3-5 minutes to allow flour taste to cook out.
Add half and half stirring frequently. Do not allow half and half only needs to be warm enough to melt the cheese.
After half and half begins to steam, slowly add shredded cheese about 1/2 ounce to an ounce at a time while stirring the mixture with a wire whisk.
Continue to stir until all the cheese is melted before adding additional cheese. Adding cheese too quickly will cause the temperature to drop and cheese to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
Add cheese 1/2 ounce to an ounce at a time until all cheese is added.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 4-5 days.