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How to Make Easy Cheese Sauce
Learn how to make cheese sauce the easy way with this no-roux-required method for the perfect creaminess every time! Plus, I’ll show you the best cheese and flour to use for the tastiest cheese sauce.
*Affiliates note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My content may contain affiliate links to products and services. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. It does not affect the price you pay.
How to Make Cheese Sauce
Making cheese sauce is a relatively straightforward process, but making a roux can sometimes deter home cooks, especially new home cooks. But that’s what is so helpful about this easy cheese sauce recipe. You don’t need to worry about making a roux.
To make this easy cheese sauce, you just need a few simple ingredients from your grocery store. Then, as I show you in my recipe video, you can put everything into a saucepan, and your cheese sauce will be ready in about a minute!
What is a Roux?
A roux is a simple mixture of flour and some type of fat—usually butter—cooked in a saucepan to remove some of the raw flour taste. But the process of making a roux can get confusing for new cooks. For example, how long do you cook the roux, and what color should it be? Pale white, beige, or brown?
The color of your roux depends on what recipe uses the roux. Generally, when making a cheese sauce, you want to keep the color pale white. You also have to be very careful not to overcook your roux.
However, since you don’t need a roux with this easy cheese sauce recipe, I have simplified the process and taken the guesswork out of the process for you.
The Best Flour for Making a Cheese Sauce
It’s easy to make a cheese sauce without making a roux when you have the right flour. And I highly recommend that you use a flour called Wondra. (Note that this is not a sponsored post. I like using Wondra flour whenever I make homemade cheese sauce or gravy.)
Most grocery stores sell Wondra flour at an affordable price in the baking aisle. Wondra flour is prepared in a way that pre-cooks, dries, and fine mills the flour so that it dissolves quickly when mixed with hot liquid. It’s sometimes referred to as instant flour.
Create a Wondra flour substitute
But what if your grocery store doesn’t sell Wondra flour? No problem. You can create a close substitute by mixing all-purpose flour or cake flour with cornstarch and sifting it twice through a mesh strainer.
If you can whirl your mixture for about 30 seconds in a blender or food processor, all the better. Your Wondra flour substitute isn’t exactly like Wondra flour, but it’s a close second and worth trying in recipes.
- Tip: Never use bread flour when making a Wondra flour substitute. Wondra flour is a low protein flour, so you want to stick with all-purpose flour or, even better, cake flour because of its low protein content.
The Best Cheese for Making Cheese Sauce
When it comes to making cheese sauce, remember that the milder the cheese, the better the consistency of the sauce. There are ways to boost the flavor, which I share with you in the recipe, but you want to avoid strong-flavored aged cheese.
Why Aged Cheese is a Problem
Although delicious, aged cheese will cause your cheese sauce to become grainy. And that is the last thing you want! Instead, you want to create a lusciously smooth cheese sauce that is perfect for any recipe.
“But Mary,” you say, “can I add just a bit of aged cheese?”
Well, I’m not going to be a stickler. If you have been with me for a while, you know that I am not a fanatic or a purist when it comes to cooking. If you must add aged cheese for flavor, keep it to a 1/4 cup per 1 cup recipe.
However, if your cheese sauce is grainy, you’ll know the culprit, so cut back on that aged cheese next time!
Best Cheese Choices for Homemade Cheese Sauce
When it comes to choosing a cheese to make homemade cheese sauce, you have many excellent options. Some of my favorite cheeses for this recipe include:
- Mild or medium cheddar
All these cheeses melt beautifully and make for a creamy cheese sauce.
And the good news is that you don’t have to stick to just one cheese. Try out different cheese combinations to see which ones you like the best. For one, Colby cheese mixed with Monterey makes a smooth and tasty cheese sauce.
Grate Your Own Cheese, Please!
To make a creamy cheese sauce, be sure to buy a block of cheese and grate your own cheese. Avoid the pre-grated cheese sold in packages at the grocery store. The pre-grated cheese is often tossed with ingredients that can interfere with making a smooth cheese sauce.
For example, if you buy a mild pre-grated cheddar to save time and use it to make your cheese sauce, you’ll be disappointed to discover that it’s grainy when you taste it. What happened?
The manufacturer added ingredients to the pre-grated cheese to keep the grated cheese from sticking in the package, and those extra ingredients are making your cheese sauce grainy. So please avoid using pre-grated cheese!
The Many Versatile Ways to Use Cheese Sauce
Once you master this simple cheese sauce recipe, you will have countless options for how to use it.
For example, do you have someone (Your child? Husband?) in your family who doesn’t like to eat veggies? Pour your homemade cheese sauce over steamed vegetables, and you’ll entice even the most finicky eater to the dinner table!
Here are a few other ways to use your easy cheese sauce:
- Mix into rice or other casseroles
- Use as a base for queso
- Pour over eggs in place of Hollandaise sauce
- Use with macaroni and cheese (Of course!)
And there is nothing wrong with simply eating it on its own by the spoonful! 😉
More Cheese Recipe Videos
My family and I really enjoy cheese in all its forms. If you do too, be sure to check out the videos below, where I show you the easy way to make homemade:
And speaking of mac and cheese, if you have an Instant Pot, don’t miss my Instant Pot Creamy Mac and Cheese recipe video!
If you have been disappointed with other Instant Pot mac and cheese videos on the Internet (dare I say a mushy watery mess!), I show you how to make this creamy dish perfect every time. I talked with the Instant Pot company, and I share their secret tips with you.
Ever wonder what to do with those little bits and bobs of leftover cheese that might grow mold (ugh!) in your fridge if left unattended? Well, you are never going to waste cheese again with this clever recipe. And no one will ever know that you made a scrumptious cheese spread with nothing more than little scraps of cheese! It’s the ultimate in a no-waste kitchen recipe.
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So be sure to download my comprehensive Pantry List eBook today. It’s full of links to videos, helpful articles, and printable recipes. All in one place! These valuable resources will help you make nutritious meals using your real food ingredients and more!
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In the following members-only video, I talk about The Importance of Cooking with Traditional Fats: Animal Fats.
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Easy Cheese Sauce
- Small saucepan
- Whisk or spoon
- 1 cup Whole milk You can substitute low-fat milk, but do not use fat-free milk.
- 2 tbsp Wondra flour To make a substitute, mix 1 cup all-purpose or cake flour with a 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch. Sift through a mesh strainer twice, and then use 2 tablespoons of this mixture in place of the Wondra flour.
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp White pepper, optional
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1/2 cup Mild cheese, grated Choose from different varieties, including mild or medium cheddar, Colby, or Monterey. Do not use long-aged cheese.
- 1/4 tsp Dry mustard You can substitute 1/2 teaspoon of prepared mustard.
- In a small saucepan, add the milk, flour, salt, pepper (if using), and butter.
- Bring the mixture in the saucepan up to a boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken. (See video.)
- After one minute, remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Add the dry mustard (if using) to the mixture, and stir well to incorporate.
- Add half the cheese to the mixture, and stir well until completely melted.
- Add remaining cheese to the mixture, and stir well until completely melted.
- You can now use your homemade cheese sauce.
- To store, refrigerate the cheese sauce in a tightly-sealed container with a piece of plastic wrap placed over the cheese sauce to prevent the development of a "skin" on top of the sauce.
- Refrigerated, the cheese sauce will stay fresh for up to 4 days.
- You can freeze this cheese sauce but for no longer than 3 months. When ready to use, allow the sauce to thaw in the refrigerator and then warm in a saucepan on low heat.
Shop for items used in this blog post or video
Favorite Cheese Making Supplies
- Favorite Aprons
- 10-Piece Glass Bowl Set
- Glass Measuring Cup
- Stainless Steel Saucepan
- Glass Bowls
- Magic Whisk
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- Mockmill Grain Grinder and Whole Grains (including Einkorn, Emmer, and Spelt)
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**Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, a medical professional, a dietician, or a nutritionist. All content found on the MarysNest.com website, including text, images, videos, eBooks or eGuides, social media, or other formats, were created solely for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or proper nutritional advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched in a video or read on this website. Use caution when following the recipe in this video. The creator and publisher of this video and website will not be held responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of this recipe and method or any other recipe and method on this website or corresponding video channel.