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Cheddar Cheese Sauce

This Homemade Cheese Sauce is versatile, incredibly easy to make and utterly delicious! Here I show you a few tips and tricks to making the best cheese sauce imaginable!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Western
Servings: 6
Calories: 176kcal
Cost: £1 / $1

Equipment

  • Large Skillet or Pot
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Whisk
  • Jug (for milk)
  • Cheese Grater

Ingredients

  • 2 cups / 500ml Milk, at room temp
  • 1 cup / 100g Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 3 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 3 tbsp Plain/All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Dijon Mustard (see notes)
  • 1/4 tsp EACH: Salt, White Pepper (or to taste)

Instructions

  • Melt butter into a pan over medium heat, then sprinkle in your flour. Whisk the two to form a paste, then very gradually start pouring in your milk, whisking as you go to ensure no lumps form. If at any point you notice tiny lumps forming stop pouring the milk and whisk until the sauce smooths out.
  • Once the sauce has thickened, turn heat to low and sprinkle in your cheddar. Give a good stir to melt the cheese, then add in dijon, salt and white pepper (to taste). Give it a final stir then pour into a jug ready to serve. It will carry on thickening from leftover heat.
  • See notes for serving suggestion, storage and tips on preventing it from going grainy!

Video

Notes

a) How do you make cheese sauce smooth? - There's a few things you can do to avoid your cheese sauce going grainy. First is make sure you use freshly grated cheese, not the pre-grated packaged stuff. Secondly ensure the heat is either low or off completely when you add the cheese or it may split and go gritty. Last just make sure add the milk gradually and only add more once the previous drizzle has fully incorporated.
b) Cheese sauce serving suggestions - Traditionally I serve this with a roast dinner. Goes great with broccoli and/or cauliflower. Could serve with a baked potato and potato wedges, it even works great as a nacho cheese sauce. Also great for a quick mac and cheese or just poured over pasta.
c) How to store cheese sauce - Allow it to completely cool then store in an airtight container for 3-4days in the fridge (longer at your discretion) or in the freezer. 
d) How to reheat cheese sauce - If reheating from fridge you can nuke in the microwave (I recommend in 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between). But I find popping it in a pot over low heat and stirring until bubbly will give you a better chance of the sauce not splitting. Use milk to thin out if needed. If frozen I recommend thawing in the fridge. Freezing dairy is always a little tricky so I recommend using it short term and storing in the fridge.
e) Dijon Mustard - This is the secret weapon in this sauce. 1/2 tsp adds a very gentle background flavour, you'll barely even notice it, but it really enhances the cheesy flavour. 1 tsp will add a slightly more prominent flavour. I usually go 1 tsp, but start off with 1/2 if you're not sure.
f) Calories - based on using whole milk and divided by 6.

Nutrition

Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.17g | Protein: 7.75g | Fat: 12.93g | Saturated Fat: 7.574g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.593g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3.38g | Trans Fat: 0.355g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 263mg | Potassium: 132mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 4.18g | Vitamin A: 439IU | Calcium: 223mg | Iron: 0.32mg