This homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce recipe is so quick and easy, you’ll only need 4 ingredients and 5 minutes! It has the best cheddar cheese flavor, with a little bit of spice thanks to pepper jack and hot sauce. You’re going to love the creamy and cheesy consistency. Use it to dip nachos, fries, and pretzels, or slather it on top of tacos, fajitas, and anything your heart desires!
What’s in this 5 Minute Nacho Cheese recipe?
This easy nacho cheese sauce is so dippable and so easy. You’ll be able to whip this up any time, for any meal or snack, game day, or Cinco de Mayo. Don’t forget the tortilla chips!
- Shredded Cheese: Shredded cheese is easy to melt evenly. I recommend using sharp cheddar cheese, and pepper jack for a little bit of spice. Freshly-shredded cheese will melt best.
- Evaporated Milk: Evaporated milk is thick and creamy, which lends to the perfect texture for our cheese sauce. Use unsweetened milk.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used here as a thickening agent. I prefer it over flour since cornstarch simply has more thickening power.
- Hot Sauce: Use any hot sauce you like. Something classic like Frank’s works great. You can leave this out if you don’t want any heat, but it’s delicious.
Pro Tip: You can substitute flour in place of the cornstarch if you need to, but you will need more of it to achieve the same result. So slowly add more in and stir until you get the desired consistency.
What toppings can I add to nachos with cheese sauce?
This sauce makes a great dipping cheese for nachos, but you can also use it to make a regular plate of nachos. Spread out tortilla chips on a tray or plate, pour the cheese sauce on top, and add any toppings you like (make sure ingredients are already cooked, heated, or prepped as desired).
You can add ground beef, shredded chicken, jalapenos, barbacoa beef, black olives, sour cream, simple guacamole, easy salsa, green onions, caramelized onions, and more.
Cheddar cheese is the best option for that classic nacho cheese flavor and it melts well. You could use monterey jack or colby instead. And the pepper jack adds a little bit more spice, which I love!
You need to make sure all ingredients are mixing and melting evenly to avoid clumping, so it’s important to whisk constantly until everything is fully combined and melted.
As soon as the cheese starts to cool, it will harden and change texture. You can keep it over low heat and continue stirring regularly. But you may need to stir in more milk once it’s started to harden, to refresh it’s creamy texture.
Add more cornstarch (just a little bit at a time), and continue heating and stirring until it reaches your desired consistency.
Add more evaporated milk (a little bit at a time), and continue heating and stirring until it reaches your desired consistency.
How to Store and Reheat
This nacho cheese sauce is best consumed fresh and hot, because the texture will change when it cools. But you can store leftovers in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for 2 days.
Reheat in a pan on the stovetop over low heat. Add small amounts of evaporated milk to help freshen it up, and stir until fully heated through.
I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
How can I use this homemade cheese sauce?
There are so many ways to use this quick and easy nacho cheese! Of course it’s ideal for dipping nachos, but that’s not where it ends.
Use it to dip chips, pretzel bites, French fries, tater tots, taquitos, and any number of things in it. Pour it over beef enchiladas, your favorite tacos, chicken fajitas, or rice.
I also use it for this Pretzel Crust Pizza. You’ll find so many ways to use this 5 minute cheese sauce, it’ll be your new go-to for Cinco de Mayo food, football food, and quick snacking.
If you make this recipe be sure to upload a photo in the comment section below or leave a rating. Enjoy!
More Cheese Dips We Love
- White Restaurant-Style Queso
- Velveeta Rotel Dip
- Beer Cheese Dip
- Crockpot Queso
- Queso Fundido
- Fried Chili Cheese Dip
- See all of our favorite Dip Recipes!
Turned out great, thank you!
Looks delish, Crystal! Thanks so much for sharing!
Thank you, Natalie!
To say this was absolutely awful would fall abysmally short of expressing just how bad this recipe was. Followed it exactly. Was grainy and off-putting when first made and even more grainy the next day. Tried to feed some to the dog and he bit me. If anything is misspelled it is because your star rating was super imposed on my comments and could not be relocated.
I’m sorry this recipe didn’t work out for you, Steve! I recommend trying it with freshly-shredded cheese rather than packaged pre-shredded if you’re having issues with graininess. Packaged cheese is coated with starch that can cause it to become gritty when melted. Hope this helps!
I grated the cheese myself from 1 lb and 8 oz blocks. Not sure what happened. ???
It sounds like maybe your cheese mixture got hot enough to boil. If cheese is brought to boiling, it can start to break down and turn grainy. Be sure to heat the mixture slowly and just until bubbling (not boiling!).
Thanks for the tip. I will try that and report back.
Steve is quite the drama queen with his comments. Use quality cheese, don’t overcook, and whisk cornstarch with equal parts liquid to ensure it doesn’t clump. Your failure is not the recipe, it’s you. :)
Steve, I had the same problem. My wife who just cooked a gafilta fish bunt, said that the sauce smelt worse than the fish.
Doesn’t really taste like the ball park diamonds nacho cheese but still delicious!
Can I cook this in a crockpot?
I have not tried that yet!
this sauce has great flavor but is gritty because of the extra sharp cheddar..was trying to find a recipe that didn’t use Velveeta..
I am sorry it wasn’t quite up to taste!
Was it prepackaged cheddar? Freshly grated may work better.
Most other recipes call for medium cheddar for precisely that reason.
Yum!! Great Recipes🤤😋
Thanks for stopping by, Melody!
Thanks! Quick, easy, and yum!
Thanks for stopping by, Michele!
Great recipe, but as with most that I find I tweak it to make my own, I used 1-tsp of Cholula (a little hotter than Frank’s) and 1/8-tsp Red Pepper Flakes and then topped it with chopped fresh cilantro and chopped scallions.
Sounds amazing, Scott!