Velvety smooth Homemade Nacho Cheese with real cheddar is incredibly easy to make. Just a few ingredients and a few minutes is all you need!
Never again will you even think of buying pre-made nacho cheese from a jar or using a block of Velveeta. This cheese sauce is creamy, delicious, and packed with flavor. Create an easy dinner your family will love by combining this nacho cheese sauce with some tortilla chips and my tasty secret ingredient taco meat!
NACHO CHEESE RECIPE
I can't begin to tell you how many times I've made nachos by sprinkling shredded cheese on chips and sticking them in the oven or microwave.
You've done it too. I know it.
Somehow that process still tastes amazing, even when you have to fight over the chips with the most melted cheese.
But why not take it just a little step further and turn that freshly grated cheddar into an amazing nacho cheese sauce? I'll never turn back now!
What kind of cheese is in nacho cheese?
Original nacho cheese was made using cheddar. Some time in the '70s, someone started making it with processed cheese that maintains a smooth, clump-free liquid texture when heated. Think movie theater or football game nachos.
Although processed cheese might seem like the right choice since it pretty much stays in it's liquid form except for the outer skin it forms (gross, I know), it's not the best choice.
Cheddar cheese, grated from a block, is the best choice when making homemade nacho cheese. If you can find peppered cheddar like I used in this recipe - even better.
How to make homemade nacho cheese:
Only three ingredients are needed (plus salt, but that doesn't count). I highly urge you to grate your own cheese versus buying pre-grated cheese in a bag.
- In a small saucepan, toss the grated cheese with the corn starch (photo 1). Then stir in the evaporated milk.
- Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, and within a few minutes you'll have a warm, creamy, homemade spicy cheese sauce (photo 2). I love stirring with a flat ended wooden spoon so that I can scrape the bottom of the pan.
- While the cheese is nice and hot, smother those tortilla chips (photo 3) and serve it alongside your favorite nacho fixins!
This nacho cheese is perfect for parties or game day!
You can easily make this recipe as written, or double or triple it if you're feeding a crowd.
Although I prefer to make this on the stove so that I have total control over how fast it melts, you can easily transfer it to a slow cooker and keep it on the warm setting. It will stay velvety smooth until it's gone.
For that reason, it's great for tailgating as well!
Simply set out a ton of tortilla chips, some cooked taco meat or pulled pork, some diced jalapenos, green onions, tomatoes, and olives, and a tub of sour cream. You'll have people raving over your nacho bar!
Why this nacho cheese sauce is the best:
- As mentioned above, this recipe uses freshly grated cheddar cheese, not processed cheese from a block
- Many nacho cheese recipes out there call for butter, flour, and milk. I think this is a great combination if you're making a cheese sauce for mac and cheese, but not for nacho cheese.
- Cooking with evaporated milk gives you a super smooth and creamy cheese sauce. Other recipes that start with a roux can cause your sauce to separate. They can also be easier to ruin if you're not careful with the temperature.
- This homemade nacho cheese is essentially fool proof as long as you don't heat it above a medium heat and remove it from the heat once it's fully blended. So easy!
Homemade Nacho Cheese
- 2 cups cheddar pepper cheese (shredded (about 8 ounces))
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 12 ounces evaporated milk (one can)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- In a small saucepan, combine cheddar cheese and cornstarch. Toss until cheese is evenly coated.
- Stir in evaporated milk and salt. Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until cheese is melted and smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and keep warm until serving time.
- Cheese can be transferred to a slow cooker and kept warm
- I found the best Pepper Cheddar Cheese (similar to pepper jack) at Costco. I know Trader Joe's carries a nice variety too. If you can't find a pepper infused cheddar, you can use plain cheddar and make it spicy with cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and/or chili powder
This post was originally created for The Salty Marshmallow where I'm a contributor and then shared with my readers because I knew you would love it!