Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce Recipe

The Spruce
  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 8 Servings
Ratings (69)

This easy cheddar cheese sauce recipe is prepared with a simple white sauce base and shredded cheese. Try this recipe with smoked cheddar cheese, or use a combination of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.

Use this classic cheddar cheese sauce on cauliflower, green beans, broccoli or other vegetables, pasta (macaroni and cheese), rice, or in any other dishes. Add some peppers or spicy Mexican cheese blend if you are using the sauce to top nachos.

What You'll Need

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black (or white pepper)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (or light cream)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese  (mild or sharp)

How to Make It

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; remove from heat. Stir in flour, salt, dry mustard, and pepper.
  2. Put the saucepan back on the heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually add milk or light cream, stirring until well-mixed.
  3. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  4. Add cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth and well blended. 
  1. Serve with pasta or vegetables.

The recipe makes about 2 cups of cheese sauce.


  • Add diced pimientos to the cheese sauce for color and flavor.
  • Add a pinch of cayenne and a dash of garlic powder to the sauce.
  • Use smoked cheddar for a smoky-flavored sauce.
  • Use a Mexican blend of cheeses and add chili peppers if using the sauce in a Tex-Mex style dish.

Tips and Ideas

  • Macaroni and Cheese: To make a quick macaroni and cheese, combine the sauce with 3 to 4 cups of cooked and drained macaroni. Transfer to a buttered baking dish and top with buttered breadcrumbs and more cheese, if desired. Bake in a 350 F oven until bubbly and crumbs (if using) are browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. 
  • Stuffed Baked Potatoes With Broccoli: Bake 4 to 6 large russet potatoes until tender. Split the potatoes open and fluff the potato lightly with a fork, leaving the shell intact. Arrange on plates. Top with hot cooked broccoli and ladle cheese sauce over the broccoli.
  • Chicken or Turkey Sandwich Melts: Arrange 4 thick slices of toast on a baking sheet. Top each slice of toast with turkey or chicken slices and a slice of tomato. Drizzle with cheese sauce then top with bacon. Put under the broiler until heated and cheese sauce is bubbly. 

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Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 364
Total Fat 32 g
Saturated Fat 19 g
Unsaturated Fat 9 g
Cholesterol 92 mg
Sodium 390 mg
Carbohydrates 10 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Protein 9 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)