Easy Cheese Sauce for Pasta or Vegetables

Broccoli with cheese sauce

Diana Rattray

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 3 mins
Total: 8 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
159 Calories
16g Fat
2g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 159
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 10g 52%
Cholesterol 51mg 17%
Sodium 84mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 2g
Calcium 68mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This old fashioned cheese sauce is a simple preparation, and it is an excellent sauce for broccoli or asparagus. Or use it with pasta, rice, or cauliflower. The recipe makes about 1 cup and can be doubled. Add flour to the sauce to thicken it more (see the variations below the recipe).


  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk (or light cream) (1 cup for thicker sauce - see variations, below)
  • 1 cup diced process American cheese
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • Dash pepper
  • Optional: dash paprika

Steps to Make It

  1. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the cream and mustard. Heat over medium heat until steaming hot; do not boil.

  2. Stir in cheese, heating and stirring until cheese starts to melt.

  3. Remove from heat; stir until all cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.

  4. Add pepper and paprika, to taste.

  5. The sauce is not as thick as a roux-thickened sauce, but it makes a good topping for vegetables. It will thicken more as it cools slightly. See below for thicker sauce.

Recipe Variation

  • Thick Cheese Sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of flour; stir to blend and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of milk or light cream and dry mustard. Cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the cheese and heat until melted.