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Delicious concession-style Nacho Cheese sauce is made from scratch in only 20 minutes! It’s a crowd favorite.

This cheesy Nacho Sauce is ideal for serving with just Tortilla Chips, but we also like to add it to our Loaded Nachos, or even Taco Salad. You can pair it with almost any Mexican dish!

Pouring nacho cheese into a bowl for serving.


Bring on the Chips!

Have you ever made homemade Nacho Cheese before? We hadn’t until just a few months ago and we couldn’t believe just how easy and quick the recipe was!

Now, I’m going to come right out and say that this recipe is very similar to the classic Nacho Cheese sauce recipe you’d find at the movies, a ball game, or in the school cafeteria.

The best part is that you can make it using ingredients that are usually on hand!

Use this Homemade Nacho Cheese like a dip, and just dip your Tortilla Chips into it, or make it like classic Nachos and pour it over a pile of tortilla chips.

Either way, chips are the #1 companion for this Nacho Cheese!

Ingredients for making nacho cheese measured on a counter.

How to Make Nacho Cheese

More than anything, we love that Nacho Cheese Dip is so simple!

PREP. Add shredded cheese and cornstarch to a large bowl and toss to coat.

MILK. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add evaporated milk. Bring to a simmer stirring occasionally, to make sure milk does not burn.

CHEESE + SPICE. Turn heat down to low, and add coated shredded cheese. Stir to combine and continue to cook on low until the cheese has melted. Add salt, cayenne pepper and hot sauce, if desired.

SERVE.Serve over Fries or Tortilla Chips.

Troubleshooting Tips

Consistency. If too runny, add an extra ¼ cup of shredded cheddar cheese and a bit more evaporated milk. Do not use pre-shredded cheese as it is coated to keep it from being sticky and inhibits its ability to melt. 

Texture. There may be several reasons that the texture of the sauce doesn’t turn out. Here are a few common mistakes:

  • It was heated too quickly and or cooked for too long. 
  • Adding too much cheese and not whisking it well enough.  
  • The milk did not have enough fat – use 2% or whole milk if you do not have evaporated milk.
  • Keep the Nacho Cheese warm, or it may begin to harden and solidify.
Nacho cheese sauce served with chips.

Ingredient Tips

Best cheese for nachos. We used mild cheddar because it tends to melt better than sharp cheddar cheese. You can also mix in some Monterrey or Pepper Jack cheese.

NOTE: A 6 oz block of cheese will yield about 1½ cups of shredded cheese. 

Make it spicy. Add some salsa, chili powder, chopped jalapeños, hotter sauce, red pepper flakes, or even a can of Rotel.

Make it meaty by mixing in browned ground beef or Italian sausage.

Nacho cheese served over french fries.

Serving + Storing Info

Keep warm during a party. Whip up the Nacho Cheese Sauce and then transfer it to a slow cooker set to the warm setting. This will keep the cheese warm and smooth until it is served. 

STORE. Keep leftover Nacho Cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat. Add in a bit of water or milk to help smooth out the sauce as it reheats.

FREEZE. Store in an airtight freezer-safe container or bag. Either store in a large portion or in separate portions which are ideal for heating up snack sizes.

Thaw in the fridge and reheat over low heat on the stove or in the microwave in 30-second increments. Add in a bit of milk to help smooth out the consistency and stir well.

Nacho cheese served with tortilla chips.

Recipe FAQ

Can I use pre-shredded cheese?

I know it can be tempting to use pre-shredded cheese, but I promise you won’t get the cheese to melt properly due to the waxy coating found on all pre-shredded options.

What’s the best cheese to use for this recipe?

We recommend and use medium cheddar cheese, but you can also use Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese. You just want to make sure you use a cheese that melts well so you can achieve that creamy consistency!

Besides chips, what can I serve with nacho cheese?

If you haven’t had nacho cheese over some french fries you’re really missing out! Taco Salad is also amazing with some nacho cheese drizzled over the top. I mean what doesn’t sound good with creamy nacho cheese on top?!

For more dips and sauces, check out:

4.97 from 107 votes

Nacho Cheese Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Delicious concession-style Nacho Cheese sauce is made from scratch in only 20 minutes! It's a crowd favorite.
Servings: 10
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, optional

Instructions 

  • Add shredded cheese and cornstarch to a large bowl and toss to coat.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add evaporated milk. Bring to a simmer stirring occasionally, to make sure milk does not burn.
  • Turn heat down to low, and add coated shredded cheese. Stir to combine and continue to cook on low until the cheese has melted. Add salt, cayenne pepper and hot sauce, if desired.
  • Serve warm with tortilla chips or French fries.

Video

Notes

Adding some salsa, chopped jalapenos or some hot sauce can all give it that nip you may want. 😉

Nutrition

Calories: 140kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 301mg, Potassium: 29mg, Fiber: 0.02g, Sugar: 0.1g, Vitamin A: 362IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 240mg, Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Making this recipe? Tag us!
Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!

This recipe was modified in September 2022 and modified from Baking Mischief.



About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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61 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is wonderful! I can’t believe I stumbled onto this recipe that does not use flour (which will often give you a grainy texture.) Corn starch works so much better in this recipe. I added extra chili powder and chopped jalapenos! Wow! Amazing! This is silky smooth, like what you buy at the store, without the preservatives and other additives. Easy too! Thankyou! Thankyou!
    I can’t wait to try this on spicy Mac n cheese!