Sure, you could just hit the top on a jar of store-bought nacho cheese sauce, but what’s the fun in that? More importantly: what control does it give you? Not much: You can't choose what kind of cheese goes into the sauce, nor how spicy it is, and whether you add pickled jalapeños or not. But with this dead-light homemade nacho cheese sauce, you can make those decisions and end up with a silky, dull, perfect nacho cheese sauce of your own design. When you want.
Why it works
- Emulsifiers in the evaporated milk prevent your cheese from breaking into curds and oil, ensuring a smooth and creamy sauce.
- Homemade means you can control the sauce, get the exact cheese flavor, the level of spice and more right where you want it.
Read more: Burger Lab: Cheese sauce for burgers, french fries and chips
- 4-6 (makes about 1 1/2 cups)
- 15 minutes
- 15 minutes
- 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese (or a mixture of cheddar and pepper jacket – see note), grated on large holes in a box of grater
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 (12 ounces) can evaporate milk
- 2 tsp Franks Red Hot or other hot sauce
Add cheese and cornstarch in the large bowl. Throw to combine. Transfer to medium saucepan.
Add 1 cup of evaporated milk and hot sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with whisk until melted, bubbly and thickened (about 5 minutes). The mixture at first looks thin and grainy, but thickens and coalesces after heating. Thin to desired consistency with further evaporated milk. Serve immediately with French fries, tortilla chips, burgers or hot dogs.
To reheat the sauce, microwave on high heat by stopping and stirring every 30 seconds until fully melted.
Note: This cheese sauce is clumsy and tangy. For a spicier version, replace half the cheddar cheese with Pepper Jack and add 2-3 chopped pickled jalapeños, or to taste.