This White Cheese Sauce is made without flour and is ideal for dipping and smothering foods like nachos or fries. It is simple to make and ready in less than 15 minutes. Plus its gluten-free since there's no flour or 'roux' needed!
This post contains affiliate links. Click on my disclosure to find out more!
How To Make A Simple White Cheese Sauce For Nachos
A common question I hear is "How do you thicken a cheese sauce without flour?".
Cheese is naturally thick so it doesn't necessarily need a thickener. The hard part is getting it SMOOTH and CREAMY! All I do for this white cheese sauce recipe is melt my cheese in MILK. Although there is not much room for error, there are a few things that you have to keep in mind.
The TYPE of cheese you use makes a difference. For example, sharp cheese does not melt as well as a mild cheddar. Neither does parmesan.
I use American cheese for 2 reasons...
- It is white. (looks better on my Pulled Pork Nachos)
- It also melts well!
So just adding milk to it will give you a deliciously creamy sauce that will NOT harden up on you when cooled! YAY to flourless cheese sauces!
Try topping these Mini Baked Potatoes with this cheese sauce!
What Cheese Is The Best For Nachos?
Any CREAMY cheese will work but some just taste better. The top 4 cheeses I like are:
- Monterey Jack
*Cheddar cheese would be delicious on nachos but there's one issues with cheddar. It does NOT melt well. Especially if you have SHARP cheddar cheese. I have tried it and it does not work well without an added thickener.
How To Thicken A Cheese Sauce Without Flour
Typically you would need milk/cream and a 'roux' to make any cheese sauce.
I am assuming you're reading this because you want a flourless cheese sauce recipe. So how we will need to thicken the sauce is simply allowing the cheese itself to be the thickener which is what I did in this recipe.
What are the ingredients in "nacho" cheese?
The nacho cheese you are probably thinking of is that processed yellow cheese that we all can't help but LOVE. (at least I do...)
But it isn't healthy and is very hard to make on your own. Velveeta uses all kinds of food starches and hydrogenated oils. Eh, NOT a pantry staple...
So try this sauce! It is better for you and easier to make! Plus no flour or cornstarch!
Ideas for how to serve your white cheese sauce...
This cheese sauce is great for a few things:
This Sauce Is Great For Dipping!
Here are some things you can dip into your cheese sauce:
- Tortilla chips
- Soft pretzels
- French fries
- Chicken nuggets
- Pita bread
This Sauce Is Also Great For Topping!
You could also serve this simple cheese sauce drizzled on TOP of:
- Chips to make nachos!
Try serving this white sauce with my favorite snack, the best Baked Potato Wedges!
How Not To Get A Curdled or 'Gritty' Cheese Sauce!
Cheese begins to separate at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit so be careful when making your sauce! It is a low and slow process!
To prevent curdling, make sure you DO NOT:
- Turn your heat too high! NO boiling allowed! The lowest setting is best. Once it gets too hot, there's no turning back!
- Use anything less than WHOLE milk! 2% or skim milk have much less fat in them. The fat is what you need to keep the sauce smooth and creamy!
- Use any other cheeses then the ones listed above! Sharp cheeses like cheddar do not melt well AT ALL!
- Add a huge chunk of cheese to your milk. Not only will it take longer but it will create uneven hot spots which lead to gritty cheese!
Here are some cute vessels to serve your cheese sauce in!
White Cheese Sauce Without Flour
- ¾ cup Whole Milk ((NO SKIM OR 2%))
- ¼ lb. American Cheese
- ¼ lb. Monterey Jack Cheese
- ¼ tsp. Salt (*To taste)
- ⅛ Tsp. Nutmeg (*Optional)
- Grate your monterey cheese and set aside. Since American cheese comes in slices, you can't grate it. Either place it in a food processor to chop OR simply chop it up with a large knife into small pieces.
- Heat milk over medium heat until it is slightly simmering. Do not boil! Add your grated cheeses and turn down heat to the LOWEST setting possible! Stir.
- The cheese will slowly begin to melt but make sure to stir every so often with a flat spatula or spoon to make sure the bottom does not burn. (chopping or slicing your cheese will speed up the melting process)
- Cheese sauce should be fully melted in about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to slightly cool before serving. This will allow it to thicken up a bit.