Cheese Sauce

The warm comfort of cheese sauce

Cheese sauce is like a warm blanket of creamy goodness that adds a tangy flavor to anything you drizzle it over. From mild, delicate, cheesy bechamel sauces to spicy, peppery sauces bursting with extra ingredients, there's nothing like a cheese sauce to ramp up the flavor on everything from meats and vegetables to nachos and pasta.

In Wisconsin, we think everything's better with cheese sauce on it, but then again, we believe everything's better with cheese. We like our cheese sauce on all the usual suspects – like baby swiss cheese sauce on broccoli and cauliflower, or monterey jack over mac and cheese. But we'll also ladle a havarti cheese sauce over stuffed portobello mushrooms or add colby cheese sauce to breakfast biscuits. A butterkäse cheese sauce is great with a roast chicken or a hot-off-the-grill half-pound burger. Whether you grate, slice it, cube it, or melt it, we think cheese makes food – and life – infinitely better.

How to make a perfect cheese sauce

While making a cheese sauce may seem simple – it's basically melted cheese, right? – it's actually deceptively tricky. If the cheese is too cold, the sauce will clump. And if you cook it too long, it'll separate into an oily mess.

Follow these simple tips for making the perfect cheese sauce every time.

  1. Choose a flavorful cheese. Whatever cheese you choose, the flavor will mellow as you cook it. Cheeses like mild cheddar or farmers cheese will taste pretty bland as a cheese sauce. For a tastier cheese sauce, choose a cheese with a strong flavor to start.
  2. Start with a roux. A good cheese sauce always starts with a roux of flour and butter melted in a large saucepan.
  3. Don't get too hot. Keep the heat on medium-low – hot enough to melt the ingredients but not so hot as to cook the cheese and cause it to separate.
  4. Grate it. Grating your cheese – rather than using cubes or slices – will help your cheese to melt more quickly and evenly.
  5. Warm it up. Make sure the milk and cheese you use have been warmed to room temperature – if you put these ingredients in still cold from the refrigerator, the sauce will begin to clump.
  6. Go slow. Add milk and cheese a bit at a time rather than all at once.
  7. Keep stirring. Stir constantly to keep the temperature of the sauce even.
  8. Don't let it sit. Make your cheese sauce as close to serving time as possible so it won't have to sit on a warm stove, where it may get overcooked or develop a film on the surface.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: What is cheese sauce?

What is cheese sauce?

A cheese sauce is a sauce that's typically made with one or more cheeses, butter, flour, and milk, as well as other ingredients such as herbs and spices as desired for flavor.

Why does my cheese sauce separate when cooked?

If your cheese sauce gets too hot on the stove, the cheese will become overcooked and begin to separate or curdle.

Why is my cheese sauce clumpy?

Cheese sauce usually clumps when the cheese is not brought to room temperature before it's added to the sauce.

For cheese sauce, Wisconsin is wonderful

When you want the tastiest cheese sauce in the world, you need to start with the best cheese on the planet. And that means picking up a chunk of Wisconsin cheese when you're choosing cheeses at the store or specialty cheese store.

Wisconsin is simply the center of the cheese world. We make more styles, flavors, and varieties of cheese than anywhere else on earth, we've won more awards (5,552!) than any other state or country. Because in Wisconsin, we're all about making the tastiest, highest-quality cheese in the universe. And that's bound to make a pretty gouda cheese sauce.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

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