In less than 5 minutes, you can whip up a batch of this cheesy happiness that is similar to the cheese sauce enjoyed at sports stadiums and sold in jars in grocery stores. But, this sauce is made with real cheese--no mystery ingredients. It's velvety smooth but doesn't turn to rubber when it cools like Velveeta-based cheese sauces (what's in that stuff, anyway???).
Now you can make ballpark nachos and cheese fries at home, so it's perfect for Super Bowl and Game Day parties. Since all you need is a microwave, it can be made in dorm rooms and office kitchens, too. (I also have an awesome slow cooker or stove top recipe: Queso Dip and Nacho Sauce.)
This sauce is so versatile. In addition to nachos, fries, and pretzels, you can drizzle it over steamed veggies (like broccoli or cauliflower-yum!), hot dogs, scrambled eggs or baked potatoes. Mix the sauce with cooked macaroni for the easiest ever mac-n-cheese.
Nutritional Information (per 2 tablespoons): 81 calories, 5.9g fat, 3.7g sat fat, 19mg cholesterol, 155mg sodium, 64mg potassium, 2.4g carbs, 1.7g sugars, fiber 0, 4.6g protein; Weight Watchers SmartPoints: 3
My inspiration for this cheese sauce was a recipe by Kenji at Serious Eats. I created this microwave version for added convenience and boosted the flavor with additional seasonings.
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients:
Step 2. Add grated cheese to a microwave-safe bowl. I use an 8-cup Pyrex measuring bowl--the large size and tall sides make it easy to whisk the sauce without it flying out.
Step 3. Add cornstarch and dry seasonings. Toss with a fork to evenly coat the cheese shreds. This helps avoid lumps--the cornstarch dissolves into the sauce evenly.
Step 4. Add the evaporated milk and hot sauce (if using). You can also stir in the hot sauce later, waiting to taste the sauce to see if you think it needs the addition of hot sauce--this is a personal preference thing.
Step 5. Microwave the cheese mixture on high for a total of 3-4 minutes, stopping to whisk after 2 minutes. After the 3rd minute, whisk vigorously again until any lumps dissolve into a smooth sauce. If it's still lumpy, cook and whisk in 30 second intervals just until sauce is smooth. Do not overcook. (NOTE: Microwave power/heat can vary, so I can't recommend exact cooking times. My 1100-watt microwave takes exactly 3 minutes total cooking time.)
If the sauce is too thick, whisk in additional evaporated milk 1-2 tablespoons at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.
OPTIONAL STIR-INS. Customize this sauce to your liking by adding any or all of these:
Easy, right? This smooth, cheesy, sauce is great served as a dip with tortilla chips.
CREATE-YOUR-OWN NACHO BAR. Set up a party buffet with this cheese sauce, tortilla chips and a variety of toppings: jalapeno slices, cilantro, chopped green onions, sliced black olives, bacon crumbles, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, taco meat, and chopped tomatoes. I did this at a Super Bowl party and it was a hit--an easy crowd pleaser!
Cheese fries anyone? This sauce is perfect for that!
MAKE AHEAD AND REHEAT: This sauce may be made a day or two ahead and reheated in the microwave, just until hot. Whisk until smooth. Add more evaporated milk if it needs thinning. You can also reheat it in a small slow cooker.
KEEP IT WARM. The sauce will thicken as it cools. It may be kept warm in a mini crockpot or fondue pot--great options if it will be set out for an extended time at a party. I have a small 1.5 quart slow cooker that is perfect for holding a double batch of cheese sauce. It can hold on the warm setting for hours and keeps the sauce at a smooth dipping consistency.
Make it a Yummy day!