This mouth-watering Nacho Cheese recipe is the ultimate appetizer! Serve this nacho cheese sauce with tortilla chips, veggies, or nacho fries.
Cheesy dips are one of our favorite appetizers, along with mozzarella sticks, spinach artichoke dip, and pretzel bites.
Our family loves Taco Bell nacho fries and nacho cheese sauce. So we took our homemade cheese sauce recipe and turned it into a spicy version that we can’t stop making!
Here’s What You Need To Know About Making Nacho Cheese
Nacho Cheese Sauce Ingredients
Although there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, they are mostly spices that give this dip so much flavor. These ingredients are readily available, and you can add more or less spices as you see fit.
- Peppers: We pureed the canned diced green chilies and canned diced jalapenos to make the dip smooth. You can skip this step for a chunkier dip.
- Roux: We made a simple roux using butter and all-purpose flour. The roux thickens the sauce.
- Milk: This recipe uses whole milk to thin the roux.
- Cheese: You’ll need both processed American cheese and shredded cheddar cheese in this recipe. The American cheese gives it a classic cheese sauce flavor and texture, and the shredded cheddar cheese brings additional flavor.
- Spices: We seasoned the cheese sauce with garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, chili powder, paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper.
- Garnish: Chopped cilantro looks great as a garnish, but it is optional.
How To Make This Nacho Cheese Recipe
This nacho cheese recipe can be made in three steps: make the base, add the spices, and melt the cheese.
- Base: Make the sauce base by preparing the roux and stirring in the milk.
- Spices: Add the spices to the cheese sauce base and bring to a simmer. Then, add the pureed peppers.
- Cheese: Melt the American cheese into the base while the saucepan is on the burner, and stir in the shredded cheddar once you’ve removed the pan from the heat.
- Cheese: You can use other kinds of cheese in this recipe to make different flavors of cheese sauce. For example, Velveeta or white American cheese can be used in place of American cheese. And instead of shredded cheddar cheese, you can use shredded pepper jack, Monterey jack, or gouda.
- Spices: You can substitute the garlic powder and onion powder with minced garlic and diced onions. To make the dip spicier, increase the seasonings and add crushed red peppers.
- Chunky Dip: Don’t puree the green chilis and diced jalapenos. Plus, add diced tomatoes or Rotel and diced onions.
- Protein: Stir in cooked taco meat, spicy sausage, or chorizo. You could also add black beans or canned chili with no beans.
Storage and Reheating
How to Store Nacho Cheese
Allow the sauce to cool completely. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freezer for up to four months. Thaw frozen cheese dip in the refrigerator.
How To Reheat Nacho Cheese
Reheat the nacho cheese sauce on the stovetop over low heat, stirring often, until heated through. It can also be reheated on low in the microwave, stirring occasionally. Add more milk, a little at a time, if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this nacho cheese contains both American cheese and cheddar cheese.
It is made with butter, flour, milk, cheese, peppers, and spices.
Milk thins the sauce but keeping it warm makes nacho cheese remain liquid. It will thicken as it cools.
Want more appetizer recipes? Try these next:
- Homemade Pico de Gallo only takes a few minutes to make! It can be served as an appetizer or snack with tortilla chips.
- This loaded Nachos recipe is a great way to feed a crowd! Make them on several mini trays with various toppings or on a large sheet pan.
- Pineapple Salsa is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. Enjoy it on grilled chicken or fish or as an appetizer with chips.
- Jalapeno Poppers are a favorite party appetizer that is universally loved! They are crispy on the outside, with melted cheese on the inside.
- 2 tablespoon canned diced green chilies pureed
- 1 tablespoon canned diced jalapenos pureed
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 8 oz processed American cheese 12 slices
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro optional
- Puree green chilies and jalapenos. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the milk a little at a time. Whisk until smooth before adding more.
- Whisk in the garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, chili powder, paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the processed American cheese, diced green chilies, and diced jalapenos puree. Warm over medium-low heat, stirring often until the cheese is melted into the sauce, and bring to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese. Add a little more milk and additional salt at this point, if needed.
- Garnish with cilantro, if desired. Serve warm while warm.
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