Simple Cheese Sauce Recipe

5 from 1 vote

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This simple cheese sauce pasta recipe is perfect when you are craving some serious comfort food. Of course macaroni and cheese is the obvious choice and we truly love it. But there are so many ways to enjoy melty cheese, why stop there?

Making cheese sauce from scratch is so easy, you may never reach for that blue box again.

cheese sauce with pasta in skillet

The best part is, you can use this simple sauce on potatoes, as a dip, or over steamed veggies. It’s so good!

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Ingredients/What to Buy

To create this basic cheese sauce recipe, you only need a handful of ingredients. I love a strong cheese flavor but you can really customize this recipe based on your preferences.

You will need:

  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese (or your favorite shredded melting cheeses)
  • Whole milk (or heavy cream if you really want to go for it)
  • Butter
  • All-Purpose flour
  • Salt and black pepper
Shredded cheddar on a cutting board

Easy Cheese Pasta Recipe Instructions

If you are making a simple mac and cheese with this, start by bringing your water to a rolling boil in a large pot on high heat.

Once the water is boiling, add a pinch of salt and your favorite type of pasta. Reduce to medium heat and cook until pasta is al dente or your preferred consistency.

To prepare the cheese sauce, I like to use the microwave.

To do this, stir together the milk, flour, butter, cheese, and salt in a large microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 4 minutes.

add cheese sauce ingredients to bowl

Then, remove the bowl and stir the melted butter and cheese together and and microwave again for another 4 minutes. Stir the creamy sauce until well combined and completely melted.

It’s ok to add a minute or two in the microwave if needed but you don’t want it to overheat.

Cheese sauce melted

If you prefer to use the stove, melt the butter in a large saucepan on low heat and gradually add the other ingredients while stirring.

Turn up the heat a little to fully melt the cheese and remove from the stove when melted. Then pour over the cooked pasta.

Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container. Reheat using the microwave or on the stove.

What to Serve with Cheese Sauce

Pasta dishes are always better with cheese sauce if you ask me. That said, there are many ways to enjoy it beyond the easy pasta recipes. Try one or all of these ideas.

  • Use as a dip for toasted garlic bread
  • Pour over your favorite veggies
  • Add a little beer while cooking and enjoy with pretzels
  • Use it as a cream sauce over your favorite protein like chicken or shrimp
  • Add some red pepper flakes to give it a little kick
  • If eating with macaroni and cheese, try mixing in a little apple sauce
  • Make buffalo chicken mac for a hearty meal

Variations

My mom always made this sauce using the sharpest cheddar cheese she could find. That is my starting point too, but if you like another type of cheese, use it!

You could make a cream cheese sauce by mixing it with some parmesan cheese and garlic powder.

Or create a cheese blend with Gruyere or blue cheese along with a few different kinds of cheese for a super flavorful dish.

I think when we are talking the delicious creaminess of a melted butter and cheese recipe, there is really no wrong choice. It’s all good!

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Print the Recipe Card

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s the ultimate comfort food! Warm, melty cheese is pretty much the key to my heart. And I love that you only need simple ingredients to make it.

Next time you need to make side dish I or a complete meal, I hope this recipe is something your whole family loves.

Cheese Sauce Pasta Recipe

5 from 1 vote
This simple cheese sauce is perfect on pasta or over your favorite protein. You can even use it as a dip for veggies or pretzels.
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions 

  • Prepare the cheese sauce by combining the milk, flour, butter, cheese, and salt in a microwave safe bowl.
  • Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Stir sauce and microwave on high for another 4 minutes.
  • Once cheese sauce is fully blended it is ready to use on your favorite pasta or steamed vegetables. Enjoy!

Notes

Feel free to substitute your favorite melting cheese instead of cheddar. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 231kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 51mg, Sodium: 544mg, Potassium: 123mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 558IU, Calcium: 278mg, Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American

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About Andrea Updyke

Andrea Updyke is a married mom of two boys living in Raleigh, NC. She is a published author and blogger of more than 18 years and loves to celebrate the little things that make life awesome.

Whether she's sharing tasty recipes, traveling or hanging with the family, Andrea's goal is to help make your days a little easier and a lot more fun! Email inquiries to andreaupdyke@gmail.com.

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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