Making your own cheese sauce is a piece of cake. And let's be honest: if you're looking for a sauce for over cooked vegetables or fried chicken, this cheese sauce is indispensable in your cooking repertoire. The basic sauce has only 4 ingredients and always works. And if you want, you can make the sauce even tastier with all kinds of extra ingredients.
What is cheese sauce?
When we talk about cheese sauce, we mean the Dutch sauce with a roux base. First some butter and flour go into the pan and then milk and cheese are added. The result is a velvety smooth and nice and thick sauce that tastes like cheese, but is not overpowering.
Ideal for cauliflower, broccoli and carrots… but this cheese sauce is also irresistibly delicious on boiled potatoes or fried chicken breast. And not to forget: it is also the basis for a creamy, American 'Mac And Cheese'.
- 50 gr unsalted butter
- 30 gr flour
- 350 ml (semi-skimmed) milk
- 150 gr grated cheese (mature)
- ½ tsp paprika
- (optional) some cayenne pepper for an extra kick
- salt & pepper to taste
Take a saucepan and melt the butter in it over low heat. Then add the flour and stir well until the flour is cooked. This takes about 3 minutes.
Then add the milk and stir the sauce well with a whisk to avoid lumps. It is best to add half of the milk first and when this has been absorbed, also add the other half to the pan.
Then bring the sauce back to a boil. You will now notice that the cheese sauce is starting to thicken.
When the sauce boils, you can add the grated cheese and remove the pan from the heat. Stir the cheese sauce well again, so that all the cheese melts and can be stirred into the sauce. Finally, season the sauce with paprika powder, (optional) cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste.
…or choose one of the ingredients from the list below – Enjoy your meal!
This makes the cheese sauce even tastier
Once you've mastered the basic cheese sauce (and you'll have it in minutes!) you can start experimenting with additional ingredients for even more flavor. Some of our best ideas are:
- Smoked paprika powder
- chives or spring onions for a cheese onion sauce
- some finely chopped hot pepper for extra spice
- a pinch of cumin
- ½ tsp curry or masala for an exotic touch
- lots of black pepper – delicious over a steak!
- fried bacon or ham cubes
Can you store cheese sauce?
Cheese sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Place the freshly cooked sauce in a bowl and cover the cheese sauce with plastic wrap. The foil should touch the sauce. This prevents a skin from forming on the cheese sauce during storage.
If you want to serve the sauce (eg a day later), you can reheat it in a saucepan. You may need to add some extra milk as the cheese sauce has thickened in the meantime. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours. Unfortunately, freezing is not a good idea.
Do you love homemade sauces? Then make this one classic aioli!