Recipe: Best Ever Nacho Cheese Sauce

Perhaps it has to do with growing up in Southern California, but I find few meals more satisfying than a big plate of nachos with all the toppings. I’m talking about the gooey, cheesy ballpark type nachos. Not the kind with a few chips topped with plain cheese. Those aren’t nachos. They’re chips. With cheese. Not nearly as enticing as a creamy and delightful cheese sauce smothering warm chips topped with guacamole, salsa, and green onions. And beans. Perhaps taco meat. Oh, my mouth is watering.

Today, I’m sharing my best recipe for nacho cheese. Not chips with cheese. This is the best textured cheese sauce I’ve found. Feel free to experiment with different types of cheeses. Omit jalapenos if you want to cut out some spice. It does have quite a kick, so I don’t use jalapenos when the kids will be enjoying it as well.

Best Ever Nacho Cheese Sauce
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook 3rd Edition: Cookware Rating Edition

-1 3/4 C whole milk
-2 TBS cornstarch
-4 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese (1 C)
-4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (1 C)
-1/2 jalapeno, chopped. Ribs and seeds removed. (Optional)

1. Bring 1 1/2 C of milk to a simmer in a large saucepan. Mix the cornstarch and remaining milk (1/4 C) together, then stir into the simmering milk on the stove. Continue to cook, whisking often, until thickened, about 2 minutes. (If milk is not warm enough, it will not thicken. But if it’s too hot it will scald. Keep an eye on the temp of the milk. Start at medium-high heat and adjust as necessary.)

2. Once thickened, turn off the heat, and stir in the cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in jalapenos and season with salt.

3. Serve over nachos, as a dip, or over broccoli.

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