culinary review

How To Make Creamy Smooth Cheese Sauce

Last Modified: 07/15/12
First Published: 09/30/07
Views: 71291
Views: 71291
Cheese sauce is a very versatile sauce that goes well oncheese_sauce sandwiches, over vegetables, with pasta, with meat etc... If you succeed it will be creamy, flavorful and quite fantastic. However, it can be a little tricky to create a perfect cheese sauce. If you are not careful enough and you try to add the cheese too fast , or if your temperature is too high, you will end up with something looking far from smooth and creamy with a very grainy texture. While it's not difficult to create a cheese sauce, it does require some patience. Once you've mastered this technique you can apply it further and create fondues, soups etc... since the principle is the same.
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General Info
Servings: 6
Total Cost: $2.66
Cost Per Serving: $0.44
Total Calories: 1,370
Calories/Serving: 228
Butter, Unsalted 1 Tablespoon 14.00 Grams $0.06 100
Flour, White Unbleached All Purpose 1 Tablespoon 0.27 Ounce $0.01 28
Milk, Whole 1 Cup 240.00 Grams $0.24 150
Lemon, Whole * 2.00 Ounces $0.21 12
Vermouth, Dry, Generic 750 ml Bottle 1/2 Tablespoon 7.00 Grams $0.07 14
Cheddar Cheese 2 Cups 264.00 Grams $2.05 1,064
Salt, Table 1/2 Teaspoon 3.00 Grams $0.00 0
Black Pepper, Ground 1/2 Teaspoon 1.07 Grams $0.01 3

This cheese sauce is based on a Béchamel Sauce. We utilize sharp cheddar cheese for this recipe, but any good, flavorful melting cheese can be used, or a combination of various cheeses. Good choices include Emmental, Gouda and Monterey Jack.


  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon of dry vermouth (or white wine)
  • 2 cups of sharp, grated cheddar cheese
  • salt, pepper


Start out with a saute pan on medium heat. Melt the butter, then add the flour and whisk vigorously until a paste forms.
bechamel_sauceBy letting a paste form and continuing to whisk the flour begins to cook and smell nutty. Once this occurs, add the milk. Once you begin to whisk the milk in the mixture will thicken fast. It will be at its most thick when it is at or near a boil. Add the lemon juice and lower the heat to low.
Take off the pan and start to add the cheese slowly.
cheese_sauceFirst off, add about 2 tablespoons of cheese, then stir and whisk until it’s absolutely incorporated – this may take a minute or two. If your sauce gets a little too cold, place it back on low heat until it’s warm again and stir continuously. Once your cheese is completely integrated, add some more and do the same process over again.
cheese_sauceIt’s very important that your sauce doesn’t get too hot, and that you never stop stirring, Don’t add too much cheese at once and always take your time so that each batch is completely melted before you add more cheese.

Once all the cheese is incorporated, add the vermouth and some salt and pepper. Stir and possibly add some more liquid (milk/vermouth/lemon juice depending on the taste) if your sauce is too thick and taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

If you need to keep your sauce warm, then simply keep it on low heat and continue to stir. Another alternative is to pour into a warm thermos and keep on hand. Once the cheese sauce cools off, its consistency might become slightly grainier – so serve this sauce immediately while it’s warm.