Home > Cheese Recipes > Cheese Sauces

Cheese Sauces

By: Diane Bobis - Updated: 18 Jun 2013 | comments*Discuss
Cheese Sauce White Sauce Béchamel Mornay

Macaroni cheese, fondue, croque-monsieur...so many of our favourite comfort-food recipes have one thing in common: a rich, creamy cheese sauce.

Almost any kind of cheese can be used to make homemade cheese sauce - especially the bits leftover from last night's cocktail party. While the most popular cheese sauce is made with Cheddar, you can whip up similarly mild and versatile sauces with Lancashire, goat's cheese, and Swiss cheeses.

For a sophisticated twist, try more assertive cheeses like Gorgonzola, Asiago, or savoury, smoked Gouda. Focus on your one favourite variety of cheese, or use a mixture of two or three. All you need is 15 minutes and some basic cupboard ingredients.

Here's how to make a simple cheese sauce:

Step 1: Make a Basic White Sauce

Cheese sauces can be tossed with pasta, poured over vegetables, or drizzled over fish and poultry. When made properly, a cheese sauce can transform the simplest dish into something quite special.

Classic cheese sauce begins with a roux-based white sauce, otherwise known as Béchamel. Béchamel is nothing more than butter, flour, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Once you prepare it, you can add any shredded, grated, or crumbled cheese to make any cheese sauce your heart desires.

Béchamel White Sauce (Cheese Sauce Base)

Makes about a pint

  • 40g Butter
  • 40g Plain Flour
  • 1 pint Milk
  • Pinch of Ground Nutmeg

Place the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over gentle heat. As the butter melts, gradually add the flour, constantly blending with a whisk.
When the butter and flour have combined to a smooth, thick paste, begin to add the milk a little at a time. Keep whisking until you have a smooth, white liquid without lumps.
Turn up the heat and bring the liquid to a boil, stirring constantly. When the sauce begins to thicken, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Keep stirring.
Season with nutmeg.

Step 2: Add Your Cheese

Once you have prepared the basic Béchamel to this point, you can add the cheese (or cheeses) of your choice. You will usually need to season your sauce with salt and pepper, but if you're using a rich cheese (like an aged blue), you won't need much.
  • 115 - 225g of grated, or crumbled cheese
  • to taste: salt and pepper

With the Béchamel at a low simmer, add the cheese, a little at a time. Stir constantly until smooth and completely melted. Note: if the sauce looks too thick, add a little more milk. Season sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat and serve immediately.


Once you have mastered the basic techniques of making homemade cheese sauce, experiment with different cheese combinations and seasonings. While your sauce melts and simmers, why not add a splash of lemon juice, white wine, or extra decadent double cream?

A pinch of your favourite spice (perhaps cayenne pepper, mustard powder, or garlic salt) can also elevate a basic cheese sauce to something much more refined.

Serving Ideas

A smooth, creamy cheese sauce can liven up rice, vegetables, meat, seafood, or a simple loaf of day-old crusty bread. A Parmesan cheese sauce is perfect over a plate of whole grain pasta, while a cheese sauce made with melted Cheshire would be absolutely lovely over poached eggs or steamed vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots, and asparagus.

The most famous cheese sauce is perhaps Mornay, a basic Béchamel sauce combined with half Parmesan and half Gruyère. Classic Mornay is beautiful over broiled fillets of cod or orange roughy, and truly elegant with sautéed scallops and shrimp.

Note: If you're not using your cheese sauce right away (or you're lucky enough to have leftovers), leave it to cool and then cover. Refrigerate for up to several days. Re-heat gently on the hob or in the microwave, and enjoy!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopfully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • ronnie
    Re: Casu Marzu: World's Most Dangerous Cheese?
    First time i read this i actually thought that before you eat it,maybe,some how you get the maggots out of the…
    11 March 2017
  • Pixee
    Re: Blue Cheese: Roquefort
    Hi Could you let me know when Roquefort cheese was first available in the UK? Many thanks Donna.
    8 January 2017
  • Cheesefancier
    Re: Limburger: The Worlds's Smelliest Cheese?
    Being fond of Limburger, I enjoyed your article. But I doubt it's the smelliest cheese. There's a Gloucestershire…
    22 October 2016
  • unlucky
    Re: Portuguese Cheese Such as Castelo Branco
    could you please give me an idea of cheeses from the azores and where to buy them, I recently stayed in the azores…
    21 October 2016
  • ILoveCheese
    Re: A Guide to Dutch Cheeses
    Liesie - Your Question:How could I buy some Leiden kaas but not dry from where?They took our sources of our Hollandse bakery and our…
    23 September 2015
  • Liesie
    Re: A Guide to Dutch Cheeses
    how could I buy some Leiden kaas but not dry from where? They took our sources of our Hollandse bakery and our Hollandse store away…
    21 September 2015
  • ILoveCheese
    Re: Danish Cheeses
    @Greg. We have this available online from many stockists here in the UK. Home someone can help you with the sourcing it over in the States.
    23 June 2015
  • Greg
    Re: Danish Cheeses
    I share the concern of people looking for Esrom - the richest flavored cheese I know. Wegman's in the Pentagon City area stopped stocking it several…
    18 June 2015
  • ILoveCheese
    Re: Why Serve Port With Cheese?
    @Flamingo. No we've not heard of this. Can any of our readers help?
    20 May 2015
  • Flamingo
    Re: Why Serve Port With Cheese?
    Does anyone know about or where to look for info on.Flamingo cheeses. I'm told they were originally Dutch cheeses shipped in…
    16 May 2015
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ILoveCheese website. Please read our Disclaimer.