How to Make the Ultimate Nacho Cheese Sauce

Melting salts are key to this tasty recipe.

Photo courtesy of ChefSteps.

The following recipe is republished with permission from ChefSteps, a Seattle-based food and technology company on a mission to help people cook smarter.

This super-easy recipe takes about 25 minutes from start to finish, and the resulting cheese sauce is every bit as delicious as the cheesy topping you pump from a dispenser at the stadium. We use orange cheddar and kick it up a notch with spicy pickled jalapeños. The key to the velvety-smooth emulsified texture, though, is melting salts. In fact, you can’t get ooey-gooey melty cheese sauce without ’em, and the good news is: They’re affordable, easy to find, and easy to use.



  • Blender


25 minutes


600 g, or about 12 servings


Step 1 — Cut cheese into small pieces

  • 300 g Tillamook extra sharp cheddar

Cut into small pieces, or shred with a cheese grater.

Step 2 — Place ingredients into a ziplock bag

  • 300 g milk
  • 4 g salt
  • 12 g sodium citrate
  • 1.5 g sodium hexametaphosphate

Place milk and salts in a Ziplock bag and agitate slightly to dissolve. Add cheese, and seal bag. Drape the bag over the side of the sous vide bath, taking care not to leak any water in the bag.

If you don’t have a sous vide circulator, try our improved sous vide method, using just a pot of water on your stove top.

Step 3 – Melt cheese

Place bag in 167 °F / 75 °C bath for 15 minutes to melt the cheese.

Step 4 — Blend

  • 50 g pickled jalapeños

Place melted cheese and pickled jalapeño in blender and blend until smooth. If you want larger chunks of jalapeños, chop them by hand and fold them in after you blend.

Step 5 — Serve warm

Pour nacho cheese into an insulated container (like a cocotte or other pot with a lid), and serve warm.


Photo courtesy of ChefSteps.

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About ChefSteps

ChefSteps is a Seattle-based food and technology company on a mission to help people cook smarter. is designed to inspire creativity and encourage experimentation through high-quality interactive content, techniques, tools, and resources.

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