Whether you’re making a Killer Mac ‘n’ Cheese, a comforting lasagne or a cauliflower cheese, you’ll need to know how to make cheese sauce.
The trick is to get the sauce silky smooth, which is easy to do as long as you add the milk gradually, stirring constantly so that each new addition is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Take your cheese sauce up a level by adding garlic, thyme, rosemary or bay leaves, mustard, a grating of nutmeg or plenty of freshly ground black pepper – it’s a great vehicle for other flavours.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to basic cheese sauce:
50g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
600ml semi-skimmed milk
75g mature Cheddar cheese
wooden spoon or balloon whisk
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat.
- When the butter has melted, add the flour.
- Stir in the flour for 1 minute to make a paste – this is called the roux.
- Gradually add the milk, stirring as you go and ensuring each new addition is fully incorporated before adding the next.
- Keep going until the mixture is lovely and smooth, and there are no lumps. Cook for another minute or so, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Grate the cheese and stir in until it’s melted.
Your basic cheese sauce is now ready to go! Check out these recipes for ways to use it: