Cheese sauce ingredients: cheese, butter, flower and milk

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:

You’ll need:
50g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
600ml semi-skimmed milk
75g mature Cheddar cheese

Cheese sauce ingredients: cheese, butter, flower and milk

Equipment:
medium saucepan
wooden spoon or balloon whisk
box grater

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat.Cheese sauce step 1: melt butter in a pan
  2. When the butter has melted, add the flour.Cheese sauce step 2: Add flour
  3. Stir in the flour for 1 minute to make a paste – this is called the roux.Cheese sauce step 3: mix flour and butter
  4. Gradually add the milk, stirring as you go and ensuring each new addition is fully incorporated before adding the next.Cheese sauce step 4: add milk
  5. Keep going until the mixture is lovely and smooth, and there are no lumps. Cook for another minute or so, stirring occasionally.Cheese sauce step 5: mix milk and roux
  6. Remove the pan from the heat. Grate the cheese and stir in until it’s melted.Cheese sauce step 6: add cheese


Your basic cheese sauce is now ready to go! Check out these recipes for ways to use it: