Cinema Style Nacho Cheese Sauce

If you’ve ever wondered how to make nacho cheese sauce, this recipe is perfect for you. 

Great for movie nights, you can bring that cinema experience a little closer to home with your own cinema style nacho cheese recipe. Using only natural cheeses, this super-quick, easy recipe is perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

A Nacho Cheese Dip Without Velveeta

Nacho Cheese Dip is usually available at the cinema, but exactly what ingredients go into it? 

In America, to achieve that silky smooth texture of a nacho sauce, they often add a processed cheese called Velveeta to the recipe. However, this isn’t available to purchase in the UK, so we need to make our nacho cheese sauce without Velveeta. Thankfully, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s easily achievable. In addition, there’s no need to use burger cheese slices either, this recipe uses only natural cheese.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Quick and Easy – It’s ready in under 10 minutes and doesn’t need many ingredients.
Healthier – This dip only uses natural cheeses, so kids can enjoy it too.
You Can Make it Ahead – It’s super easy to reheat. Just pop it in the microwave and for 30 second intervals until it’s ready.

nacho cheese in a white bowl

Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce

This homemade cheesy dip is full of flavour and a lot more healthy than regular store-bought cheese dip. You can be a little more rest assured knowing exactly what you are feeding to your children by avoiding cheeses that have been overly processed and contain more salt.

The red Leicester cheese also gives it that typical bright yellow colour that your associate with the cheese dip you get at the cinema.   

When it’s movie night, you can make the night feel extra special by serving this super simple cheese dip alongside a big bag of your favourite chips or crisps like Doritos!


a photo of all the ingredients needed.
  • Flour and Butter – These two ingredients are combined over a low heat to create a roux. This gives the sauce a thick consistency and without this, the nacho cheese would be too runny.
  • Evaporated Milk and Milk – We use a combination of the two for the base of the cheese sauce. Evaporated milk will make your sauce a little more creamy.
  • Dijon Mustard and Cayenne Pepper – For that added depth or flavour and a little spice.
  • Cheddar, Monterey Jack Cheese and Red Leceister Cheese – All the cheese we need for an extra cheesy dip!

How To Make The Easiest Nacho Cheese

Check out the recipe card below for the full ingredients list and instructions.

a step by step collage for how to make nacho cheese dip.
  1. Firstly, we need to make a roux. A roux consists of flour and butter and is what we use to make our sauce thicker in consistency.
  2. Add a little milk to the prepared roux and whisk it through. Make sure there are no lumps and clumps present as you go.
  3. Keep stirring the sauce over a low heat. Avoid turning it up too high as it will burn.
  4. Add the mustard and spices. Keep stirring the sauce!
  5. Add the cheese. Make sure you grate the cheese first, it will help it to melt better.
  6. You can add a little more milk if the consistency it too thick for you.
a hand tipping in the bowl of three cheeses into the sauce.


How do I store homemade nacho cheese?

You can store any leftover cheese you may have in the fridge. Place it in an airtight container and store for up to 2 days.

What cheeses work best for nacho cheese?

As well as the cheese we have used in this recipe, other cheeses that work well in nacho cheese are the types that melt well. These include gruyere, white American cheese, pepper jack cheese, Mexicana cheese and provolone.

How do I keep my nacho cheese from solidifying?

The trick is to keep it warm. Nacho cheese will solidify as it cools. Keeping it warm over a low heat will keep the sauce from becoming solid.

Can I freeze cheese sauce?

Yes, this recipe can be frozen and gently reheated with a little extra milk when you want to use it.

Keeping The Cheese Sauce Runny

This cheesy dip recipe is perfect for parties served with a range of things to dip. You can serve it with a big bowl of tortilla chips, vegetable sticks, breadsticks. To keep the cheese sauce runny, we recommend serving it in a fondue pot or in heat proof bowls, served on a heating tray.

Tips and Guidance

Make it Spicier
This nacho sauce is mild in flavour, but you can spice up your nacho cheese dip with the addition of jalapenos. Finely chop some jalapenos to your taste and mix into the cheese sauce. Alternatively, you can also increase the amount of cayenne pepper you add to your sauce, to suit your own taste or mix in some hot sauce. 
Serve it Warm –
This dip is best served warm. When your sauce gets cold, it will begin to solidify. You only need to reheat it to make it fluid again. Serve it in a fondue pot or on a heating tray if you want to prolong the sauces temperature.
Substitute the Cheese –
If you cannot find Monterey jack cheddar, you can substitute it for more regular cheddar instead. 
Alter the Consistency –
If you want a runnier cheese sauce, simply add more milk to the recipe. When you want it thicker, reduce the amount of milk you add.

How To Use This Cheese Sauce

This homemade cheese sauce is pretty versatile and ready in under 10 minutes.  And it isn’t just for dipping tortilla chips either!

  • Pour it over some wedges or chips and create your own loaded fries.
  • Use it as a sauce for your burgers and wraps.
  • Top chilli con carne with it.
  • Pour it Over Chicken.
  • Use it as a dip for flatbread.
  • Pour it Over broccoli or cauliflower and create a delicious side dish that will encourage the kids to eat their veggies.
nacho cheese dip in a bowl surrounded by nachos.

Other Cheesy Recipes We Love

overhead view of the cinema style nacho cheese with a hand dipping in a nacho

Cinema Style Nacho Cheese Sauce

Author: Becky
If you’ve ever wondered how to make nacho cheese sauce, this recipe is perfect for you. 
Great for movie nights, you can bring that cinema experience a little closer to home with your own cinema style nacho cheese recipe. Using only natural cheeses, this super-quick, easy recipe is perfect for the whole family to enjoy.
5 from 31 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Appetizer, dip, sauce, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 249 kcal


  • 25 g Butter
  • 20 g All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 50 g Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 30 g Red Leicester Cheese
  • 30 g Cheddar


  • Melt the butter over a low heat in a saucepan.
  • Add the flour and whisk together to make a paste called a roux.
  • Keep stirring the roux over a low heat for a minute.
  • Combine the milk and evaporated milk together and begin to slowly add to the roux. Keep whisking to make the mixture smooth and thick without any lumps.
  • Continue whisking until you have added all the milk.
  • Add the mustard and pepper and stir through.
  • Add the grated cheese and stir through to melt.
  • Serve immediately, while warm or allow to cool and place in an airtight container in the fridge to serve later.

Watch The Tutorial

Recipe Notes and Guidance

See recipe post for more detailed tips and guidance. 
  • Serve it warm. This sauce will solidify when cold. 
  • Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. 
  • You can make it spicier by adding more cayenne pepper, hot sauce or chopped jalapenos. 

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 249kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 11gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 226mgPotassium: 222mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 573IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 356mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cheesy dip, nacho cheese dip, runny cheese sauce
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