The Expert-Approved Ingredients You Need For The Perfect Nacho Sauce

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Perfectly gooey and pleasantly tangy, it's hard to imagine a dish that a touch of nacho cheese couldn't elevate (we've even got 29 must-try recipes with cheese sauce ready to go). If you think canned nacho cheese is liquid gold, just imagine how incredible it tastes when it's homemade. For many folks, nacho cheese may seem like one of those magical, miracle foods that just appear, ready for them to enjoy, but whipping up a top-notch batch of the sauce at home is all too easy with the right ingredients.

While the cheese is, of course, the pièce de résistance in any nacho cheese sauce recipe, Keyshawn Hudson, content creator and author of "Food Family Repeat," reminded MegaMenu that you need more than just cheese to create that coveted creamy texture. "Key ingredients for perfect homemade nacho sauce include milk or cream to achieve the desired consistency, butter or oil for richness, flour or cornstarch as a thickening agent, and seasonings such as garlic powder, cumin, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne for flavor," Hudson told MegaMenu in an exclusive interview.

Mix-ins aren't just for ice cream

To make nacho cheese sauce that maintains its melty, gooey consistency, you'll first need to make a roux — a mixture made from fat and flour, or in this case, butter and cornstarch. The mistake everyone makes when making nacho cheese is neglecting to add a dash of sodium citrate, a type of salt that helps emulsify the ingredients in your nacho cheese sauce and keep them from separating.

The onus of flavoring the nacho cheese sauce doesn't just fall on the cheese and the smattering of spices, either. "Incorporating diced tomatoes, green chilies, or jalapeños can add depth and a hint of spice to the sauce," Keyshawn Hudson told MegaMenu. You can put your cheese sauce on chips, hot dogs, burgers, fries, or pretzels for an extra cheesy kick, or you could add it to our copycat Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme recipe. Alternatively, you can give your nacho cheese sauce a meaty makeover by mixing in ground beef or sausage. You might even want to try this fresh Mexican chorizo recipe for a spicy queso con chorizo vibe.