Not Your Typical White Cheddar Cheese Dipping Sauce

A white cheddar cheese sauce that has actual flavor and “doesn’t taste fake” according to recipe testers. What qualifies this as a not your typical cheddar dipping sauce is a balanced seasoning blend and a second cheese (parmesan). A simple cheese sauce made with milk —not cream—that is going to make calzones, chicken tenders and pizza super happy!

Light gray bowl with cheese sauce and a spoon in it.
A creamy white cheddar cheese sauce is so good with crackers or chips.

Condiments. To me, the more the merrier. At restaurants, I’m the “Sally” kind of orderer. Adding a dip or dressing on the side is pretty much standard. If you find that annoying, maybe you should stop reading because my love for a good sauce runs deep. And a cheddar cheese dipping sauce?

As the kids used to say, “Duuuuude”.

Other dipping sauces I ♥️: blue cheese dressing, creamy ranch, and mustard horseradish.

Key ingredients that make this dipping sauce better

Ingredients for cheese dipping sauce.
A simple ingredient list to make a really great cheddar cheese sauce.

Extra-sharp white cheddar cheese. I prefer using the one from Cabot (which I buy in a big block from Costco) because it melts beautifully while adding the intense flavor you’d expect from an extra sharp cheddar.

2% milk. This is a no cream cheese sauce. I highly recommend cow milk but if dairy isn’t your thing, you can use unsweetened cashew milk with almost the same results.

Seasoning. Found in my bechamel and light cream sauce for pasta, nutmeg adds a subtle warm flavor and a little flavor surprise plus a bit of garlic powder helps keep ’em guessing.

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How to make white cheddar dipping sauce

Flour and butter for a roux for cheese dipping sauce.
Melt butter and stir in flour.
Finished roux in saucepan for cheese sauce.
Cook for 2 minutes.
Saucepan with milk being added to cheese sauce.
Pour in milk and stir to cook and thicken.
Saucepan with white sauce topped with sauce coating back of spoon.
When the sauce coats the back of a spoon, it’s ready for cheese!
Adding grated cheese to white sauce in a saucepan.
Stir in the cheese until melted.
Nutmeg being whisked into cheese sauce in pan.
Mix in seasoning and spices.
  1. Make a roux. Melt butter in a sauce pan and stir in flour.
  2. Cook the roux two minutes.
  3. Add milk (upper right) and cook over low heat until thickened and the sauce coats the back of a spoon (lower left).
  4. Off the heat, stir in grated cheese and parmesan until melted.
  5. Stir in the salt and pepper followed by the nutmeg.

Best dipping vehicles

Hand dipping cracker into cheese sauce in light gray bowl.

You might disagree but…a dip is only as good as its vehicle. And not every dip (especially cheese dip) goes with everything. There are classic pairings and then the unexpected, fun ones.

Classic dippers for cheese sauce

  • Cut up veggies. Cheese sauce loves crisp peppers, broccoli, cauliflower or celery.
  • Chicken tenders or nuggets
  • Pretzels. Soft pretzels are perfect but you could also try some crispy seasoned pretzels too.

Unexpected dippers

  • Calzone. They don’t have sauce inside so they practically require a dipping sauce.
  • Beef sandwiches. I’m talking cheesesteak. Enough said.
  • Pizza. Yes pizza. Like a spicy Buffalo chicken pizza which might be complete with some white cheese sauce.

Other cheese suggestions

Can’t find or not a fan of sharp white cheddar? Make sure that your cheese of choice has an intense flavor or you might have to increase the salt to balance the flavor of the dip.

Some cheeses I like:

  • Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar. The crystals in this cheese bring the perfect tang to a white cheese dip.
  • Bella Vitano Merlot or Balsamic Cheese. These are a little harder to find but if you go to Costco they typically have a large wedge of the former. I use this in my mac and cheese sauce.

Made this recipe?

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Hand dipping cracker into cheese sauce in light gray bowl.
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Not Your Typical White Cheddar Cheese Sauce

A white cheddar cheese sauce that has actual flavor and "doesn't taste fake" per recipe testers. What qualifies this as a not your typical cheddar dipping sauce is a balanced seasoning blend and a second cheese (parmesan). A simple cheese sauce made with milk —not cream—that is going to make calzones, chicken tenders and pizza super happy!
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:6 minutes
Total Time:11 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • In a medium sauce pan, heat butter over medium low.
    1 T unsalted butter
  • Add flour and whisk for 2 minutes to cook off flour flavor.
    1 T all purpose flour
  • Pour in milk and add seasoning. Cook for about 4 minutes until thickened and the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
    1 cup milk, 3/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Turn off the heat and with a stainless spoon, stir in cheese until melted.
    1 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Add garlic powder and nutmeg and stir to incorporate.
    1/2 tsp garlic powder, pinch ground nutmeg

Notes

Amazing with crackers, pretzels or even more special with an Italian beef calzone.
Storage. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight sealed container for up to 4 days.
Reheat in the microwave in 30 second increments. Stir in between.
I don’t recommend freezing this cheese dip.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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