Our favorite cheese sauces

Cheese sauces are an excellent way to turn an ordinary meal into something dreams are made of. They can be a lovely accompaniment to a meal, or they you can have them play the starring role in the main course. The cheese sauce recipe you choose can make or break a meal, which is why it's so important to make sure that when you're using a solid recipe. Here, we've compiled a list of four tried-and-true recipes that are sure to make your tastebuds sing, weather you're drizzling the sauce over steamed veggies, or using the sauce as the base for a rich pasta dish.

Cheesy Béchamel

To start off, here is a recipe for a lovely cheesy béchamel. The humble béchamel is a rich, well-known French sauce that is considered to be one of the mother sauces, meaning it is the base for many other sauces. It was originally used during a time when refrigeration didn't exist and food that had begun to turn rancid needed a little something extra to mask the unfavorable flavor. Nowadays, while it isn't needed for spoiled food, is fabulous on its own or can be used to support other sauces. It is also commonly known as a white sauce, and it can be found in lasagnas, casseroles, and the beloved macaroni and cheese. In this recipe, it’s made with cheddar and parmesan cheeses to develop a thick and creamy but mild cheese sauce, perfect for macaroni and cheese, topping off vegetables, or even as a base for a soup. This is a great sauce for making ahead as well. While it may thicken a bit when cooled, it can be easily thinned out by stirring in a splash of milk or cream. When you start a dish off with a béchamel sauce, you know you’re preparing for greatness.

Chile con Queso

Chile Con Queso

This next recipe is a particular favorite of mine: chile con queso. Originating in northern Mexico, this Tex-Mex delicacy is a staple on just about every Texan restaurant menu. While the thought of queso may bring to mind images of neon orange bricks of processed cheese-like product melted into a can of tomatoes, this recipe is nothing like that. Using real cheese, freshly chopped vegetables, and sour cream, the flavor is spot-on, while the freshness adds a surprisingly pleasant element. An important element of this particular recipe is to shred the cheese yourself, as pre-shredded cheese often contains ‘extras’ to keep it from clumping, which is great for everyday use, but will create a gritty sauce for this recipe.

The exciting thing about this recipe is that this cheese sauce is not just a one hit wonder. While it is perfect for nachos, it’s also a great with tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, as well as on top of burgers and fries. It can turn a simple beans and rice dish into a zesty trip across the border, or a run-of-the-mill salad into something spectacular. This recipe is a great place to start when you’re in the mood for chile con queso, and it’s easy to tweak and customize, making it a great addition to any meal.

Mornay Sauce

If you are seeking out pure indulgence, this recipe for Mornay sauce will make your heart sing. This sauce originates in France and is a perfect example of how a simple béchamel can be used to develop something truly exquisite. This sauce was used in the same manner as the béchamel in order to mask the flavors of spoiled food. At its most basic level, it is comprised of a béchamel with gruyere and parmesan. However, there are many additions that can be made to this sauce to add other flavor notes, such as onion, garlic, and bay leaves, as is done in this recipe. This sauce goes well with many different foods, and you may have even had it before without realizing it, as it can be found in alfredo sauces, gourmet macaroni and cheese dishes, and lasagna. It also goes extremely well over chicken, steak and vegetables, but is also able to pair well with fish due to its delicate flavor. Whether combined with pasta, vegetables, or meat, this dish is sure to please any palate. If you’re feeling adventure, give it a try with tuna and mushroom. While the combination may seem surprising, you won’t be sorry.

Mornay Sauce

Non-Dairy Cheese Sauce

While for many, cheese sauces can be a source of pure joy, for others, they’re nothing but heartache and stomach pain. For the lactose-intolerant of the world, creamy, rich, decadent cheese sauces may seem like nothing more than a distant dream, but thanks to the hard work and creativity of cheese lovers on a mission who refused to give up, non-dairy versions of the beloved pizza topping were born. Thanks to non-dairy shreds and non-dairy milk, this dream-come-true of a recipe will leave satisfy the craving of the one thing you’ve been missing for so long. While the ingredients in this Ultimate Vegan Cheese Sauce may be surprising with components such as beans and nutritional yeast, nevertheless, they all come together to create a luscious sauce that could match any full-dairy cheese sauce. Though the concept of non-dairy cheese sauces is not new, they’ve greatly improved with the advent of more polished non-dairy cheeses. Recipes such as this one are a great choice because they don’t include nuts or soy, as many non-dairy cheese sauces can, making them an allergen-friendly dish that is sure to satisfy.

If you know where to look, you can find just the cheese sauce recipe you need for almost any occasion, whether it be for a robust queso to enjoy while hunkered down in front of Netflix on a Friday night, or for a velvety parmesan cream sauce to adorn your Sunday dinner. While not everyone has the luxury of being able to enjoy dairy, that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a luscious cheese sauce. With a little innovation, creativity, and a taste for adventure, you’ll be able to whip up a cheese sauce that your friends, family, and guests will be begging to get a recipe for.

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