Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe

One of the things that makes Taco Bell’s cheese sauce special is that it’s made using real ingredients. Good old-fashioned cheddar cheese along with some secret seasonings, Taco Bell makes some of the best cheese sauce around.

While traditionally used as a dipping sauce for their famed nachos, if you make this yourself you can use it on anything you like! And boy, does it go well layered in a nice quesarito, or drizzled on their Taco Bell Nacho Fries.

No matter what you wish to pair it with, making Taco Bell Nacho cheese sauce at home is a breeze and can be done in under 30 minutes.

How to make Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Sauce

Unlike many other fast food cheese sauces, we’ll be using real cheese here. It’s important that you buy block cheese and grate it yourself. This is because pre-grated cheese has anti-clumping powder in it and you don’t want that in your sauce!

We’ll be using a nice blend of sharp cheese and hot sauce here, but there is also tons of room to add your own seasonings. Finely diced Jalapenos for example work great!

Ingredients:

(5 servings)

  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
  • 4 cups of sharp cheddar (grated)
  • 1 tablespoon of hot sauce
  • Salt

Instructions:

This is exceptionally easy to make and does not use any fancy ingredients. All you need is a pot and some heat!

Depending on how much kick you want the sauce to have you can add more or less hot sauce. One thing to be mindful of is whether you decide to use diced jalapenos or jalapeno juice, as they are quite salty you will want to go a little lighter with the added salt.

Step 1:

Take a pot and put it over medium heat. Now we can add the heavy cream, evaporated milk, cream cheese, mustard powder, and cornstarch.

Step 2: 

Keep whisking the ingredients together until it’s completely smooth. If you find that the mixture is getting a little too thick you can add an extra splash of evaporated milk to help thin it out a bit. But be careful not to make it too runny!

Step 3: 

Once everything is whisked together, wait for it to come to a boil. This is very important as if we add the cheese before it’s hot enough it won’t melt properly, resulting in a lumpy cheese sauce.

Start adding the grated cheddar cheese to the milk and whisking after each cup, check that it’s been completely incorporated before adding the next cup. Repeat until all 4 cups of cheddar have been used.

Step 4:

Add a dash of salt to taste, remember to go light if you have decided to use any additional spices which may already be salty.

Step 5:

Finally, we can add the hot sauce and any additional seasonings or spices if you have decided to use any. Stir well to make sure everything has been incorporated and the sauce is nice and smooth.

It’s now ready to serve! You can either put it in a bowl to be used as a dipping sauce or pour it over the food directly. 

Ingredient substitutions

Most people like their cheese sauce to have a little spice to it. But in terms of how much and what kind, we can completely customize it.

There are also some non-dairy substitutions that can replace certain ingredients without affecting the taste/texture much at all.

1. Coconut milk

As we need our sauce to be nice and thick, coconut milk makes a great substitute for heavy cream and/or evaporated milk because it’s much fatter/thicker when compared to common alternatives such as nuts or soy milk.

Ensure you get full-fat coconut milk and use it as a simple 1:1 replacement!

2. Jalapeno juice

Jalapenos make an ideal replacement or addition to the cheese sauce, they have a very special spicy flavor to them that many prefer over the taste of something like a regular hot sauce. As we mentioned already, just be mindful of the saltiness.

3. Alternative seasonings

If you don’t want a spicy or hot cheese sauce, there are a few much milder things you can replace the hot sauce with, so it still has a little zing but won’t be considered ‘hot’. These can be things like onion powder, diced/roasted peppers, or cumin powder.

4. Tapioca flour

If you need a gluten-free substitute for cornstarch, tapioca flour or even arrowroot flour are great alternatives. They’ll still yield that same thick texture while not compromising on any flavor.

What to serve with Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Sauce

The real question is what can’t you serve nacho cheese sauce with? It goes with just about anything!

Here are our top suggestions for some of the best foods to enjoy your cheese sauce with.

Nachos

One of the most common things people will enjoy cheese sauce with! A tray of freshly cooked nachos topped with ground beef, chicken, or slow-cooked pork which is then covered in the cheese sauce. Incredible! 

Feel free to put a healthy amount of salsa or guacamole on top to make it a true Taco Bell experience.

Quesarito

A signature dish that combines the best of a quesadilla and a burrito together. With seasoned beef, rice, and chipotle sauce which then gets a healthy dose of our cheese sauce on top. Then gets rolled up like a burrito. Delicious!

Beef Taco

No matter what you’ve decided to put it in, a nice line of cheese sauce pairs well with almost any kind of taco. But in particular, a beef taco with fresh green pepper, salsa, and cheese sauce makes for an incredible combination!

How to reheat Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Sauce

The two important things to remember when reheating our cheese sauce are that it’s quite easy to dry out and become thick as the reheating process depletes the moisture. Just add a dash of milk to help thin it out again.

Secondly, we need to bring the heat up gradually as it’s possible to burn it.

How to reheat Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Sauce in a pot

Simply add into a pot or pan over medium heat and stir continuously to ensure it doesn’t burn.

As soon as you see it start to bubble you’re done! Keep an eye on the thickness too and add the extra milk if necessary.

How to reheat Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Sauce in a microwave

Ensure the sauce is in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Remove it and give it a good stir, if it’s looking too thick add some milk and reheat it for another 30 seconds.

How to reheat Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Sauce in the oven

This is not really worth it unless you have a large quantity of the sauce. But if you have no other method available simply pre-heat the oven to 350°F and heat the cheese for about 10 minutes or until it starts to bubble.

How to reheat Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Sauce in an air fryer

Place the sauce in an oven-safe ramekin and cover with foil and air fry at 375°F until it’s warmed through. This shouldn’t take any more than 3-5 minutes.

How to store Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Sauce

Nacho cheese is really easy to store for later, ideal if you want to make it in bulk and use it over a few different meals that week!

Store in the fridge

Let the sauce come up to room temperature first and then transfer it to an air-tight container. Once refrigerated it will keep for up to 7 days.

Store in the freezer

This is a great method of storage if you’ve prepared a lot of cheese sauce. Simply put the sauce in an air-tight container, freezer bag, or even a vacuum-sealed bag to ensure no air can get to it and to avoid freezer burn.

Once frozen it will keep for up to 6 months. To defrost it simply take it out of the fridge and let it return to room temperature before heating it again.

taco bell nacho cheese sauce recipe

Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe

Taco Bell’s famed Nacho Cheese Sauce is deliciously rich and has just enough kick to it to enhance whatever you pair it with. It’s super easy to make at home so now you can enjoy this signature Taco Bell dipping sauce anytime you like!
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dip
Cuisine American
Servings 5 people
Calories 40 kcal
Equipment
  • 1 pot
Ingredients
  
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar grated
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • TT salt
Instructions
 
  • Take a pot and put it over medium heat. Now we can add the heavy cream, evaporated milk, cream cheese, mustard powder, and cornstarch.
  • Keep whisking the ingredients together until it’s completely smooth. If you find that the mixture is getting a little too thick you can add an extra splash of evaporated milk to help thin it out a bit. But be careful not to make it too runny!
  • Once everything is whisked together, wait for it to come to a boil. This is very important as if we add the cheese before it’s hot enough it won't melt properly, resulting in a lumpy cheese sauce.
    Start adding the grated cheddar cheese to the milk and whisking after each cup, check that it’s been completely incorporated before adding the next cup. Repeat until all 4 cups of cheddar have been used.
  • Add a dash of salt to taste, remember to go light if you have decided to use any additional spices which may already be salty.
  • Finally, we can add the hot sauce and any additional seasonings or spices if you have decided to use any. Stir well to make sure everything has been incorporated and the sauce is nice and smooth.
    It’s now ready to serve! You can either put it in a bowl to be used as a dipping sauce or pour it over the food directly. 
Nutrition
Calories: 40kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 9gFat: 12gSodium: 250mg
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