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5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce

You can’t go wrong with this easy homemade nacho cheese sauce recipe. This recipe is so simple that anyone can make it! Learn how to make nacho cheese in just 5 minutes with this simple method.

Easy 5 minute nacho cheese sauce recipe

This 5 minute nacho cheese sauce is one of my favorite things to make for Mexican night.

While I love a good queso, this cheese dip is made in minutes when I don’t have a lot of time.

Ideal served with tortilla chips, or over nachos, but I could totally get down with drizzling it over roasted vegetables or just about anything.

a chip being dipped into nacho cheese

Nacho Cheese Sauce Ingredients (No Roux)

  • heavy cream
  • colby jack cheese
  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • chili powder
  • cornstarch

How to make nacho cheese sauce

collage image showing the ingredients being added into the pan

Step 1: add the heavy cream to a pan and warm it to medium heat, but do not boil.

Step 2: Once your heavy cream is warm, add the paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cornstarch, and freshly grated colby jack cheese.

Stir or whisk the cheese sauce often for three to five minutes, until thick.

The longer you stir over low to medium heat, the thicker it becomes.

Using Fresh Grated Cheese

Pre shredded cheese is not the way to go for this recipe, as fresh just tastes so much better and makes a big difference in the quality of the nacho cheese sauce. 

For a super thick sauce, just leave it on the heat a little longer, watching and stirring so that it doesn’t burn.

gluten free nacho cheese

This nacho cheese recipe is similar to my  cheddar cheese sauce recipe , but made with colby jack cheese and mexican spices to create a nacho cheese flavor.

 How Do You Make a Quick Cheese Sauce? 

The answer is simply: cornstarch.

By using this as a thickener, you spend much less time and the taste is just as good!

Once I realized the cornstarch trick, I make all of my cheese sauce recipes this way!

Cornstarch is now a time saving staple in my home.

You can’t taste it, and it makes dinner time a heck of a lot easier.

How to make nacho cheese in 5 minutes

Once we first made this recipe, I had to make it three times in one week because I just could not get enough of it!

The homemade nacho cheese just takes nacho night to the next level.

It literally takes five minutes to make and tastes so good I really can’t even prepare you for the deliciousness.

Since first posting this recipe, I have made this countless times and even served it at a party.

the best easy nacho cheese

From easy dinners to party appetizers, you really can’t go wrong with a batch of this cheesy goodness!

It reminds me of going to a mexican restaurant and filling up on chips and cheese.

I could totally do that with this recipe!

I love this cheese sauce plain with tortilla chips, or drizzled (very) generously over whatever mexican dish we are having that night.

What to eat with nacho cheese sauce

  • nachos
  • burrito bowls
  • quesadillas
  • tacos
  • burritos
  • enchiladas
 nacho cheese sauce recipe

You can’t resist how delicious this nacho cheese is.

a chip placed in the nacho cheese

What is the best cheese for nacho cheese sauce

I find colby jack perfect in this recipe, but if you wanted to use another cheese (think sharp cheddar, pepper jack, etc) you totally could.

Or, if you like spicy sauce, double the paprika in this recipe for a spicy nacho cheese or use pepper jack cheese.

I definitely plan on making a white cheese/queso blanco sauce based on this recipe in the future.

gluten free mexican cheese sauce

Here’s my favorite way to serve it: drizzled oh so generously over my 30 minute sweet potato refried bean nachos.

5 minute nacho cheese sauce recipe. Perfect for dipping, or poured over nachos! Just 6 ingredients! #nachocheesesauce #vegetarian #mexicanfood

more mexican recipes

Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a star rating below!

Yield: 6 servings

Nacho Cheese Sauce

chip being dipped into nacho cheese

The easiest 5 minute nacho cheese sauce made with no flour or roux!

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups freshly grated colby jack cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Heat a sauce pan on medium heat and add heavy cream
  2. Once cream begins to get warm, add cheese, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and corn starch
  3. Whisk until thick and creamy (around 5 minutes or less)
  4. Serve with chips, over nachos or with any mexican themed dish!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 285Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 241mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g

Did you make this recipe?

Be sure to tag me on instagram @buildyourbite and hashtag #buildyourbite with your recipe creations!

 Looking for more easy recipes? Be sure to check out this copycat Papa John’s Garlic Dipping Sauce.

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Thursday 2nd of February 2023

I made this as written but with sharp cheddar. Wow, I’m never gonna stress about making a queso roux on a weeknight again. Perfect for when you need to throw together nachos with a couple of pantry staples. Thank you!


Friday 24th of September 2021

My kids loved this cheese sauce, it was so much better than the ones that have a butter and flour base. We used the sauce for nacho night but I'm sure there are plenty of other things I can use this for.


Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Best cheese sauce I've ever made. Thanks!

Joy Shull

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

I'm so glad you enjoyed it!


Sunday 24th of January 2021

This was delicious! The spices were perfect- great flavor and texture. I added was some jalapeño juice from a jar in the fridge for some extra spice. This will be my new go to recipe, thank you!

Joy Shull

Monday 25th of January 2021

Thanks for leaving a review, so glad you enjoyed it!


Monday 16th of November 2020

I came back to bookmark this. I used Kraft Deluxe slices to give it that creamier texture but needed some seasonings to add some nacho flavor. This was so delicious. I made it Saturday, threw in some pulled chicken breast and sweet and spicy jalapeños and wow. We are still talking about it three days later. The proportions are hard to get right without some guidance, so I will keep this for reference.

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