Theater Style Nacho Cheese Sauce

Theater style nacho cheese sauce is as smooth and creamy as the sauce at the movie theater but our recipe doesn’t include processed cheese. 

theater style nacho cheese sauce

I never got to have nachos growing up. I know, what was I missing?

My dad was allergic to cheese and the alternatives at that time were nasty. Half the time the cheese wouldn’t even melt. Nachos, pizza….those foods were just not consumed in our house. My mom went with the all or nothing approach. I later learned that approach was because my Dad couldn’t resist. If the better foods that we were allowed to eat but not him were in the house, he would eat them. So the whole family embraced Dad’s eating habits and lived with his allergy.

I’ve searched for years for a really good nacho cheese sauce recipe that would be easy to prep. I am not a fan of shredding cheese. This recipe allows you to stick everything on the stovetop for easy prep.  And die hard movie theater nacho lovers have tried this recipe and give it rave reviews.  It’s also great for a parties. Simply double or triple the recipe depending on the size of the crow

We loved that this cheese stayed soft and creamy even after cooling slightly. A great recipe and one that tastes delicious and is better for you!

Theater Style Nacho Cheese Sauce


  • 4 oz pepperjack cheese, cut into cubes
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup evaporated milk (can substitute whole milk or lower fat milk versions, see notes)
  • 1-2 tsp hot sauce, optional


  1. In a saucepan, place the cheese, cornstarch and milk. Heat the mixture over medium low heat until the sauce becomes smooth, bubbly and thickened. Stir in the hot sauce if using. Remove from heat and serve in bowls or drizzle over nachos. Use additional milk to thin nacho sauce to desired consistency if needed.
  2. To store: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Heat on stovetop or on low in microwave for several minutes and use additional milk if necessary to thin.


If using low fat milk, we recommend adding an additional 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch or arrowroot powder Yes, you can cook this in the crockpot on low for 1-2 hours or high for 1/2-1 hour. Additional cornstarch or arrowroot powder may be needed to thicken. You can substitute lower fat cheese versions. This recipe has not been tested with vegan cheese or milk.

Recipe adapted from Kitchen Simplicity

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  1. This looks so yummy! I refuse to buy the processed cheese too… thanks for the great alternative!

  2. You can’t go wrong with real food! My daughter would love this 🙂

  3. COOL, I love that it doesn’t use processed cheese! I found this delicious recipe on Teach Me Tuesdays and would love it if you would bring it to my recipe link party The Yuck Stops Here. You can find us anytime from Tuesday evening to Sunday evening at 8pm ET at http://mommasangelbaby (dot) com. Hope to see you there! HUGS

  4. This really does look delicious, and I like that it doesn’t have processed cheese in it. I’m a big fan of pepper jack, too! Thank you for sharing this with us at Treasure Box Tuesday- pinned! 🙂

  5. I love nachos!!!!!!

  6. LOVE IT! Stumbled and pinned. Thanks for stopping by The Yuck Stops Here recipe link party this week, see you next week! HUGS

  7. Thank you for sharing this nacho cheese sauce at City of Creative Dream’s City of Links on Friday! I appreciate you taking the time to party with me. Hope to see you again this week 🙂

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