Last Updated on November 2, 2021
Today, we’re going to be looking at how to make cheese sauce with cornstarch. More often than not, cheese sauce is made using flour. And not the gluten-free kind! This means it’s unsuitable to be eaten when following a gluten-free lifestyle. So how do you make cheese sauce with cornstarch instead of flour? Let’s take a look at how to get the perfect gooey, tangy cheese sauce.
What Is Cheese Sauce?
You’ll likely already be familiar with cheese sauce. It’s thick, creamy and of course, cheesy! Whether you’re pouring it over fries or using it as a dip for your nachos – it’s the perfect addition to any dish. Adding cheese to anything makes it taste better, right? Even if it’s cheese sauce!
Why Use Cornstarch Instead Of GF Flour?
Making your own cheese sauce is easier than you may think! You may already have gluten-free flour in your pantry and may be wondering why you can’t use that. The truth is, you can but cornstarch is actually a better alternative to use. Especially when making cheese sauce.
When trying to thicken a sauce, you only need half the amount of cornstarch, than you would flour. This is because cornstarch has twice the amount of thickening power! So if you like your cheese sauce thick (who doesn’t?!), you’ll want to be using cornstarch.
It’s also cheaper than gluten-free flour and far more accessible in your local grocery stores. It’s also a good option as it’s pretty flavorless, so you’ll be able to taste more of that cheesy goodness.
Cornstarch Cheese Sauce Recipe
So let’s get to the most important part – how do you make a gluten-free cheese sauce? We’re going to look at two recipes today. One is for fries and nachos, and the other for vegetables – but really, you can use the sauce for anything you fancy!
Cheese Sauce For Fries and Nachos Recipe (With Cornstarch)
This recipe from Serious Eats has been through a whole lot of experimenting by the writer! They’ve tried using a range of different ingredients and of course, cornstarch works the best. This recipe takes around 15 minutes in total and is the perfect accompaniment. It makes around 1 and 1/2 cups of sauce.
The ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are:
- 8oz of sharp cheddar cheese (or a mix of your favorite cheeses) – grated
- 1 tbsp. of cornstarch
- 12oz can of evaporated milk
- 2 tsp. of hot sauce (ensure it’s gluten-free! You can leave this out if you prefer your cheese sauce without heat)
- Jalapenos (optional – but perfect if you want your sauce spicier!)
Here’s a step-by-step guide to make the perfect cheese sauce. It’s ready in just 2 simple steps!
- Mix the cheese and cornstarch in a bowl. Once combined, place in a saucepan
- Add one cup of the milk with the hot sauce (if using) and cook on a low heat. Stirring repeatedly with a whisk is important to ensure it doesn’t burn. It may not look appealing at first, but after around 5 minutes it will be thick and melted. If it needs to be thinned out a little, add more milk if needed
And your cheese sauce is ready! It really is that simple. If you need to reheat the sauce, pop it in the microwave and check every 30 seconds or so until it’s the desired consistency and hot throughout.
Read more about: How To Make Nacho Cheese Without Flour
Easy Cheese Sauce For Vegetables (With Cornstarch)
The next recipe is from Build Your Bite and if you’re looking for a cheese sauce that your kids might enjoy, or something more mild – this is the cheese sauce for you!
The ingredients you’ll need for this easy cheese sauce are as follows:
- 2 cups of fresh sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- Quarter tsp. paprika (optional, for a hint of heat)
And much like the first recipe, it’s ready in 2 simple steps. The steps to follow are:
- Grate the cheese (if not already grated)
- Add the cheese, milk, cornstarch, garlic powder, pepper (and paprika), and stir consistently in a saucepan, on a medium heat. Depending on the thickness you desire, your sauce will be ready to serve between 5-10 minutes. The thicker you like your cheese sauce, the longer you need to leave it
And there we have it! Two easy gluten-free cheese sauce recipes to follow using cornstarch. It’s important to note that both of these recipes are easily adaptable.
If you like certain spices or flavors running through your cheese sauce, don’t be afraid to add them! Jalapenos, chili peppers, sweet peppers – any of these will taste great in your sauce. It’s all trial and error though and may take a few attempts before you get your perfect cheese sauce flavor.
Be sure that any ingredients you buy for these recipes are gluten-free, or contain no gluten ingredients. Many of them are naturally gluten-free, but it’s always best to check. You never know where gluten will sneak it’s way in. It always shows up in the most unlikely places. Always opt for products clearly labeled gluten-free if there’s a chance that gluten may be in them – those are the safest products.
I hope this article has helped you to see how easy it is to make gluten-free cheese sauce with cornstarch. And helped to understand why cornstarch is so much better to use than flour, even the gluten-free kind. Whether you’re putting it on a burger, hot dog, nachos, fries, or even vegetables – it really does make everything tastier!
Do you have your own cheese sauce recipe using cornstarch? Or will you be trying one of the recipes in this article today? If so, please let me know in the comments below. I would love to know how they turn out or try one of your recipes myself! You may be helping out a fellow gluten-free individual. Sharing is caring!
Hi, my name’s Zoë. I’m 28 years old and live in London, UK. I work full time as a freelance writer and critic for West End theatre. Writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I spend most of my free time at the theatre, or at conventions. I’m married to the love of my life, and live in a small apartment with my fur baby, Lillie. I run two of my own blogs: No Safer Place and Stage to Page: both of which have won awards. I also have a YouTube channel where I talk about all things stagey.