Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables


Liven up everything from broccoli to baked potatoes with my 5-minute Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables!

Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables | iowagirleats.com

My parents were lucky in that my brothers and I didn’t need too much convincing to eat our vegetables when we were growing up. Well besides, say it with me, bell peppers and cooked carrots (like, stewed carrots. I can’t even!) Oh, and lima beans. If I never see a bag of frozen succotash again, it’ll be too soon.

That said, even I, a die-hard veggie lover, can appreciate a little jazzing up of my favorite side dish every now and again with a warm, decadent Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce drizzled on top, muwahaha!

This cheddar cheese sauce takes just 5 minutes to make and will liven up everything from steamed broccoli and cauliflower, to hot baked potatoes. In addition to veggies it’s also great to stir into pasta and rice, or even pour directly over crunchy tortilla chips for a little homemade nacho action!

Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables | iowagirleats.com

The recipe is adapted from the cheddar cheese sauce I made to swirl into my Cheesy Taco Soup, except it has just a tad more shredded cheddar to really pump up the flavor.

Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables | iowagirleats.com

The result is sensational! Thick and extra-cheesy – perfect for convincing any veggie hater to eat their greens or, for those who don’t really need an extra push, a special, occasional treat.

Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables | iowagirleats.com

Start by melting 2 Tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then whisk in 2 Tablespoons gluten-free or all-purpose flour and cook for 1 minute.

Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables | iowagirleats.com

Next, slowly whisk in 1 cup milk, season with salt & pepper, then switch to a wooden spoon and stir until the mixture has thickened, about 3-4 minutes.

Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables | iowagirleats.com

Turn off the heat then add 1-1/2 cups freshly shredded cheddar cheese and stir until smooth. I HIGHLY recommend using freshly grated cheese (vs pre-grated) as pre-grated cheese has a coating to prevent it from sticking together and won’t melt as well.

Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables | iowagirleats.com

Taste the sauce then add more salt & pepper if necessary. Drizzle over your favorite steamed veggies then devour!

Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables | iowagirleats.com

Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables

serves 4-6


Liven up broccoli to baked potatoes with 5-minute Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables!


  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten-free or all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup milk (works best with 2% milk)
  • 1-1/2 cups freshly shredded cheddar cheese (not pre-grated)


  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour then whisk for one minute. Slowly whisk in milk then season with salt and pepper and switch to a wooden spoon. Stir and cook until thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Turn off heat then add cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Taste then season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.


This cheese sauce is so yummy that it might even convince your kids to eat the broccoli “trunks”. I was all about the broccoli “tree tops” when I was little, leaving the trunks for, well, the dog. (RIP Friski.) Feel free to play around with the type of cheese in here too – I’m thinking a mix of cheddar and Pepper Jack would be awesome drizzled over a baked potato!

Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables | iowagirleats.com


More Easy Side Dishes You’ll Love!

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Creamy Garlic Shells >

Click here to view all side dish recipes >

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  1. Everything is better with cheese! Especially broccoli. And Friski…such a a cute name. I wish they could out-live us!

  2. maci 02.25.2013

    does that make me odd that i love lima beans, lentils,bell pepper, cooked carrot and pretty much any veggie and ALWAYS have? hmmmm? cheese looks yummy

    • JackieA 06.24.2014

      NO…I love all veggies also.

  3. Sarah B. 02.25.2013

    That’s how I make the cheese sauce for my personal serving of mac & cheese… right down to the switch from whisk to wooden spoon. It’s soooooo good. (Add roasted broccoli to eat with & I’m happy!)

  4. Looks decadent!

  5. Karla Turney 02.25.2013

    What don’t you like about bell peppers? I’m not a fan of raw carrots but cooked are okay.

    I’ve always made cheese sauce with Velveeta but will try this recipe in an attempt to get the kids to eat broccoli. Thanks for the info about the shredded cheese. Didn’t know about that coating but makes sense. Did you use a mild or sharp cheddar?

  6. Danika 02.25.2013


  7. Trina Ruck 02.25.2013

    No kids, but my husband still asks for cheese on his broccoli! I think I will try freezing some of this sauce to have on hand.

  8. Perfect! I had to sit myself down for a come to Jesus talk today because I’ve been slacking off on the whole lose weight before summer thing. We decided that I needed to eat more veggies. This will definitely make that easier.

  9. Cheese sauce makes everything better but I can definitely go to town on some steamed broccoli. Yours looks perfect!

  10. Sara L 02.25.2013

    I almost never have cow milk on hand! I always have almond or soy milk, however. Can i use it for this recipe? I was just thinking that I needed a way to jazz up my veggies and would love to try this!

    • nancy 12.08.2013

      Can almond milk be substituted?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 12.08.2013

      I haven’t tried, so I can’t vouch for the consistency, but I think it would work!

    • Amy 02.03.2014

      Is is the cow part that’s a problem? I’ve made cheese sauce with evaporated milk before and it’s delicious. Of course, it’s still cow, so, that may not be helpful for you.

  11. My mom used to make green beans with a certain processed cheese when us kids were growing up. Although I’d never buy a block of that stuff for myself, I could certainly get a little nostalgic by making this not-so-naughty version :)

  12. This looks yummy! I wonder if I can use Veggie Shreds instead of real cheese… my son has a dairy allergy, so that’s what I use for him when anything calls for cheese. He’s always saying he wishes he could have nachos! :)

  13. spiffi 02.25.2013

    cheese sauce or not, the broccoli stalks are my *favourite* parts – the little tree bits are definitely second rate!

  14. Debt girl 02.25.2013

    I did not know that about coated per shredded cheese, good to know and this is yummy looking!!

  15. Jodea @ chillichocolatelove.com 02.26.2013

    Brocolli trunks are my favourite bit!

  16. Ruth 02.26.2013

    I pin just about everything you post. You’ve made my life/meal-planning so much easier with your recipes. Keep up the good work! My tummy (and my husband’s) is so thankful.

  17. Brenda 02.26.2013

    That is a great basic cheese sauce that every new cook needs to add to his/her recipe box. That makes so much sense about the coating on the cheese. Duh!

  18. Cookbook Queen 02.26.2013

    Broccoli with cheese sauce is one of my most favorite things!! Yay to no more cheez whiz!! Totally trying this :)

  19. This looks like a perfect addition to broccoli (or any other veggie!! YUM!

  20. LOVE this! It was totally the only way I would eat broccoli as a kid, although that was cheese sauce from a jar ;-) I’m definitely making this!

  21. Elizabeth 02.26.2013

    The “trunks” were (and remain) my favorite part. Too bad we couldn’t have tag teamed that as kids! I will definitely be trying this cheese dip soon; even as a mostly grown up, I need some extra encouragement to eat the veggies. And, I think the brocoli and cheese would be amazing on top of a potato. Kind of like the ones you get at Wendys, but healthier.

  22. I love the idea of drizzling this over a baked potato – yum! When my brother was little I remember the only way we got him to eat broccoli was to call them “tree stars” – my brother loved The Land Before Time!

  23. Marin D 02.26.2013

    This looks great and simple enough! I always want a cheese sauce but never took the time to figure out how to make one. I am going to try this for our baked potatoes next time. Thanks for posting!

  24. Tasha @ Homemade 02.26.2013

    Almost licked the screen … thats how dang good these pictures are … looks sooooooo good.

  25. Julia 02.26.2013

    Cheese makes everything better–this is a great way to get the kiddos to eat their veggies!

  26. Caitlyn 02.26.2013

    My mom always made baked potatoes, broccoli and cheese sauce (pretty much your exact recipe) as dinner growing up – it was always one of my favorites!

  27. Brita 02.28.2013

    I willl do this…..tonight! I’ve been thinking of a different way to eat the leftover broccoli and cauliflower in my fridge – and now I can’t wait :) Broccoli is my go-to veggie. I crave it sometimes, my roommates think I’m crazy!

  28. Brita 03.01.2013

    Made this last night with broccoli, cauliflower, sausage, and rice. It was so easy, so delish, and sooo cheesy! Thanks for the simple and perfect fix to an otherwise boring dish :)

  29. lisa 03.05.2013

    I am going to try this tonight, hoping it will help my 5-year old eat broccoli/cauliflower. The problem is, its just the two of us. How do you think this would re-heat?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.05.2013

      It reheated just fine for me, but you could also halve the recipe and it will turn out great, too!

  30. Abby G 03.25.2013

    I used this today in place of a can of cheddar cheese soup for a hotdish I was making. Turned out great! Thanks!

  31. Becca 03.27.2013

    hi, if I make this and have some leftover, will it last in the fridge till the next day? Thanks! :)

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  33. alex parker 06.24.2013

    Yummmm I love it I decided to put it on pasta and it tasted delicious!
    Thank you!
    Alex Parker.

  34. Rimi 07.15.2013

    This cheese sauce was delicious. I made it the other day to pour on my pasta and my whole family devoured it within minutes. The sauce completed the dish. Thank You!!

  35. Gideon 08.15.2013

    Thanks Iowa girl.

    I’m going to try this tonight.

    I was wondering (forgive my craziness) if I could use olive oil instead of butter? Would the spoil the flavour or the consistency of the sauce?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 08.18.2013

      I think it should work! The taste might be a bit different, but it should be ok!

      • Gideon 08.18.2013

        Hey so it turned out amazing with your recipe as is. I’m going to try olive oil in a day or two. :)

  36. […] I made a cheese sauce for the ham and cheese. Recipe here: http://iowagirleats.com/2013/02/25/easy-cheddar-cheese-sauce-for-vegetables/ […]

  37. Stephanie Majors 08.31.2013

    I’m wondering if I can use the shredded cheese that come prepackaged in the bags like Kraft cheese? If not why? Thanks! :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.02.2013

      Pre-shredded cheese has a coating which makes it not stick to each other in the bag, which in turn makes it not melt quite as well as freshly grated cheese. It will work in a pinch, though!

  38. Meredith 09.09.2013

    Tried it tonight, and it was amazing! I ended up using pre-shredded cheese from our local dairy cooperative which turned out fine, the consistency was not perfect, though. Tastes much better than melted Velveeta or Cheese-Whiz. Thanks for sharing!

  39. Ashley 10.24.2013

    Thanks for the recipe! I’ve been looking for a healthier alternative to prepackaged icky powdered mac and cheese. I made your sauce with reduced fat (2%) sharp cheddar and 1% milk and tossed it with whole wheat penne and steamed broccoli. Definitely hit the mark for fairly healthy, pretty “easy mac”! I did need to add a bit more milk though.

  40. Deana A. Taft 11.17.2013

    How much velveeta is Equal to 1 cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese?

  41. Cheryl 11.30.2013

    What type of flour you used please?

  42. Allie 12.02.2013

    Just made this to go with my dinner, using 1/4 cup 2% and 1/4 cup evaporated milk (that I had left over from another recipe), and a mixture of pre-grated colby jack and cheddar, and it turned out amazing! Soooo thick and creamy, much better than any cheese sauce I’ve ever had that used processed “cheese”. Thanks for a great recipe, I’ll definitely be using this again and again!

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  44. Browneyedgirl 01.07.2014

    Love cheese sauce on my veggies. Just wondering why pre-shredded cheese isn’t as good as the kind you have to shred. Is chunk cheese you shred fresher?

  45. Browneyedgirl 01.07.2014

    I’m sorry I asked this question again. Just went over the other comments and got my answer. Thanks everyone.

  46. Amy 02.03.2014

    Iowa Girl – can you explain the bit about the wooden spoon? Why is it important to switch? And why wooden? I made the sauce yesterday exactly as directed, and it was delicious, of course, but I could actually detect the flavor of wooden spoon. (Maybe my wooden spoons aren’t cleaned properly?? Although I am meticulous about clean dishes). I would just like to understand the importance of the wooden spoon. Thanks in advance!

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