Cheese Sauce Recipe

Creamy Homemade Sauce Mornay

French Cheese Sauce

Mix this creamy cheese sauce recipe with pasta for a quick macaroni and cheese. Or try it as a topping for steamed vegetables (caulfilower or broccoli are popular candidates), poached fish or chicken.

cheese sauce recipe

Cheese sauce is known in France as Sauce Mornay and is supposedly named after yet another Frenchman of note, or at least of nobility. Interestingly enough it is sometimes thought to predate bechamel sauce, although it appears to be based on the same basic technique.

Swiss, Cheddar, or Other Cheese Sauce

Make this with whatever sort of hard cheese you wish. What is commonly called "Swiss" cheese in America should work, but do try to use something with some good flavor. I usually use Gruyere which goes well with all sorts of dishes and the French usually use a white cheese, but cheddar would work just as well. A classic French combination is half Gruyere and half parmesan.

It won't work with soft cheeses -- they just don't melt right. If you're looking for a different sort of cheese sauce recipe, try this blue cheese sauce recipe.

Quick Cheese Sauce Recipe

Prep time: 20 min

Makes about 1 1/4 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • pinch of nutmeg, salt, and pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and mix well. Continuing stirring over low heat for two minutes.
  2. Using a whisk, and continually whisking, add the milk in small quantities - about two tablespoons at a time. Make sure that you fully incorporate the liquid before adding more - this way you will get a smooth sauce.
  3. After you've added about half the milk, pour in the rest and give the mixture a good whisking. Continue to heat the sauce on low to medium heat, whisking often. Cook just to below boiling until the mixture thickens.
  4. Add the cheese about 2 tablespoons at a time, thoroughly incorporating each addtion.
  5. Remove from heat and whisk in nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Here is a slightly richer version of mornay sauce:

Sauce Mornay Classique

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup gruyere
  • pinch of nutmeg, salt, and pepper

Directions

  1. Whisk together the egg yolk and cream.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and mix well. Continuing stirring over low heat for two minutes.
  3. Using a whisk, and continually whisking, add the milk in small quantities - about two tablespoons at a time. Make sure that you fully incorporate the liquid before adding more - this way you will get a smooth sauce.
  4. After you've added about half the milk, pour in the rest and give the mixture a good whisking. Continue to heat the sauce on low to medium heat, whisking often. Cook just to below boiling until the mixture thickens.
  5. Remove from heat and mix in the egg yolk and cream mixture, continually stirring so the egg doesn't cook into a clump.
  6. Stir in the cheese, two tablespoons at a time, fully incorporating it into the sauce. You may need to reheat the sauce briefly on low heat.
  7. Season to tate with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Learn more about French cheese.

Learn more about French sauces.

Return to French Sauce Recipes.

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