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Recipe: Simple cheese sauce like my mum makes

Updated on February 17, 2012

I’m proud to say this was one of the first things I ever learned to cook. As a child I would hang around in the kitchen whenever my mum made this sauce, helping to grate the cheese (and eating half of that before it got to the sauce), tasting the sauce and then eventually scraping the last of it from the saucepan and eating it straight off the spoon. Needless to say, I was a tubby child. The sauce went into vegetable bakes, eggs mornay, macaroni cheese, lasagnes and pasta bakes, and was always delicious. I now make it in my own home for my husband at least once a week and still lick the saucepan clean.


Butter or margarine



Cheddar cheese

English Mustard

Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. When the butter has fully melted, add an equal weight of flour and cook until it is a thick paste that no longer tastes of raw flour. This is called a roux and can be used as a base for a number of sauces.
  3. Add only a splash of the milk at first and as the heat increases add more, stirring well, until the sauce is a little thinner that your desired consistency. The cheese will thicken the sauce.
  4. At this stage add the grated cheddar. The milder the cheese, the more you will need for flavour so I would recommend using a sharp, mature cheddar. Stir until it is melted and the sauce is smooth.
  5. Add the English mustard and black pepper to taste. If you are making a lasagne then you could substitute these for nutmeg, which also makes for a delicious sauce.


I have also had success making this sauce with lower fat ingredients like half fat cheddar, light margarine and skimmed milk, and whilst it doesn’t have the richness of the full fat version, if you use a sharp cheese it still hits the spot.

Image credit to Suat Eman of


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    • samanthamsmith profile image

      samanthamsmith 6 years ago from Small Town USA

      Sounds delicious.