Unlike many warm cheese dips and sauces, this doesn’t harden or congeal as it cools. It is just as good served warm, at room temperature or cold. When warm, it can be used as a cheese sauce to pour over nachos, chips or whatever else takes your fancy. It takes just over 5 minutes to make and is great to make ahead as it reheats well.
“This Nachos Cheese Dip was an invention out of necessity. Because I love cheesy dips, and I wanted one that did not harden or congeal as it cooled.”
I am yet to meet a cheese I don’t love. Plus I have a weakness for all things snacky. If there’s something to nibble on within reach, it’s like my arm is on auto pilot.
Therefore, this Nachos Cheese Dip is pretty much all my weaknesses bundled into one bowl. Place this with a pile of corn chips in front of me and I stand no chance.
I know there are loads of cheese dip recipes “out there”. And I tried quite a few of them (the ones without processed cheese), but the thing that I found inconvenient was that as the dip cooled, the cheese in the dip would harden. And when the dip was reheated, the dip would split (the oil would separate).
Being a Cheese Loving Snack Monster, I went on a mission to create a warm cheese dip/ sauce that would not harden as it cooled and was not made out of processed cheese. I was actually quite amazed that every recipe I looked at had a fairly similar base to the ones I had already tried, so I knew they would not achieve what I was after. Mind you, this was about 5 or so years ago. So maybe the internet is flooded with non-congealing warm cheese dips now!
“The secret ingredient in this is evaporated milk. That’s how this stays creamy – warm or cold.”
This dip is made with evaporated milk which makes all the difference. I was making an Alfredo Sauce using evaporated milk when the thought occurred to me that it might work for a dip too. Bit of corn starch / corn flour to thicken it, plenty of cheese (it is a Cheese dip!) and some additional flavourings to make it a nachos cheese dip.
So cutting to the chase, here are 7 reasons why I am obsessed with this Nachos Cheese Dip / Sauce:
1. It is ridiculously easy (5 ingredients, < 10 minutes);
2. Perfectly smooth;
3. Easily adjustable to your own taste. Increase, decrease or remove the spice factor, add your own flavourings;
4. Doesn’t use processed “plastic” cheese;
5. Can be made ahead. It keeps perfectly in the fridge for at least a week (it has never lasted longer in my house);
6. Reheats without splitting; and
7. Is a 2 in 1 recipe – a dip and a sauce. When warm, it is quite loose, like a thick sauce. It is pourable over nachos, chips or whatever else takes your fancy. (UPDATE: I just got a great tip from a reader to use this over tots! Never thought of that – that’s a step up from fries!!) When it is cool, it thickens up to a thick dip consistency. And when it is refrigerated, it is a spreadable consistency, like peanut butter. It can also be thinned out simply by adding a bit of milk (ordinary or evaporated).
Now please excuse me, I need to go and blow my my calorie budget for the entire week. Happy snacking! – Nagi
PS Watch how easy to this to make in my Nachos Cheese Dip / Sauce VIDEO!
- 2½ cups / 225g / 8oz grated cheddar or tasty cheese, or any other good melting cheese
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (corn flour)
- 1 can evaporated milk (375g / 12oz)
- 2 tbsp finely chopped jalapeño peppers (fresh or canned)
- 1 tbsp hot sauce (or adjust to your taste)
- ½ tsp onion powder (optional - adds extra flavour)
- ½ tsp garlic powder (optional - adds extra flavour)
- 1 tsp salt
- Toss the cheese and cornstarch together in a saucepan.
- Add all other ingredients, cook over medium heat, whisking often until the cheese is melted and smooth.
- Adjust to your taste if required - with extra hot sauce and salt.
- While hot, it will have a sauce like consistency - perfect for pouring over nachos.
- As it cools, it will thicken and become a dip-like consistency. Whisk occasionally to mix in the skin that forms on the top.
- Stir in additional evaporated (or even normal) milk to achieve the desired consistency if you want to use it as a pourable sauce. Note that when you reheat it, it loosens up.
2. This needs to be made with evaporated milk. You can't use long life, powder milk or ordinary milk.
**Update: Further to a reader question, I tested freezing it and discovered that this freezes very well. I wasn't sure it would because plain evaporated milk should not be frozen but the addition of cheese must change the physical properties because this freezes perfectly. You would never know this was frozen once thawed.**