How Canned Evaporated Milk Makes Restaurant-Worthy Cheese Dip

What is that one thing you only order at restaurants because you can't make it yourself? Until recently, we might have told you cheese dip is a treat reserved for eating out. However, after learning the secret to making a restaurant-worthy version of the chip accompaniment at home, we think we'll copy the one dish Geoffrey Zakarian never makes himself and say sushi might be one item we leave solely to the professionals.

Now, we're not here to stop you from ordering cheese dip at your favorite eatery, but if you're looking for a way to enjoy your favorite app from the comfort of your home, we've got you covered. The key to making a silky smooth five-star homemade cheese dip has probably been sitting in your pantry this whole time. What is this magical, secret ingredient, you ask? Drum roll, please: evaporated milk.

Not to be confused with condensed milk, which would not produce a desirable cheese sauce, evaporated milk is fresh milk with about 60% of its water content removed, giving it a higher fat and protein content. The extra fat and protein molecules act as emulsifiers to prevent the cheese in your recipe from seizing back up and pooling grease once removed from heat, thus creating a nice liquid cheese sauce you can snack on all night long.

Evaporated milk lets you say goodbye to jarred cheese dip forever

Say toodle-oo to the need for a roux by swapping out the flour and fat mixture for a can of evaporated milk the next time you make cheese dip at home. The ingredients for this tailgate staple are simple. All you need is a block of cheddar cheese, evaporated milk, cornstarch (more on that in a second), and any flavor additives you'd like to include, such as hot sauce or jalapeños.

Start by shredding cheese and tossing it with cornstarch, which works as a thickening agent and helps stabilize the emulsion. Next, add the cornstarch-coated cheese to a saucepan with the evaporated milk and your flavor additives of choice. Cook on low heat and stir constantly with a whisk until everything is melted, adding more milk if necessary to thin out the dip. Once the sauce is at your desired consistency, it's ready to enjoy with chips, potatoes, or anything else your heart desires to cover in liquid cheese. If you have any leftovers, we've got some good news: This sauce can be reheated in the microwave.

No time to stand over the stove? No problem. Throw all your ingredients into the crockpot, and this already easy recipe becomes even more of a breeze. Happy dipping!