What Are The Best Cheeses To Use For Nacho Sauce? We Asked An Expert

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This might sound cheesy (pun intended), but nachos are one of life's greatest joys. Whether they're elevated with toppings or they're just shredded cheese and tortilla chips in the microwave, nachos are quick, hearty, and versatile. Loading them up with meat, beans, and veggies is easy, but choosing the right cheese can be tricky. To avoid the mistakes everyone makes with nacho cheese, Mashed asked an expert.

According to Keyshawn Hudson, content creator and author of "Food Family Repeat," the ideal creamy nacho cheese sauce needs a blend of multiple cheeses. A balance of meltiness and rich flavor is key. He suggested mixing cheddar and Monterey Jack for the ultimate cheese pairing, as "cheddar adds sharpness while Monterey Jack contributes creaminess." The result is a perfectly smooth sauce.

In fact, the melted cheese's texture is so important that Hudson advised against reaching for crumbly cheeses or those with low moisture content, as these don't melt as well as some other cheeses. Per Hudson's expertise, crumbly, low-moisture cheeses are more likely to create an undesirable grainy texture. To achieve a smooth melt, steer clear of cheeses that fall apart like feta, blue, and asiago, as well as hard cheeses like parmesan.

Try shredding your own cheese

Although mozzarella is typically a low-moisture cheese that works well on pizza, a large amount of it on nachos may result in the dreaded graininess that Keyshawn Hudson warned us against. Instead, look for cheeses that are known for their melting ability. If you're not into cheddar or Monterey Jack, then Colby, Havarti, queso blanco, and Swiss are great substitutions. Thanks to their high moisture and fat content, these melt nicely on the stovetop (or, if you're in a hurry, in the microwave) without burning. You can even use pepper jack to spice up your sauce's flavor profile while simultaneously adding creaminess.

As an additional tip, try freshly shredding your cheese rather than using a pre-shredded bag. Store-bought shredded cheese contains additives that prevent clumping, which then work against the cheese's melting properties. Grating can be a lot of work, but it's definitely worth it for a stronger taste and creamier consistency. While you might expect the grating step to eat up your time, pre-shredded cheese melts so unreliably (especially in the microwave) that it could take just as long for the sauce to reach its desired silky texture. With Hudson's expert tip in mind, why not grab some fresh blocks of creamy, flavorful cheese — like cheddar and Monterey Jack — the next time game day calls for a plate of nachos?