The Real Reason You Should Never Order Arby's Cheddar Cheese Sauce

A beef and cheddar sandwich from Arby's wouldn't be the fast food icon it is today without its oozy, golden-hued co-star: the cheddar cheese sauce. It's difficult to imagine any scenario where one would shy away from warm, creamy cheese sauce. In this case, it sits atop mountains of Arby's thinly-sliced, savory roast beef, looking like happiness itself. This gooey cheddar goodness is also served on Arby's loaded curly fries, and you can request it as a dipping sauce alongside your regular curly fries. 

We suppose the 360 milligrams of sodium per 1.5 ounce serving that My Food Diary reports is slightly off-putting. But, you're not necessarily eating cheddar cheese sauce from Arby's to be healthy. So, what could cause you to question this cheesy perfection? Well, the fact that it's barely cheese at all, for starters. And, if you're not squeamish about ingredients you don't understand, the cringe-worthy cleaning standards of the cheese dispensers are sure to get you. 

Is Arby's cheddar cheese sauce even cheese?

The survey says... yes! There is cheese in this cheese sauce! Remember in school when you had to define a word and were told not to use the word in its definition? Cheese being listed as an ingredient in cheese seems just as wrong. Cheddar cheese is, head-scratchingly, number four out of 19 ingredients in this beloved condiment (via Arby's). The others are mostly various forms of flavor- and color-enhancing preservatives that, presumably, are what allow this cheesy delight to sit in a dispenser for hours on end without spoiling. Some ingredients sound straight out of the laboratory, like sodium hexametaphosphate, which Modernist Pantry defines as a sequestrant. We'd like to sequester all sequestrants from our food from now on, thank you very much. 

On the bright side, judging by the zillions of copycat recipes for Arby's cheddar cheese sauce on the web, people are quite savvy at adapting this cheesy favorite for at-home use, and sparing themselves all of the artificial nonsense. Making your own cheese sauce at home is guaranteed to save you from the other horror associated with this sought-after sauce: cleanliness.

You don't want to know what's in the cheddar cheese sauce dispensers at Arby's

Not all Arby's restaurants are created equal and certainly not all neglect their cheddar cheese pump cleaning duties. But, somewhere out there, at least one Arby's is home to a cheese sauce machine that rarely, if ever, gets cleaned and the collection of congealed, smelly, brown gel described by a former Arby's employee on Reddit is enough to make us abandon cheddar cheese sauce all together. Other Arby's employees were quick to comment on the pristine condition of the cheese pumps at their locations, and noted cleaning them is a simple task, performed nightly. 

MeanwhileHack the Menu says the cheddar cheese sauce is the only sauce on Arby's menu you'll be charged extra for if you request a second helping. Still, we're really not ready to quit eating it just yet. In the end, we so felt when Arby's cheddar cheese sauce earned its 15 minutes of fame on Twitter as a little boy named Lorenzo excitedly cheered his mom on as she dipped her curly fries into the cheesy sauce.