How to Melt Sharp Cheddar Cheese for Dips

Cheddar cheese is a medium hard, yellow to pale white colored cheese with a sharp flavor that varies according to how long the cheese is aged. Named for its city of origin in the English village of Cheddar, in the United States cheddar cheese is made from pasteurized cow's milk to meet the health requirements of the Food and Drug Administration. With the exception of "cheese food" or other processed cheese products – it can be a challenge to melt cheese. For a smooth cheddar cheese dip, first create a white, or béchamel, sauce and then add grated cheese; use a heavy-bottomed saucepan to prevent burning.

A bowl of cheese dip with breadsticks.
Image Credit: PaulCowan/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Place a block of cheddar cheese in the freezer for 20 minutes. Cheese slices and crumbles more easily when it is chilled.

Step 2

Remove the cheese from the freezer and grate the recipe portion onto a sheet of waxed paper. Cover the grated cheese with plastic wrap and let it set until it reaches room temperature.

Step 3

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Step 4

Whisk in the flour and blend well.

Step 5

Add the milk to the mixture and continue to stir until the white sauce begins to thicken.

Step 6

Remove the saucepan from the heat source and gradually stir the cheese into the warm sauce with a wooden spoon.

Step 7

Stir in the seasonings according to your recipe or your personal taste, and serve warm.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 block of cheddar cheese

  • Small saucepan

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons white flour

  • 2 cups cold milk

Tip

Sprinkle a small amount of white wine or lemon juice over the cheddar cheese to help prevent it from becoming stringy when heated.

Heavy cream will make a much richer sauce than an equal amount of whole milk or half-and-half.

Overcooking cheddar cheese sauce can cause the cheese to become stringy and difficult to eat.

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