A perfect cheese sauce is hard to come by, but once you nail it, it’s the most delicious addition to any dish.
To start, Dan “the Mac Man” says it’s all about the roux. What’s roux, you ask? It’s a fancy way of saying the sauce’s glue. Essentially, a good roux consists of flour or cornstarch and butter cooked together. Dan typically uses cornstarch instead of flour because it’s easier to control, but flour works all the same! Bring your roux up to heat and it will thicken and help bind the dish. (No one likes a super runny cheese sauce!)
Another tip? Dan seasons his roux—and every other step along the way—making sure that every bite tastes good.
If you’re making a mac and cheese with sautéed onions and peppers (Hash Bash and Mac Attack), or adding kale (Krazy Kale) now is the time to add those yummy extras.
The roux is the base of a béchamel, or traditional French white sauce. All of Dan’s Gourmet cheese sauces are born from a good béchamel. It sounds super fancy, but really it’s just your roux with a little cream, milk, or even coconut milk poured in to give it that velvety smooth texture you get from every bite of our mac and cheeses.
Once your béchamel is looking saucy, start whisking it at high speed on high heat, bringing the liquid up to a boil. The boil activates the flour or cornstarch to bind it all together.
Now you get to add all your cheeses! Go wild. For a great four cheese sauce, you can toss in asiago, sharp cheddar, fontina and gouda like we use in our Plain Jane sauce. The cheeses will thicken it more, so you want your sauce to be on the runny side before you add the cheese.
If it still looks runny after you add your cheese, let it cool down a bit—it will thicken up as it cools. And don’t worry: If it ends up too thick, you can always add a splash or two more of milk to get it to the right consistency.