Nacho cheese sauce and chips make a knockout pair because life is infinitely better with cheese! But what if you made too much cheese sauce? Can you freeze nacho cheese sauce? Dairy products are quite tricky to freeze and nacho cheese sauce is no exception. When done the wrong way, the end product is a runny, unappetizing mess. But when done right, you can enjoy the cheese sauce for months.
So the quick answer is yes, you can freeze nacho cheese sauce successfully! However, homemade cheese sauce tends to have a much shorter shelf life than its store-bought counterpart. That’s something to keep in mind when making the cheese sauce from scratch.
Easy Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe
Homemade nacho cheese sauce is superior to store-bought cheese dip in flavor and quality so go ahead and make your own using the finest ingredients! Try this easy nacho cheese sauce recipe:
You will need:
¼ cup melted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon all-purpose flour
3 cups cold pasteurized milk
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper
¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper salt to taste
½ pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
¼ pound Muenster cheese, shredded
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat then sprinkle 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of flour. Whisk the ingredients for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth and thick. Pour the cold milk into the mixture gradually, whisking constantly until the ingredients are incorporated well. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes but continue stirring.
Add the paprika, ground chipotle, ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt, stir well then reduce the heat to low. Then, add a handful of the sharp Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and Muenster cheese at a time while stirring constantly. Once all the cheeses are added to the mixture, stir the sauce until smooth. Season with salt to taste, leave to cool down then serve!
Image used under Creative Commons from jeffreyw
How to Freeze Nacho Cheese Sauce?
As you can see, nacho cheese contains different cheeses so you are running the risk of separation between the ingredients if you froze the sauce improperly. Good thing prepping the cheese sauce for freezing is easy!
Freezing Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce
If you intend to make the cheese sauce in advance for freezing, leave the sauce to cool completely first. Once the sauce has cooled down completely, transfer the sauce in an airtight container. You can either use a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid or a resealable plastic bag. When pouring the sauce, leave about an inch of space or two. This way, the sauce could expand without leaking. Seal the container then wrap in another resealable plastic bag. Write the storage date then stick the sauce in the freezer.
Freezing Store-Bought Nacho Cheese Sauce
Store-bought nacho cheese sauce is often sold in sealed glass bottles so you have to transfer the product in a freezer-safe container prior to freezing. Spoon the product into a resealable plastic bag or a plastic container with an airtight lid. Do not fill the container completely, leave about an inch or two of space. Seal the container then wrap in another resealable plastic bag. Write the storage date then stick the sauce in the freezer.
Freezing is a great way to preserve cheese sauce but to retain the quality of the sauce, consider these tips:
Store at a Steady 0 degrees
Generally, dairy products are tricky to freeze because you run the risk of altering the taste or consistency of the product. The cheese sauce is no different. To extend the shelf life of the nacho cheese sauce in the freezer, keep the temperature at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature inhibits bacterial growth that could otherwise cause the product to go bad. The steady temperature also protects the cheese sauce from contamination.
Divide into Serving Portions
Defrosting a massive slab of nacho cheese sauce can be impractical unless you’re throwing a huge party. To save yourself the hassle, divide the cheese sauce into serving portions prior to freezing. There are many ways to do this but our favorite involves using ice cube trays.
Just scoop the product into your desired container and freeze the cheese sauce for two hours or more. Once the cheese is frozen solid, pop the cheese sauce squares out and place them in a resealable plastic bag. Bring the bag of frozen cheese sauce squares back in the freezer. Just pop a couple in the microwave when you’re ready to serve!
Use Pasteurized Milk
When making nacho cheese sauce at home, do not use powdered milk or ordinary milk. These milk products may turn rancid much more quickly. Defrosting the cheese sauce with ordinary milk or powdered milk increases the risk of cross-contamination too. If you’re making a large batch of nacho cheese sauce, use pasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk is free from contaminants that could either shorten the shelf life of the sauce or cause sickness.
It’s best to use a double bag to store the cheese sauce to prevent freezer burns. Using two freezer-safe bags prevents leakage too.
Image used under Creative Commons from jeffreyw
Shelf Life, Thawing and Reheating Suggestions
Homemade nacho cheese sauce should keep in the freezer for six months or more if the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, store-bought nacho cheese sauce will keep beyond the six-month mark. However, we recommend consuming the sauce as soon as possible. Regardless if you are using homemade or store-bought sauce, the quality of the product will degrade the longer it is kept in the freezer.
To thaw the frozen cheese sauce, transfer the product to the fridge and leave to defrost overnight. Once the cheese sauce thaws, the milk fats might clump together, leading to a clumpy, watery consistency. Give the sauce a quick mix to incorporate the ingredients together. To reheat, pop a portion of the sauce in the microwave then nuke for a minute or more. You can also simmer the cheese sauce over low heat then serve.
Can you freeze nacho cheese sauce? As you can see, making, freezing, and defrosting nacho cheese sauce can be done easily! With these tips, you can freeze a large batch of cheese sauce and store the rest for future snacking!