This sauce is great for mac and cheese, and is also the “special sauce” that can make just about anything into a casserole. You can switch up the flavor with dried herbs and garlic granules for a twist. You can also substitute stock for some of the milk to get more depth of flavor without sacrificing creaminess. This is also a great base for cheesy dipping sauces.
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk (you can substitute 1 to 1 ½ cups of stock for some of the milk)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 Tbsp. dried herbs, like thyme, oregano, basil or parsley and 1 tsp. garlic granules
Melt butter in a deep saucepan or stock pot. Add dried herbs if using. Whisk in flour over medium heat and continue whisking for about a minute until bubbly and golden. Gradually whisk in the milk (and stock if using) and heavy cream until nice and smooth. Continue whisking until you see bubbles on the surface and then continue cooking and whisking for another two minutes. Whisk in salt and pepper. Add two cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth. Add another two cups of shredded cheese and continue whisking until creamy and smooth. Sauce should be nice and thick. At this point, you can fold in your casserole or dip ingredients and take the recipe in either direction.