This recipe for Low-Carb Cheddar Cheese Sauce makes a creamy, decadent topping for your favorite meat or vegetables. Unlike most cheese sauces, it has no flour, so you can use it as part of a low-carb, keto, Atkins, gluten-free, diabetic, or Banting diet.
This recipe was originally published on December 15th, 2017. I have updated this post to give additional information.
The recipe for Keto-Friendly Low-Carb Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Our version of cheddar cheese sauce takes out the carbs but not the taste. The sauce has a silky texture and is loaded with cheddar cheese goodness. It’s quick, simple, and full of hearty flavors. It’s pure keto comfort food. If you’re looking for a keto-friendly food to make the world seem warmer and cozier, this sauce fits the bill.
Garlic and onion are pungent seasonings that add a savory cheese goodness. Meanwhile, red pepper offers hints of spiciness, and salt, together with black pepper, helps balance the overall flavor.
This recipe is also very versatile. If you find the taste of garlic overpowering, reduce garlic amounts or altogether leave it out. The same goes for red pepper; you can omit it for those who are avoiding nightshades or simply don’t like even a hint of spice.
Kids will love this cheese sauce. Its mild, inviting flavors can win over any palate, leaving no room for picky eaters! Make this sauce to top vegetables regularly, and your kids will make them disappear.
I love serving this sauce over veggies like broccoli and cauliflower. But it’s so versatile; you don’t have to stop there. You can use it as a savory topping for chicken, pour it over your favorite ingredients to make a casserole, or scoop it up with some low-carb tortillas. The possibilities are endless!
The Inspiration for our Keto Cheese Sauce
I’ve always loved cheese sauce and used to make a similar sauce using a macaroni and cheese recipe from my Betty Crocker Cookbook. I still love cheese sauce. I still love my cookbook. But that recipe required lots of flour to thicken the sauce, so I went to work in the kitchen to create a low carb version.
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Is Cheddar Cheese Keto-Friendly?
Absolutely! Cheddar cheese contains just 0.4 grams of carbs per 28 grams slice, with a relatively high-fat content to give a gooey texture.
If you don’t have any cheddar cheese at hand, I recommend substituting it with gruyere or blue cheese. They are both low in carbs and help make a robust sauce that you can also incorporate into your keto diet.
What’s the best cheddar cheese for cheese sauce?
All cheddar cheese varieties are low in carbs. Whether yellow, off-white or pure white, they all have low carbohydrate amounts.
The other significant difference to note is that of taste. Some cheddar cheeses are mild, while others are bold in flavor. I recommend going for mild-flavored cheese if you like a delicate cheese sauce, and choose bold cheddar for a stronger, dominating cheese flavor.
That said, it all comes down to taste and preference, and presentation, of course! For that golden, glossy finish, use a rich, yellow cheese. However, you’ll still get an equally pleasant sauce with white cheddar. The most important thing to remember is to serve the sauce melting hot for the creamiest experience!
How to thicken low-carb, keto-friendly cheese sauce
One problem with a lot of recipes for cheese sauce is that they are thickened with a roux. This is a mixture of flour and butter. The downside is that the flour adds a lot of carbs.
Today, you won’t need any flour. In this recipe, the sauce is thickened by the heavy cream and the cheese itself. Heavy cream is the elixir that makes this sauce thick, rich, and smooth. Another bonus is that it provides fat to keep my keto followers happy. That, plus cheese, makes a melt-in-your-mouth creamy sauce that’s going to change your keto dinners.
Using cheese and cream not only makes the sauce keto-friendly, but also gives the sauce a silkier texture than traditional cheese sauces. Even the flavor is better since the cheese goodness is unadulterated by fillers.
Can I adjust the thickness of the cheese sauce?
Yes, you can make this sauce thicker or thinner to suit your taste. If you would like to make the sauce thinner, simply stream in a little more cream or almond milk while whisking the sauce.
If you feel that the sauce isn’t thick enough, no worries, just add more cheese! This will thicken the sauce without the need for additional fillers.
Other Low Carb Cheese Recipes
This low carb cheese sauce is extremely delicious; you’ll be tempted to eat it straight. While eating it with a spoon is definitely an option, it’s also wonderful spooned over other foods. I drizzle it on anything I want to add a bit of cheese goodness to.
We used it in this broccoli cheese casserole to make a tasty dish and loved the final result. The sauce lends mild flavors to the broccoli and accompanies it with a pleasant, creamy texture that completes the ultimate winter comfort food.
If you like, use cauliflower in place of the broccoli. Cauliflower is just as tender as broccoli. It also works great with cheese sauce and is an excellent low carb option.
If you love cheese, you might want to try our recipe for Taco Crusted Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts. our Low-Carb Ham and Cheese Sandwich Braid Recipe, or these Keto Cheese Chips from My Keto Kitchen.
This Low-Carb Cheddar Cheese Sauce is a recipe you can get creative with. Try different cheeses and different herbs and spices. It’s a recipe that you can make your own. Enjoy!
Low-Carb Cheese Sauce
This Low-Carb Cheddar Cheese Sauce adds creamy goodness to your favorite meat or vegetable. It's not thickened with flour, like most cheese sauces, so it can be part of a low-carb, keto, Atkins, gluten-free, diabetic, or Banting diet.
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 ounces cheddar cheese finely shredded
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan, heat heavy whipping cream over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
When cream just begins to simmer, whisk in the cheese, garlic, onion powder, red pepper flakes, sea salt and black pepper. Turn heat to low.
When cheese has melted, remove the sauce from the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Whisk again, just prior to serving.
Serving size: about 2 tablespoons
Fat (g): 11
Carbs (g): 1
Fiber (g): 0
Protein (g): 3
Net carbs (g): 1
So question about this sauce…I’ve been using it for mac and cheese but what other cheeses do you think you could use instead of the cheddar? I’m not sure about consistency when swapping out other cheeses so thought I’d ask!
Hi Haley! Good to hear from you again! I think this sauce would work well with any hard cheese that melts well. It would be delicious with a smoked gouda, havarti with dill (or without dill, but I’ve been into dill lately), colby, etc. You may want to stay away from soft cheeses such as brie. Glad you’re enjoying the sauce!
Are you able to store leftovers in the fridge to be reheated? Can you make this ahead, store in fridge and reheat on the stove? I would love to use this for multiple recipes and probably won’t use the whole sauce. What’s your advice?
I haven’t tried reheating it, but I think it would be fine to gently reheat it on the stove. I would whisk it frequently while it’s reheating to keep it from separating. Let me know how it goes!
I was able to reheat this just fine! There was a little separation with the oil from the cheese but a quick whirl of the fork/spoon and it was as good as new! This will be a staple for me now, thanks so much for sharing!!!
Thanks for your input! I think the secret to reheating this sauce is to do it slowly while whisking.It’s such a versatile sauce.
Try a silton it work great with cauliflower
This is incredible! Sooooooo decadent!
Glad you enjoyed it!
WOW! This is amazing! Thanks! And so quick too!
I love anything that has cheese in it. I will have to make this.
I bet this cheese is a great (but sneaky) way to get kids to eat those unwanted vegetables. This sauce looks smooth and perfect!
Thanks! Don’t worry, I won’t tell the kids!
This cheese sauce will be a big hit with my kids!
Cheese sauce goes on everything! From pasta to on veggies so my kids eat them lol. Making this soon.
This might actually get my husband to enjoy vegetables more. I can’t wait to try it!
This looks perfect. I can’t wait to make it and put it on everything!
This was so quick and easy and delicious!! I had to stop myself from eating it like soup.
I’ve been know to eat it with a spoon as well.
So simple and so yummy !
Wow! I loved this. I actually doubled it and added half sharp and half parmesan. So delicious!
Yum! I love parmesan!
Mine didn’t turn out thick but watery. I followed the instructions please advise
It’s hard to know exactly what went wrong, but I suspect you didn’t simmer it long enough. If you simmer it on low, while whisking frequently, the water comes off and thickens the sauce.
This is DELICIOUS! Just what the doctor ordered on a chilly winter night!
Cheese is the ultimate comfort food! Stay warm!
This was very delicious! The sauce had a nice balance of flavor. My sauce was a bit thin since I did not have enough cream and added water to make 1 cup. However just letting it simmer for.a bit thickened it nicely. I too can just eat with a spoon!
Thanks so much!
I just came across this recipe and plan to try it! Can you tell me how much minced garlic you used? It is very vague and just says 1 clove. Thanks!
1 medium clove garlic equals about 1 teaspoon minced garlic. You can use more or less to taste. Hope this helps!
Anybody try to freeze this and use it later? I want to make a big batch to use later. Any input would be thankful.
I haven’t tried this. I would have some concerns with it separating.
EASIEST AND MOST DELICIOUS CHEESE SAUCE PERIOD.
You honest to goodness only need 2 ingredients (heavy cream and some meltable cheese) and youre done. Quick tip! Instead of the spices, I just waited until I was done cooking my meat and used those flavors to get absorbed into the sauce instead. It gave my meat a chance to rest and it cut the cook time in half because my pan was already hot.
So simple and absolutely delicious!
I make a batch of this almost every week, cook it on the stovetop, enjoy it with dinner then transfer the remaining to a mini crockpot insert, every day after work, pop the insert into the mini crockpot, 10 minutes later, voila!
I ❤️ This recipe!
Thanks for the great tips! Glad you’re enjoying the recipe!
I stumbled across your page and found your page and I love everything you posted! I tried this recipe yesterday to just make the sauce dip but ended up making it as a veggie mixture cheese dippish. lol It’s so great! Since I needed to use up Kerrygold Dubier cheese, I omitted the cheddar cheese and use Dubier. I also didn’t have red plake so omitted that and still great!!! Love everything about this sauce. Next time, I’ll make it as a real cheese dip for nachos. Thank you!
I’m so glad you found my blog!I love the idea of using this as a dip for veggies and nachos!
I go to w w can you tell me now many smart points this sauce is per serving
I’m not sure what smart points are. Is that part of a specific diet?
Simple, easy, tasty.
Just made it to go with asparagus! Can go with broccoli etc.. and tortilla chips dip. So YUMMY!
I was looking for a queso sauce that I could make with ingredients that I had on hand tonight…this fit the bill so I gave it a try. Simply Ah-MAZING!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
I loved the approach to this recipe and the spices that were used. But to make it stick to anything the cheese needs to be tripled. Way to runny the way it’s written. Luckily it was an easy adjustment and I appreciate the base.
It sounds like maybe you didn’t simmer it long enough. Tripling the cheese would accomplish the same result of thickening it, however. Do what works for you!
a little trick that I picked up for making your cheese sauce smoother (less stringing and separation) is to sprinkle the shredded cheese with a few drops of lemon juice and let it sit while the cream is heating.
I’ve never heard of that! I’ll have to try!
Delicious and so easy!!!
Terrible. This made a sandy paste that ruined our meal,had to throw everything out and go back to the grocery store. Velveeta saved the day. Will never follow this recipe again
It sounds like you did something wrong. I’m not sure what would have given it a sandy texture. Perhaps you used cheese with granular fillers and overcooked it.
Oh my, this sauce sounds so tempting. My family will love it. I will give it a try.
I could drink this cheese sauce! Yummmm
Super easy and so much yum in this cheddar cheese sauce. Thanks for sharing another winner!
Hi there from another mother/daughter team. We try to eat low carb ourselves so this is perfect for us too!
Holy smokes! I could slurp up this sauce with a spoon! Great recipe!
Can I use crepe fresh instead of cream as allergic to cream
Creme fresh? I think that would work, but you might need to thin it a bit if it’s too thick.