Spicy Nacho Cheese

Need something quick for game day, summer fun, or a special occasion to spice up that snack plate? You can whip up a spicy nacho cheese sauce in just a few minutes. And it’s a crowd pleaser – a ton of creamy flavor and just enough heat. The bowl won’t last for long.

Spicy Nacho Cheese
Spicy nacho cheese, with chopped red jalapeño pepper

We love the double chili whammy of red jalapeño peppers (green will work too) and cayenne pepper powder. But if you’re in a pinch, you can skip the jalapeño and add additional cayenne pepper to taste. Of course, the spicy ingredients here are totally optional. You can go no-spice at all by omitting both from the recipe.

This nacho cheese dip is, of course, perfect with tortilla chips, but try it too with fresh veggies or as a side for enchiladas and quesadillas. We like it, too, drizzled over roasted cauliflower. It’s best eaten the day you made it, but it can be stored for a day or two in the refrigerator. Simply warm up those leftovers in a pot over the stovetop when you’re ready to enjoy it again. You can also reheat in a microwave. Just be sure to stir it often during the reheat.

Like this recipe? You’ll love these too:

Spicy Nacho Cheese

Spicy Nacho Cheese

Creamy and fiery – a delicious dipper
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Servings 4 people
Calories 333 kcal


  • 1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 jalapeño pepper red (preferred) or green, diced
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper to taste


  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the flour and stir to combine.
  • Add the milk and stir until the sauce slightly thickens.
  • Add the cheddar cheese, salt, and cayenne pepper. Continuing stirring until the nacho cheese sauce thickens (10 to 15 minutes).
  • Add the diced jalapeño pepper and stir to combine. Taste test the nacho cheese. Add more cayenne pepper if you want things spicier.
  • Remove the nacho cheese from the heat and allow it to cool (and thicken) for 5 minutes. Serve.


The jalapeño pepper is optional (though we don’t mark it as such as we love the added pop). Feel free to adjust the cayenne pepper powder used to make up for the lost heat if it’s removed from the recipe. 


Calories: 333kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 16gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 585mgPotassium: 150mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 880IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 479mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword Jalapeno Pepper
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on June 16, 2023 to include new content.
5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments