Spicy Nacho Cheese

A quick cheese sauce with pop!

Need something quick for game day to spice up that snack plate? You can whip up a spicy nacho cheese sauce in just a few minutes. 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.

This nacho cheese dip is of course perfect with nacho chips, but try it too with fresh veggies or as a side for enchiladas and quesadillas. We like it too drizzled over roasted cauliflower.

Spicy Nacho Cheese

Spicy Nacho Cheese

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 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. 
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

See more of our spicy sauces…

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on January 20, 2021 to include new content.
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