This cheese sauce with cornflour recipe is a great way to make a healthy, gluten free cheese sauce. It's really quick to make, with an all-in-one method, which makes a smooth silky sauce. There's no butter, so it's lower in fat, and you just need three everyday ingredients, plus seasoning.
Cheese sauce is such a useful sauce to be able to make quickly at home. It turns veggies into a delicious, comforting dish, and makes a quick healthy pasta dish (macaroni cheese anyone??). Cauliflower cheese is a great way to get kids (and adults!) to eat an extra portion of veg. The milk and cheese in this healthy cheese sauce recipe will also add extra protein to help fill you up and turn your veggies into a quick meal. Cheese sauce is also good as a dip for breadsticks and crudités.
Why make cornflour cheese sauce?
Using cornflour to make a sauce has several advantages:
- It's much easier to make a sauce with cornflour. Provided that you remember the golden rule to always add cornflour to a cold liquid, it's so easy to make a silky smooth sauce. Cornflour also cooks quickly, so your sauce will be ready in no time.
- Using cornflour means that you don't need to add extra fat to the recipe. When a sauce is thickened with flour, the flour is usually mixed with fat to help it to incorporate smoothly into the liquid. A conventional béchamel sauce recipe uses an equal amount of butter and flour to thicken the sauce. This healthy cheese sauce is lower in fat.
- Cornflour is also naturally gluten free. So this is a super easy way to make a tasty gluten free cheese sauce.
Cornflour. Cornflour is a fine white powder made from the starchy kernel of corn. In the US and some other countries, it's known as cornstarch. Cornflour is not the same as cornmeal which is used to make cornbread and tortillas. In many supermarkets it's found in the baking aisle near products such as baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
Milk. You can use any kind of milk to make this recipe. As the cheese is quite high in fat, I prefer to use skimmed milk, but you can use wholemilk if you prefer, or a dairy free alternative.
Cheese. It's best to use a strong tasting cheese to make this healthy cheese sauce, so that you'll have a good flavour. A mature cheddar cheese is ideal. You could also use parmesan if you prefer, or a vegan cheese. Red Leicester or Double Gloucester adds a beautiful rich colour to the sauce, but I don't think it tastes so cheesy as it's not strong enough in flavour. Gouda and Gruyere can also be used in a cheese sauce as they both melt well and have a good flavour.
Seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remember that cheese is quite salty, so make sure that you taste before you add too much. I also like to add mustard powder as it brings out the delicious cheesy flavour. Or you could use a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard. Otherwise, some grated nutmeg will also enhance the flavour of the sauce.
How to make cheese sauce with cornflour
Simply add the cold milk, cornflour and seasoning to a cold pan. Place over a medium heat, and stir constantly. As the mix comes up to the boil, it will start to thicken. Simmer for a minute or two and turn off the heat.
Add the grated cheese whilst the sauce is still hot and stir until melted. Voila - it's ready to enjoy!
This recipe will make a fairly thick sauce. If you'd prefer it a little thinner, simply stir in a little more milk.
Cheese sauce with cornflour will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days if you want to prepare it ahead of time. It may thicken more as it chills, so give it a stir and add a little more milk if necessary.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. Just stir in a little more milk, a tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency.
If you do need to add more cornflour, make sure that you add it to a little cold milk first, then add the slurry to the sauce and bring it up to the boil again.
If you have a recipe which calls for a pint of cheese sauce, then you'll need 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of cornflour to thicken the sauce.
No, if you use cornflour, you do not need to make a roux. A roux is a method where flour is mixed with fat to help make a smooth sauce. But cornflour will mix in easily without fat.
This cheese sauce is made without flour. Cornflour is unrelated to wheat flour, and contains no gluten.
Yes, it's perfect. Cook the pasta, and mix in the sauce. Top with a little more grated cheese and/or breadcrumbs for crunch. Maybe add some cooked peas or broccoli too. Pop into a hot oven or under the grill until browned and bubbling.
This cheese sauce recipe with cornflour is perfect with cauliflower. Cut into florets and cook until just tender. Stir through the sauce, and top with more cheese if desired. Heat through in a hot oven or under the grill. (See here for the full instructions for gluten free cauliflower cheese)
You might also like these other healthy sauce recipes
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Cheese Sauce with Cornflour
- 450 ml milk
- 2 tablespoon cornflour
- 50 g grated strong cheese
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the cold milk, cornflour and seasoning to a cold pan and mix well.
- Place on a medium heat. Bring to the boil whilst stirring constantly. The sauce will start to thicken. Simmer for a minute then remove from the heat.
- Add the grated cheese whilst the sauce is still hot, and stir until thoroughly mixed.
- If you'd prefer the sauce a little thinner, add a splash more milk and stir again.
- Note that cornflour is known as cornstarch in the US and some other countries. It is not the same of the kind of corn flour or corn meal which is used to make cornbread and tortillas.
- A strong flavoured mature cheddar cheese is ideal for this sauce. You could also use parmesan, or a strong flavoured swiss cheese.
- You can use skimmed or full fat milk, dairy or non dairy. The calorie count is for skimmed milk
- Cheese sauce with cornflour will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Please note nutritional information is per serving and is provided for guidance only.