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Portillo's Cheese Sauce

Portillos Cheese Sauce

Although this cheese is usually served on top of common dishes like hot dogs and hamburgers, you can still enjoy the sauce with many other foods! For example, the salty and savory sauce is smooth, making it perfect enough to dip chicken tenders or French fries in. Are you not a fan of these foods? That's okay! The cheese sauce also goes well on larger meals like grilled chicken and rice
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • Measuring cups
  • Large Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Spoon
  • Small Pot


  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tsp of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp of salt


  • The first step in this Portillo's cheese sauce recipe is to properly prepare the ingredients. You will need to separate the cheeses into sections. Although this particular Portillo's cheese sauce recipe only calls for cheddar cheese, you can add different types of cheese to your pot.
  • When doing this Portillo's cheese sauce recipe, it is essential to store the cheese and perishable ingredients in the refrigerator. The cold temperature preserves the cheese and milk needed for this step. I find it easier to combine all cheese and dry ingredients into a zip lock bag, but this is not necessary.
  • During the second step in Portillo's cheese sauce recipe, set your pan and butter it. The pan should sit on a burner on a medium high. This step is fast though, you will need to watch closely so that the melted cheese does not start to burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the cheese, cornstarch, and any additional seasonings. While Portillo's cheese sauce recipe does not typically call for jalapenos or added peppers, you should add these additional toppings in the second step. Don't forget to stir. Although you can combine all the ingredients together to simmer, this can make it hard for the cheese to melt.
  • Cornstarch when overheated burns. You need to mix the cheese and the cornstarch in this Portillo's cheese sauce recipe as smoothly as you can. Take a whisk if the spoon does not work with bubbles of cornstarch.
  • Now, on to the last step! In the last step during your Portillo's cheese sauce recipe, the process gets simpler! Add the remaining ingredients, which is typically butter, milk, and some kind of cream. The remaining ingredients are a soft liquid that does not need to be melted, but adds flavor and depth.
  • Bring down the heat to a low and simmer for a minimum of five minutes. As the delicious cheese sauce simmers, it is important to continue stirring slowly. There will be a yellow film that remains on top of the cheese sauce, this is normal!


  • Although you can use any type of cheese in this recipe, it is best to choose one made with whole milk. Interestingly enough most cheese is made up of high concentrations of milk and water. Since milk is important that means the higher fat volume the better flavor and consistency.
  • Another tip and trick I have for you is to reheat the cheese. While it is tempting to use the microwave, using the oven and a small pan can bring out the flavors while warming the cheese slow enough so that it does not burn. When cheese burns the consistency changes and cracks making it hard to enjoy.
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