The best cheese for nachos turns an ordinary snack into a fiesta for your tastebuds. The top types include cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby, and a couple more favorites.
When it comes to nachos, it’s all about the cheese. You want to select a cheese that melts evenly and delivers a powerful flavor punch.
Cheddar cheese is always a crowd-pleaser, but you can get more adventurous in your cheese selections. Colby, Monterey Jack, and queso blanco are all great selections. Or, you can mix and match!
So grab your favorite tortilla chips, and let’s dive into the best cheese for nachos.
How to Choose The Best Cheese for Nachos
So, how can you narrow down the type of cheese for your nacho masterpiece? It all boils down to a few factors.
All cheeses are not created equal when it comes to nachos. You want something flavorful, but you need a cheese that melts well.
Flavor. Using specific types of cheeses can add a lot of flavor to your nachos. Choose a mild cheese like cheddar if you prefer cool, creamy nachos. But if you aren’t afraid of flavor, use bold cheese like Monterey Jack or Colby.
Texture. The best nachos have cheese that melts incredibly well. Always use soft or semi-hard cheese because it melts best under heat. Hard cheese like Parmesan is suitable for pasta, but its high oil content prevents it from melting.
Best Cheese for Nachos
1. Monterey Jack
You know that feeling you get when you pick up a slice of pizza and the Mozzarella pulls away in long strings?
That’s what Monterey Jack does with nachos. The low moisture content melts like a dream over nachos. It makes them tantalizingly gooey and cheesy. And its delicate flavor won’t overpower your toppings.
But if you want more flavor, opt for Monterey Jack’s spicier cousin: Pepper Jack.
Cheddar is another cheese with a low moisture content that melts effortlessly over your nachos.
The flavor of cheddar depends on its age. Young cheddar is very mild, while aged cheddar is nutty and sharp. Cheddar also has a buttery flavor that adds a savory, satisfying flavor to nachos.
It’s why it’s one of the most popular nacho toppings!
Don’t be fooled. Colby looks and melts like cheddar, but it has a very unique flavor profile. Colby cheese isn’t quite as punchy as cheddar, which makes it an ideal pairing with spicy toppings. It has a gentle buttery flavor with a delicate sweetness that goes great with corn chips.
Opt for gentle Colby cheese when selecting potent toppings like spicy peppers and sausage.
4. Queso Blanco
Want to create authentic Mexican nachos? Then opt for queso blanco (aka white cheese.)It has a firmer texture than some other cheese on this list but melts even under low heat.
The flavor of this cheese is incredibly mild and milky, with a hint of saltiness. If you don’t want an overpowering cheese flavor and want something cool and silky, opt for queso blanco.
It pairs incredibly well with very spicy toppings!
5. Mix And Match
There is no law that states you have to use just one type of cheese for nachos. Feel free to mix and match different styles of cheese for more complex and tasty flavors.
Pairing nutty cheddar with a creamy, milky queso blanco, for instance, is a great choice!
Tips for the Perfect Nacho Cheese Sauce
Crafting the perfect cheesy nacho topping can be tricky. If you aren’t careful, it can become rubbery, clumpy, and greasy. You don’t want that. Follow these simple steps to ensure your nacho cheese is game-day-ready.
Add cheese in small batches. One reason that nacho cheese becomes greasy and clumpy is when too much is added. Add a little cheese at a time, stir, and let it melt before adding more cheese.
Always use the right cheese. If you stray from the cheeses suggested on this list, that’s ok! Ensure you opt for a cheese with a high fat and low moisture content. These cheeses melt better and won’t become clumpy when they hit the heat.
Pump up the flavor. Adding spices to your cheese mixture is a great way to make your nacho cheese shine. Try jalapeños, dried chili peppers, chili powder, cumin, or paprika for a spicy nacho sauce.
Thicken when needed. If your nacho sauce is too thin, it’s completely fixable! Mix a slurry of cornstarch (or flour) with water and slowly incorporate it into your nacho cheese to thicken.
Don’t use pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese saves on time, but it won’t melt like fresh cheese. The stabilizers found in shredded cheese prevent it from melting the same way as fresh. Always use a fresh block of cheese for the perfect nacho cheese sauce!
How to Prevent Nacho Cheese from Turning Hard and Rubbery
If you find that your cheese is a little rubbery, there are simple ways to prevent this from happening. One reason that nacho cheese becomes rubbery is that the cheese doesn’t melt evenly.
When baking nachos in the oven, always bake them under low heat. The low and slow process ensures that the cheese cooks evenly.
Another reason cheese becomes rubbery is because it’s not coated evenly on top of the nachos. You can quickly even your cheese sauce by adding a little milk for even distribution.
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