There’s something synthetically glorious about store-bought cheese, but if you want an ooey-gooey cheese dip that is made with real cheese rather than “cheese product,” you’re going to want a can of evaporated milk.
Photo by J. Kenji López-Alt.
First of all, make sure you get evaporated milk, not its sweetened, condensed cousin. Sweetened, condensed milk is great for enriching creamy desserts (and for making your own caramel dip) but all that added sugar is just plain weird in savoury applications. Evaporated milk offers the same textural benefits without the sweetness, making it perfect for homemade cheese sauce.
In terms of convenience, this sauce is just as easy as those made with Velveeta. Check out this recipe from Serious Eats for directions, but all you’ll need is cheese, evaporated milk, and a bit of cornstarch to stabilise (you can add hot sauce too). Add it all together and heat it up until it’s bubbly and thick. Then grab your favourite chips (or fries) and commence dipping. (Bonus round: a can of this stuff works wonders in homemade macaroni and cheese as well.)
Everything You Can Do With a Can of Evaporated Milk [Serious Eats]