The saucepan is your best friend when it comes to liquefying cheese into tangy sauces and hearty dips. A microwave or crock pot may seem tempting to make melted-cheese recipes because they offer low-temperature settings. Yet these appliances don't provide the best access for watching and stirring the cheese as it reaches just the right consistency. Along with the best melting cheese for the dish, proper tools and techniques will result in liquefied cheese that isn't separated, stringy or scorched.
Remove the cheese that you'll be melting from the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature before you begin cooking. Cold cheese discourages efficient liquidation.
Shred the cheese with your cheese grater. Smaller pieces melt more quickly than large chunks or slices do.
Set the burner to low, and add any non-cheese ingredients called for in the recipe. Many liquid cheese recipes, such as for fondue and pasta sauce, start by placing butter in the pan first, often with an equal amount of flour. Follow this with any other non-cheese ingredients that may be in the recipe.
Add the shredded cheese to the pan, keeping the heat on low. Low heat is less likely to remove the moisture content from the cheese.
Whisk the cheese at a steady rate. Whisking encourages the breakdown of cheese pieces, as well as the incorporation of the cheese into the other ingredients.
Remove the pan from the heat, and serve the cheese sauce or dip immediately.
Ellen Douglas has written on food, gardening, education and the arts since 1992. Douglas has worked as a staff reporter for the Lakeville Journal newspaper group. Previously, she served as a communication specialist in the nonprofit field. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Connecticut.