For Movie Theater-Style Nacho Cheese Sauce, Add This Spicy Ingredient

Most people go to the movie theater to catch the latest flick, but some appreciate the concessions just as much. The good news is you don't necessarily have to trek to the theater to take a bite of the classic snacks, especially if you prefer to stream a movie on the home TV. There's the special salt that makes movie theater popcorn stand out from the microwaveable bags commonly consumed at home. But if you crave those round nachos doused in thick cheese sauce, a simple ingredient can give your homemade batch of nacho cheese a spicy kick.

All you need is to grab that jar of pickled jalapeños from the fridge (or the grocery store if it's not a staple ingredient in your household). The actual jalapeños aren't necessary, however, because the jalapeños juice will do the spicy trick. The juice is basically a brine with ingredients like vinegar and spices and also takes on some of the heat from the pickled jalapeños in the jar. All of those flavors will add levels of tang and spice to the nacho cheese sauce and fine-tune its consistency at the same time.

Add jalapeño juice to homemade or store-bought nacho cheese

There are a few options to add jalapeños juice to movie theater-style nacho cheese sauce. To make it as easy as possible, turn to store-bought Velveeta cheese and mix it with cream cheese and some jalapeños juice. Another easy technique is to make a two-ingredient sauce with cream cheese and grated cheddar cheese and spruce it up with the spicy juice. There are also jars of pre-made nacho cheese that you can fine-tune with the brine to obtain a thinner consistency and spicy heat. Now, if you really want to make next-level cheese sauce for your movie viewing, try Tasting Table's smoky white queso dip recipe with the ingredient hack. Either way, start with a ¼ teaspoon of jalapeños juice and add more to match your spice tolerance.

Most movie theater-style nacho cheese is just the cheese, but since you're already working with jalapeños juice, consider some finely chopped jalapeños to add extra spice and more texture to the bowl. Or follow the classic trick of combining salsa with nacho cheese for more flavor and texture in each bite. You'll definitely want the best chips for each dip, so check out our ranking of 16 sturdy tortilla chip brands that will withstand your homemade cheese sauce — just try not to finish it off before the first scene of the movie ends.