Queso Dip Recipe
This Queso Dip is an ultra-creamy, ridiculously cheesy, and perfectly seasoned dip begging for some good salted tortilla chips! This recipe couldn’t be much easier to make — it whips together on the stovetop in minutes.
Love this dip? You’ve got to try our popular 7 Layer Bean Dip next! It’s robustly flavored with taco-seasoned sour cream.
This Easy Queso Recipe Will Be A Party Favorite!
My brother-in-law prides himself as a queso connoisseur. After challenging me to re-create his all-time favorite restaurant recipe, I immediately got to work. This involved copious amounts of taste testing and definitely included talking to the restaurant chef that serves what my brother-in-law claims to be the best locally.
Certain there was some big “secret” or at least a few different kinds of cheese in his queso sauce recipe, I was surprised to hear he uses only one cheese: Land O’ Lakes® White American Cheese. And they’ve never made it any other way. After finalizing this recipe and getting my brother-in-law’s stamp of approval, I’m excited to share this recipe with you all.
Not only is it tasty, but it’s also ridiculously quick and easy to make. Score!
What Is Queso?
Chile Con Queso, or typically shortened and called simply “Queso,” is a cheesy dip served as an appetizer or side dish with tortilla chips. Queso is a thick and creamy melted cheese dip typically with some spice — not to be confused with Queso Fundido, which is a dish made entirely of hot melted cheese. And, it’s also not to be confused with Queso Fresco which, is a fresh, soft, and moist cheese. And finally, Quesabirria, Queso Oaxaca, and Queso Blanco, while often confused with Queso, are all different products or recipes. (If you’re not fluent in Spanish, queso means cheese, so simply saying cheese won’t narrow down the recipes much. Chile con queso translates to chile peppers with cheese.)
This Queso recipe is thick, luxuriously creamy, and ultra cheesy with a touch of spice. But, best of all, it couldn’t be easier to make!
How To Make Queso Dip
You can have this creamy Queso coating perfectly salted tortilla chips in a matter of minutes. Below is a quick overview, along with some tips and variation ideas. For the full recipe, scroll down to the recipe card.
- Sauté some green onions and garlic in melted butter. You can use a yellow onion or even shallots instead of the green onion. Never use oil in a cheesy dip; it’s best to stick to butter!
- After that, we sauté the green chiles and spices to bloom their flavor. If you love heat, here’s where you can add in some finely diced jalapeños or some ground cayenne pepper to amp up the spice.
- Next, add in the evaporatedmilk and mix through to heat.
- Meanwhile, tear the cheese slices (or grate if the cheese is in a larger block) and toss with some cornstarch. Then add it all into the pot and mix until melted. Give the Queso a minute to thicken, and you may just want to skip dinner in lieu of having chips + dip! (No judgment here!)
A couple of ingredients worth mentioning:
- Evaporatedmilk. In some countries, it is called unsweetened condensed milk and it is a canned cow’s milk product that is shelf-stable. 60% of the water has been removed from the fresh milk, making it a more flavorful and creamy product. Additionally, because a lot of the liquid is removed, there is less chance of dip separation. We’ve tried all kinds of dairy products and nothing delivers a better Queso than evaporated milk!
- By the way, sweetened condensed milk isn’t a good substitute — it contains added sugar and wouldn’t work in this recipe — it would make it too sweet!
- Land O’ Lakes White American Cheese. This is a variety of cheese you’ll have to ask for at the deli counter (or order online for grocery pick-up). If you get thin slices, give them a quick coarse chop OR you can ask whoever is getting you the cheese at the deli counter to do the largest possible slice — that way you’ll get a few blocks you can easily grate on a cheese grater. This cheese is the “secret” to this recipe, so get it if you can! A runner-up would be regular Cheddar (sharp or extra-sharp for a cheesier flavor).
- Fire-roasted diced green chiles. These green chiles are charred over a flame before being diced and canned. Contact with the flame brings out the sweetness and imparts a distinct, smoky flavor. You get more flavor without any extra work! Choose mild if you’re not a fan of heat.
Our Top Queso Tips
- Don’t over-heat. We want to bring the evaporated milk to a nice simmer, not a boil. If the dip gets too hot, it will become grainy and separate.
- Mix the cheese over low heat. It will require patience, but resist the urge to increase the heat. This is likely to cause a grainy and overly thick dip.
- Stirconstantly. As you add in the cheese, don’t stop stirring — we want an even melt for the creamiest possible sauce.
- Use good, freshly grated cheese. We recommend the white American cheese, but if you are using a different cheese, be sure to get cheese off the block not already grated. Cheese that is already grated has a cellulose coating that makes it resistant to melting into a creamy sauce.
- To taste for seasoning, dip in a chip! Since tortilla chips are salted, you may not want to add extra salt to the Queso or everything could be too salty.
Even though the evaporated milk ensures this dip stays nice and creamy (and not grainy), it will harden as it cools (just like any melted cheese-filled recipe). It’s great right off the stovetop, but will get thicker and thicker the longer it stands.
Here’s how to keep it nice and creamy for a longer serving period: Transfer to a small crockpot (ideally 2-4 quarts) and set it to “warm”. Serve it right out of the slow cooker, stirring it every now and again. Alternatively, when it gets too thick, re-warm over low heat in a pot on the stovetop or microwave (covered) in bursts of 10 seconds until warmed through. If needed, add an extra splash of evaporated milk (while stirring constantly) as you re-heat the dip.
Queso will store nicely in the fridge for 3-5 days. Keep it in an airtight container and use the re-heating methods described above. This homemade Queso does not freeze and thaw well.
- Baked Chicken Tacoswith a creamy cilantro-lime sauce
- White Turkey Chiliwith ground turkey and white beans
- Loaded Sweet Potatoeswith an avocado-corn topping
- Mexican Street Corn Pasta Saladwith a creamy chili-lime dressing
- Black Bean Corn Avocado Saladwith a chili-lime vinaigrette
- 2-1/2cups (12 oz./ 3/4ths pound)white American cheese(you’ll have to get it at deli counter — See Note 1)
- 1tablespoonunsalted butter
- 3/4cupgreen onionswhites and light green parts, thinly sliced
- 2teaspoonsminced garlic
- 1/2teaspoon each:ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika
- Fine sea salt and pepper
- 1can (4 oz.)fire-roasted diced green chilesNote 2
- 1can (12 oz.)evaporated milkNote 3
- 1/4cupfinely chopped cilantro,optional
- Tortilla chips, for dipping
CHEESE PREP: Grate cheese or coarsely chop if already sliced. If you don’t have an exact weight, measure to 2-1/2 cups. Toss cheese pieces with cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.
GREENONIONS: Heat stovetop to medium heat. Melt butter in a medium-sized pot. Once melted, add in the thinly sliced green onions and cook, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Add in the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
SPICES AND CHILES: Thoroughly drain the can of green chiles. Add all the green chiles, spices, and salt & pepper (add to your taste preference; I add 1/2 teaspoon of each) to the pot. Stirring, cook for 1-2 minutes or until very fragrant.
MILK: Give the can of evaporated milk a good shake and pour into the pot. Stir and bring to a simmer still over medium heat. Do not increase the heat and don’t boil! Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium low.
CHEESE: Add in the cheese and cornstarch mixture and stir constantly until cheese is melted. This takes a bit of time. You may be tempted to increase the heat, but don’t — this is how you get a grainy dip. Once the cheese is fully melted (sauce will still seem a bit thin, but it thickens as it sits!), taste with a tortilla chip so you can gauge saltiness. Adjust any seasonings/salt to personal preference. Stir in cilantro if using. Remove from heat and serve warm with chips.
KEEP IT WARM: Dip will thicken and harden as it cools (just like any melted cheese-filled recipe). It’s great right off the stovetop, but will get thicker and thicker the longer it stands. Here’s how to keep it nice and creamy for a longer serving period: Transfer to a small crockpot (ideally 2-4 quarts) and set it to «warm». Serve it right out of the slow cooker, stirring it every now and again. Alternatively, when it gets too thick, re-warm over low heat in a pot on the stovetop or microwave (covered) in bursts of 10 seconds until warmed through. If needed, add an extra splash of evaporated milk (while stirring constantly) as you re-heat the dip.
STORAGE: Queso will store nicely in the fridge for 3-5 days. Keep it in an airtight container and use the re-heating methods described above. Queso doesn’t freeze/thaw well.
Note 2:Fire-roasted diced green chiles: These green chiles are charred over a flame before being diced and canned — you get more flavor without any extra work! Of course, you can get diced green chiles that aren’t fire roasted. Choose mild if you’re not a fan of heat. If you’d like more heat get a hotter can and/or add in a diced jalapeño.
Note 3: Evaporated milk: In some countries, it is called unsweetened condensed milk and is shelf-stable. Since 60% of the water has been removed from the fresh milk, there is less chance of dip separation. We’ve tried all kinds of dairy products and nothing delivers a better Queso than evaporated milk! By the way, sweetened condensed milk isn’t a good substitute — it contains added sugar and wouldn’t work; it would make it too sweet!
We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.