Queso dip is the ultimate appetizer for cheese lovers everywhere! Infused with Tex-Mex flavors, this homemade queso dip is easy to make and perfect for a party. Bonus: it’s made with real cheese!
Whether you order it at your favorite Mexican restaurant or serve it at a party, it’s hard to resist queso dip. Many recipes for this gooey, cheesy dip are made with processed blocks cheese, but this homemade queso recipe uses real cheddar cheese for a richer flavor. A few more simple ingredients are all you need to make this Tex-Mex favorite!
Best Queso Dip Recipe
The best thing about making queso dip yourself is that you can customize it to your liking! For this recipe, I like to use cheddar cheese for its more assertive flavor, but you can use a combination cheddar and Monterey jack, pepper Jack, or any other type of melting cheese. If you like your dip spicy, try adding hot green chiles or jalapeños; for smoky flavor, use canned chipotles in adobo. A can of Rotel, like in my Rotel Dip, works too!
The key to a good queso dip is to use blocks of cheese, not the kind that comes pre-shredded in bags. While those bags of cheese are super convenient, they have anti-caking agents added to keep the cheese from sticking together in the bag. This means that when you try to use this cheese to make a creamy sauce or dip, it comes out kind of gritty.
So, trust me when I tell you it’s totally worth it to use blocks of cheese and grate them by hand. It’ll help you work your arm muscles so they’re in shape for dipping all those chips when your queso dip is ready!
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Cheddar cheese – Use a mild cheddar; sharp or aged cheddar doesn’t melt as well.
- Unsalted butter
- Evaporated milk – This isn’t the same as condensed milk, so be sure you pick up a can of evaporated!
- Diced tomatoes
- Ground cumin
- Chili powder
- Canned green chiles
- Cilantro – If you’re a cilantro hater, you can leave the cilantro out!
- Whole milk – You’ll only need to use this if you have to thin out the queso dip with a splash of milk.
- Salt and black pepper
How to Make Queso Dip
1. Prep the Cheese
Grate the cheese and place it in a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and toss to coat.
2. Sauté the Vegetables
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the garlic and onion. Cook on medium heat until the onion is soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add the Cheese, Milk, and Spices
Pour the evaporated milk into the pan, then stir in the cheese. Heat the mixture slowly to evenly melt the cheese. Stir in the spices and green chiles, and continue to stir while the queso heats.
If needed, add whole milk a tablespoon at a time to thin the queso a bit. Season to taste with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, then stir in the chopped cilantro. Remove from the heat and serve at room temperature with tortilla chips.
How to Store Queso Dip
This queso recipe can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Simply reheat it in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until it’s melted and smooth. You can also microwave the queso dip in 20-second blasts until it’s warmed through.
You can freeze this queso dip for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Queso dip is typically served with tortilla chips, but can also be served with crackers, breadsticks, pretzel bites, or veggies. It can be used as a sauce for tacos, burritos, or nachos. You can even toss leftovers with cooked elbow noodles or rotini for Tex-Mex mac and cheese!
Tex-Mex style queso dip is often made from Velveeta, white American cheese, or cheddar cheese, but it can also be made with a combination of cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, pepper Jack, or any other type of cheese that melts smooth and creamy.
In addition to cheese, queso usually contains milk, butter, and spices. Some recipes also call for cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, onions, or tomatoes. You can also add meat to queso, such as ground beef, chorizo, or chicken, or even black beans.
Queso dip has Tex-Mex flair! Cheese dip is more of a generic term for any type of dip made with melted cheese. Queso always contains chili peppers or spices, whereas cheese dip is usually mild and made without a kick.
No, queso dip is not really Mexican. It’s a Tex-Mex dish, which is a fusion of Mexican and American cuisine. It’s a spin on queso fundido, a Mexican cheese dip made with Chihuahua or Oaxaca cheese and chorizo.
More Tex-Mex Appetizer Ideas
- 3 cups cheddar cheese freshly grated
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 ea garlic clove minced
- 1 ea yellow onion finely diced
- 1 13oz can evaporated milk
- 1 ea tomato diced
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp chili powder
- 1 4oz can chopped green chiles
- ⅓ cup cilantro chopped
- 3 tbsp whole milk if needed
- salt & black pepper to taste
- In a medium mixing bowl, toss the grated cheese with the cornstarch and set aside.
- Melt butter in a large pan and add the garlic and onion. Cook on medium heat until soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes, making sure to prevent any coloration. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add evaporated milk and cheese and stir to combine. Heat slowly to evenly melt the cheese. Add the spices and green chile. Continue to stir.
- If needed, thin the cheese mix with milk to reach desired consistency.
- Season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Add the chopped cilantro and stir to combine.
- Remove from the heat and serve at room temperature.