Classic Tex-Mex Queso

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This concoction is one of our favorite culinary items in the world.  

I grew up eating (and still do) Velveeta and Ro-tel with corn tortilla chips. Don’t get me wrong…it’s wonderful and both Wesley and I love it. But there is something special about ordering a bowl of warm, silky, authentic Mexican cheese dip from a good Tex-Mex restaurant. We’ve played around with a number of ways of making the perfect bowl of queso, and we are thrilled to share with you what we think is the best in town.

Classic Tex-Mex Queso in a cast iron dish with pico de gallo on top.

The Secret to This Authentic Queso Recipe

There are a few tricks to making a queso dip that is just like (or even better) that you get at your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Once you try this queso, you’ll never want it any other way!


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The Best Cheese for Queso

There are a couple of tricks to making restaurant-quality queso. First, when you add cornstarch to evaporated milk, it thickens the cheese dip just enough so when you add the cheese, you get a perfect consistency that won’t become hard or too thick once cooled.

We think the mellow and perfectly melty American cheese is the perfect cheese for this recipe.

I love using a combination of yellow and white American cheese. We get a half-pound block of each and then shred them with our food processor (or you could just a box grater).

Shredded yellow and white American cheese being lifted out of a glass bowl.

The Perfect Start to a Stellar Tex-Mex Meal

If you like your queso to be mild with very little heat, you can go with only 1 diced jalapeño, or even just a half. You can also omit the Serrano peppers, too.

You can top the queso with some homemade pico de Gallo for even more flavor.

This is about as comforting and delicious as you will ever find.

A wooden spoon lifting up a spoonful of classic Tex-Mex Queso cheese dip.

Wesley always says I fill up on chips, salsa, and queso every time we dine at a Tex-Mex or Mexican restaurant. And there is some truth to that.

But, even before I order my favorite combination of Tex-Mex Beef Tacos or Classic Enchiladas, I simply must order a bowl of queso.

I mean how else would I enjoy my chips, salsa, and margarita if we didn’t also have a spectacular bowl of queso? And don’t worry…I still find room for my favorite Tex-Mex dishes.

Classic Tex-Mex Queso in a cast iron dish with pico de gallo on top.

When and How to Serve

You can easily prepare this in advance and then reheat it before serving.

It’s fantastic for parties, showers, or any kind of gathering of friends, co-workers, and/or family.

You can keep the dip warm in a small slow-cooker on low, or a heated serving dish. Or, just reheat it (if desired) in the microwave from time to time (if it lasts that long).

A corn tortilla chip dipped into a bowl of creamy Tex-Mex queso.

I still love the occasional bowl of melted Velveeta with Ro-tel. It’s undeniably yummy and so easy to make.

But it’s so worth it to go the extra distance and make this incredible dip from scratch. It’s not hard and the results are so delicious and wonderful.

It just doesn’t get much better than homemade Tex-Mex queso.

A skillet full of Tex-Mex queso cheese dip with tomatoes and peppers sprinkled on top.

Ready to make the best Mexican cheese dip this side of the Rio Grande? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon

A corn tortilla chip dipped into a bowl of creamy Tex-Mex queso.

Classic Tex-Mex Queso (Cheese Dip)

This Classic Tex-Mex Queso recipe is as good as you will find at your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant.  Creamy, silky, and with just enough heat to make it practically addictive.  Adjust the peppers and seasonings to your own tastes.  As written, this queso is close to medium heat.  
4.77 from 30 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Tex-Mex, Mexican
Keyword: Appetizer, Cheese Dip, Queso, Tex-Mex
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 170kcal


  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ medium onion chopped, about ½ cup
  • 2 jalapeños fresh, seeded and chopped (removing the seeds and ribs decreases the heat significantly)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp Serrano chiles pickled, (optional)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 13 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ lb American cheese yellow, grated
  • ½ lb American cheese white, grated
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 4.5 oz can green chiles
  • 1 tbsp cilantro fresh, chopped
  • Pico de Gallo for garnish
  • Tortilla chips for dipping


  • Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, jalapeños, and garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the pickled Serrano peppers (if using) and tomatoes, and cook just until tomatoes begin to break down, about 3 more minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, add the corn starch to the evaporated milk, and whisk until dissolved and incorporated.  Whisk in the water and add to the veggies in the skillet.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon until just starting to thicken. 
  • Add in the cheese and stir until completely melted. 
  • Stir in the cumin, onion powder, pepper, salt, green chilies, and cilantro.  Bring to just a simmer and let cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Transfer to a warmed bowl, or small slow-cooker, and top with Fresh Pico de Gallo and warmed tortilla chips. 


Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 732mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 514IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 400mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!


  • I just made this and my family is eating it all before we even get to dinner lol. Great recipe. Thanks

    • Hi Nathan! We’re sorry the queso is almost gone, but, we are thrilled you all are enjoying it!! Thank you so much for letting us know! Please stay in touch! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • Can’t wait to try this tonight for Super Bowl (Taylor’s Version)! Thank you — great inspo — you look like your having so much fun creating and cooking.

  • 5 stars
    Way to go guys! This was a hit for a staff dinner at my house for appetizer. Doubled the recipe…..for some reason. It makes a ton of queso. I also forgot the cherry tomatoes at the store so I just used some drained rotel tomatoes. The seasoning was great without being overwhelmingly spicy. Recipe is perfect as is. Thx again for another winner in my book! I will update you once my “Loon Holiday Cooking” begins.
    Have a super fantastic Merry Christmas.

    • Yay!!! We are so happy you made the queso and it was a hit! Growing up in Texas…queso is a must, but it can be tricky to make it at home. Sounds like you did it perfectly…like always! Thank you so so much for letting us know and for the great review. We just can’t thank you enough for that! Have an amazing Christmas holiday and be sure to keep us posted on all of your glorious culinary creations!!! xoxo

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