Classic Tex-Mex Queso

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This concoction is one of our most 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 small cast iron skillet surround by peppers and festive napkins.

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.

Watch us show you how easy it is to prepare!

 

The Best Cheese for Queso

There are a couple of tricks to making restaurant-quality queso. First, when you add corn starch to evaporated milk, it thickens the cheese dip just enough so when you add the cheese, you get q 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 and buy a half-pound block of each and then shred them with my 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 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 re-heat 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 bowl of Mexican cheese dip in a small cast iron skillet surround by peppers and festive napkins.

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.  
4.74 from 26 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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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. 

Video

Nutrition

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!

 

63 Comments

  • 5 stars
    Oh. My. God. I grew up on “Rotel” dip, also, and have always put it on enchiladas or whatever at home. I recently ate a steak fajita/rice stuffed avocado with queso while out of state and was determined to duplicate it. This queso did not disappoint. This was definitely the best queso I’ve ever had outside of a restaurant and better than most restaurants I’ve eaten at. I’m from Texas so this was just what I was looking for! Thanks so much for the recipes and I can’t wait to try something else! If you’re reading this and don’t cook a lot, don’t let this recipe intimidate you- it was so easy to make and worth the extra steps and perfect consistency! Thanks, guys!

    • Hi Christi! We can’t even begin to express how happy this makes us! We 100% understand the need to find authentic Tex-Mex queso and being able to make it at home was a mission of ours! We are THRILLED you loved our queso recipe and had such great success with it! Thank you so much for letting us know and for the GREAT review! That means the world to us! Please stay in touch! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I have been looking for a queso recipe to serve on pork and beef tamales. I have tried multiple recipes (even some that use the evaporated milk + corn starch trick), and they have all turned out really thick and solidified upon cooling. But this one didn’t! I think the main difference was the addition of the water, as none of the other recipes had that. This is a fabulous queso recipe, and given that it makes so much, I have been pouring it on everything, including chicken and rice bowls, baked potatoes, and broccoli. Thanks guys!

    • Hi Nikki! You just made our day! We are THRILLED you had such great success with the queso recipe! Thank you so so so much for sharing and for the great review. That means the world to us!! Stay in touch! Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    My daughter loves queso but none of the ones I’ve made at home stack up to her favorite Texmex restaurant – until now! She loves this recipe! Thanks so much for making a texmex queso we can make at home together <3

    • Yay!! That’s the best news we’ve heard all day! Good queso makes for a happy home, right?? We are so so happy you had such success with our queso recipe and thank you so much for sharing and the GREAT review. That means the world to us! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 4 stars
    This is a solid queso but was still missing some kick for me. Ended up adding about an 1/8th cup of pickled jalapeño juice to the queso and also more salt. Otherwise, it’s a pretty solid recipe. Best one I’ve found so far.

    • Hi April! We wanted to make this queso as similar to TexMex queso as possible, which usually isn’t very spicy. To add more heat, we’d recommend adding fresh chopped jalapeno, and leave plenty of the seeds in. We’re glad you liked the queso, though! And thanks for the pretty good review!! Best, Kris & Wesley

    • April, I think that is the beauty of this recipe bc you can easily customise it. We have def dabbled with a bit more of this and bit less of that. But we have also had it exactly like the recipe too!

      And now, I want some! #quesoislife. 😉

  • 5 stars
    To the person who said this was bland. Dude, I am a native Texan as are all my family. In Texas, there can be varying levels of heat, but generally speaking, it’s not usually very spicy. For instance, babies eat it. I’ve had queso in little dives to Chuy’s to Mamacita’s to Abuelo’s. I’m not a queso expert, but I’ve had queso literally all my life.

    There are lots of ways to kick up the flavor, but as a basic queso, this is VERY Tex-Mex. As someone who lives outside Texas and only gets to visit occasionally, this is the bomb.

    Have a cheesy day!

      • 5 stars
        For sure. Thx! My family begs for this as we are transplanted Texans. Made it for a Christmas Eve dinner and it’s was delish and gone gone gone.

        PS. I just buy slices and do not grate. ‍♀️

        PSS Kris you were awesome of that cooking challenge show.

      • Hi Paula! We feel that need to have queso in your life! We’re back in Texas now, but for 30 years we lived up east, and we even lived in Germany for a couple of those years…had to make queso at home! And it had to be authentic!! Thanks about Guys Grocery Games…it was surreal but fun (although I think I was robbed! LOL!).

  • Hey Guys,

    In the recipe it says 13 oz can of evaporated milk but in the video I believe you said, “I have a cup of evaporated milk”. Just wondering which amount I should use.

    Cheers from Alberta (Canada’s Texas),
    Gord

  • Could you use mozzarella cheese instead of white American? Where I am located my store doesn’t have a deli and the next store is an hr out from me

    • Look for kraft deli deluxe American in the dairy aisle with other sliced cheeses. It will give you the correct consistency. Mozzarella will not give the right flavor or consistency for queso.

  • 5 stars
    Thank ya’ll so much. My hubby and I have been missing real Tex-Mex queso ever since we moved from central Texas to west Texas. We have tried so many recipes. This is the first one that really tastes like home. We just ate queso and chips for dinner because it was so good we decided to make the tacos another day.

    • Howdy!!! We 1,000% understand the struggle with missing good queso…imagine what it was like for us when we lived in New Jersey!! LOL!! That’s where I developed this recipe! We are SO THRILLED you and your hubby love our queso and thank you SO MUCH for letting us know and for the great review! That means the world to us! Stay in touch!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

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