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.  
4.65 from 17 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Tex-Mex, Mexican
Keyword: Appetizer, Cheese Dip, Queso, Tex-Mex
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 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!

 

44 Comments

  • 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

  • 5 stars
    Regarding finding the American cheese? Don’t despair! Sometimes I have luck finding it in the deli, and sometimes, it is a package of American slices from the refrigerated self. Sometimes it is white and yellow American and sometimes, it’s just the yellow. It all works and it ALL gets eaten.

    We are moving into soup weather, so next, I’m going to try their chicken tortilla soup. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    • Hi Paula!!! You are right about the deli, that’s where we always get it! Let us know if you make the tortilla soup and what you think!!! We think it’s pretty yummy!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Dudes, this is a great recipe! I’ve been making a similar one for years but this one is even better. The pickled peppers are a game changer. Only thing I changed that I’d recommend you try, is instead of using water, try it out with a cup of homemade chicken stock. It adds another layer of depth that makes this so good it should be illegal!

    • Hi Jacob!! Woo hoo!! Homemade chicken stock is perfect! Deepens the flavors even more. Thanks so much for letting us know about your awesome results with the recipe and for the great review. We really do appreciate that. And man, there’s just nothing much better than a delicious bowl of warm homemade queso, right? The best! Thanks again, Kris & Wesley

    • Hi Ash! You really can’t go wrong with any of those, but we think finely chopped yellow onion has just a bit of sweetness that compliments the other ingredients perfectly. Let us know if you make the queso and what you think! It’s one of our all-time favs, for sure! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • Looks yummy! Years ago I used to make a cheese soup with Kraft American Cheese which they sold in blocks – I can’t seem to find any American Cheese that isn’t already sliced. Ok to use that or is it available somewhere in a block. I can’t wait to try the queso!

    • Hi Sandra! We can usually find blocks of American cheese (yellow and/or white) in the deli section of most supermarkets. If you can’t find it, you could use the sliced cheese. But, check the deli, that’s where they do a lot of slicing of block cheese. Let us know if you make it and what you think!! Best, Kris & Wesley

      • Found it! I didn’t know that – now I can make my cheese soup again I made years ago with American cheese! Tried the queso and everyone loved it! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • 5 stars
    I moved from Texas 17 years ago, to Missouri. Missouri might be known for some things, Tex Mex is NOT one of them! Even finding proper ingredients here in the midwest is a challenge. Luckily I happened upon your recipes looking for something else and spent a whole afternoon in delight just reading through them. I am finally trying this gem tonight to go with homemade nachos with the works. I followed the recipe exactly even though i was leary about the amount of cumin. It is wonderful! I still may cut back just a bit next time just because the taco meat also is cumin heavy. Excellent recipe! I look forward to trying others, i have booked marked most of them!

    • Hi Shelly! That is so wonderful to hear! We have a lot of relatives who live in Missouri and that’s where my folks met while at school (Central College) and got married! We completely understand the need for authentic queso in your life! We lived in NY and Jersey for nearly 30 years, which is why I had to come up with a queso recipe that takes me back to my Texas roots! So glad you enjoyed it and thank you so much for letting us know and for the GREAT review! We truly appreciate that so very much! Please stay in touch!! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I make this at least 2-3 times a month. It’s requested for every gathering and birthday! I can hardly keep the ingredients on hand!

    As Texans living outside of Texas, we are all grateful for your recipe. Thank you again!

    Ps: you two are totes adorbs!

    • Paula!!! You have no idea how happy this makes us to hear! I (Kris) am a born and raised Texan but lived in the NE for almost 30 years. We’re now back in Texas. I know that feeling of craving real queso! So so so happy y’all love this queso as much as we do. And thank you SO MUCH for letting us know, for the super kind words, and the GREAT review. That means the world to us!!! Come on back and visit us sometime, y’all!! xoxoxo Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Was searching for a Queso recipe to make for cinco de Mayo since our favorite Tex-mex restaurant is currently closed (thanks Rona). So I randomly stumbled upon this recipe and decided to make it. This is unbelievably good, better than most restaurants I’ve had!! My husband is still raving about it. Thank you and I look forward to trying other recipes on your site. Cheers!

    • Hi Natalie! That is so amazing to hear! We are thrilled that you love our queso recipe!! We love it so much, too, and make it all the time! We are so excited that you found us and we hope you enjoy many more recipes! Never hesitate to reach out with a question and of course, your thoughts on the dishes you try. Thanks so much for letting us about the queso and for the wonderful review. That means the world to us!!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • Question– During this Coronavirus, I am concerned to get the sliced cheese from the deli (to have a person slice it), and would prefer to get cheese from the packaged cheese section… Would the packaged American cheese slices work the same? I’m not really aware of the difference between them, but I’m sure there probably is. Have you made it with the pre-packaged cheese/would you recommend it? I am desperate for some restaurant quality queso!!!

    • Hi there!! Totally understand what you are saying. Yes, the package slices would work, you’ll just have to use quite a bit of them, but they will melt perfectly! And we get the queso-withdrawal! We’re going through it, too!! Stay safe and let us know how it turns out if you make it!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I made this recipe for the super bowl, my first time ever cooking for people other then my family and it was a hit, everybody loved it. This is a keeper for us now. Thank you!!

  • 5 stars
    Made this for New Year’s Eve and it was absolutely delicious!! The pickled serranos and hatch chiles at the end are a must! I had to go to my deli counter to get yellow and white American cheese but other than that the ingredients were incredibly easy to find. As a Texan who LOVES Tex-Mex and is a queso connoisseur I can confidently say that if you make this recipe as written (I also watched the video for more tips) it will be an absolute hit! Thanks guys!

  • 5 stars
    Native Texan living in the PNW. Have made this several times, always to rave reviews. Always. <3

    Side note: There is another food blogger that I follow and she published something she called sausage queso dip and I was like, uh NO. Call it cheesy sausage dip please, but that is NOT queso. I followed it up with a link to your recipe. In all fairness, I did say she could delete my comment, but seriously it was NOT queso. 🙂

    • Ha! Thank you, Paula!! Nothing much better in life than a solid delicious bowl of queso! So glad you like it and thank you so much for letting us know! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    This queso is outstanding!! I have made it several times and it has been a hit every time, especially on Cinco de Mayo. Thanks very much for a delicious recipe.

    • Hi Mike! Sorry for the delayed response here. We are so so so glad you have had success with the queso. We are crazy about queso, and we just love making this, as well. We love it year round, but especially when Cinco de Mayo rolls around!! Thanks again! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • I live in LA (food capital!) and I can’t find blocks of American cheese – I can only find the slices. Where do you get it?

    • Hi Susie! You should be able to get the block cheese at the deli section in most supermarkets. They have them by the block and will slice/cut to whatever you desire. Hope this helps and let us know if you make the queso and how it turns out! Or, let us know of any questions!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 3 stars
    Have a question I bought a bag of cracker barrel Tex Mex light shredded cheese with jalapenos and there are red flecks through out the cheese. I thought jalapeno were green so why the red flecks

  • 5 stars
    why do people leave such bitchy comments!?! on a free website
    gonna try this tomorrows. Thanks guys from rainy London

  • Pat, I believe that 1/2 lb. of yellow American Cheese and that 1/2 lb. of white American Cheese would be defined as 8 ounces each. In other words, 8 ounces of yellow American Cheese and 8 ounces of white American Cheese would be the amount needed.

  • I must be blind! I went back and looked again and it was right there! Sorry! I’m going to make this very soon.

    Pat

  • 5 stars
    Your ingredient list doesn’t say how much cheese to add or what kind. I know you mentioned it in your blog, but could you also list it as an ingredient?

    Thanks. This sounds really yummy.

    Pat

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