Classic Tex-Mex Queso

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.  
4.63 from 16 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!

 

40 Comments

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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

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