Melty Queso Dip
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"When I brought this dip to a party, explaining that it was actually made from real Pepper Jack cheese, I was met with baffled looks. "What else is in it? Butter? Cream?" my friends asked. That pure taste of Pepper Jack cheese makes it the best queso around."
— Judy Oldfield-Wilson, Online Writer
Click here to read more about sodium citrate.
Add Heavy cream, if needed
- 1 1/8 Cup wheat beer
- 11 grams sodium citrate
- 4 Cups finely grated Pepper Jack cheese
The Nacho Cheese Recipe You'll Want to Drench Everything in Is Right Here
We don't always make nacho cheese from scratch, but when we do, we use Guy Fieri's recipe. We first learned about Guy's Super Melty Cheese, or "SMC," in an interview he did with POPSUGAR. When describing the steps for making the perfect nachos (an essential for any game-day party), Guy said, "I think one of the things that we all love about nachos is nice, creamy cheese. We call it SMC, Super Melty Cheese."
This cheese dip is like a grown-up version of those nachos you used to order at concession stands at sporting events, but it's made with real ingredients and is way more flavorful. After all, we're talking about the king of Flavortown here. To make the best cheese sauce, Guy suggests, "The thing to remember when making Super Melty Cheese is don't rush it. A little roux with some flour and butter. Into there, [whisk] a little milk. You've got yourself a nice base. Slowly at a low-to-medium temperature, start stirring in crumbled or shredded cheese. A little gouda, a little provolone, a little cheddar, a little parm. Keep it warm in a double boiler."
And with that, we set out to make our own SMC, which we discovered tastes amazing on everything. Dip tortilla chips in it — straight from the pot, if you're like us. Add green chiles, fire-roasted tomatoes, and cilantro or jalapeños to make it a spicier queso. Drench your broccoli in it to make it less vegetable-y. Dip fries in it if you're feeling really crazy. Toss cooked shells or elbows in it and serve it as mac and cheese . . . the possibilities are nearly endless.
— Additional reporting by Lauren Harano
Best Queso Dip
Queso is more than just a staple in Texas and you'll be hard pressed to find a Texan that doesn't love the cheese dip and have an opinion on the best queso. The dip originated in San Antonio so Texans have a right to be so proud of it and it's now an item you'll find on every Tex-Mex menu. The best restaurants bring it to you for free without you even asking.
What's the best cheese for queso?
For the best queso we've ever had, we used a mix of shredded American cheese and Pepper Jack. The American cheese keeps it melty and creates the perfect dip consistency while the Pepper Jack adds some sharpness with a bit of extra heat. And always shred your own cheese! Pre-packaged cheese does not melt as well as a block of cheese so we don't recommend any pre shredded cheeses for this queso. American cheese can be found at most deli counters in blocks!
While we HIGHLY recommend American over cheddar we understand if you would rather use cheddar. To use cheddar instead just use some extra milk to help thin it out some more and you'll need to cook it for a little longer on a lower heat. Replace the Pepper Jack with Monterey Jack if you're not interested in the extra heat!
Can I use Velveeta?
Sure! Velveeta will act the same as American cheese for this queso. Just cut into cubes and add it when the American cheese is called for and add the milk slowly as you might not need it all with Velveeta. Velveeta can also be saltier than American cheese so add a little less salt than you normally would, then taste and adjust seasonings from there.
Does it need all of the veggies?
In my honest opinion, yes. The onion, garlic, jalapeño, tomatoes, and green chilis add all of the flavor and makes this queso the best. If you are more of a queso purist, then try it out with less of the veggies called for first before knocking all of them to the curb!
Made it? Let us know how it went in the comment section below!
Editor's Note: The introduction to this recipe was updated on July 24, 2020 to include more information about the dish.
Authentic Mexican Queso Dip
Queso Blanco takes just a few minutes to make. I melt 10 ounces of cheese and milk on low heat over the stove top. Any hotter and the dairy may foam and create a crust that sticks to the sides of the saucepan. I always try to avoid this as I dislike the texture of the crust in my dip.
Authentic Queso Dip is easy to make. Cicique Asadero Cheese works because it’s the perfect Mexican melting cheese with a mild flavor. Heating the cheese with half & half on the stove top allows the cheese to become soft and melt. I like to add chopped green chiles, diced tomatoes, and cilantro to the Queso Dip to develop those Mexican flavors even more.
Classic Queso Dip Meals
Serve classic queso dip with tortilla chips for an authentic homemade appetizer with real restaurant flavors.
Drizzle cheese dip over carne asada tacos, taco bowls and scoop eat bite with tortilla chips. Try these Ground Beef Street Tacos with cheese on top. Top Roasted Brussels Sprouts with melted cheese or Roasted Broccoli.
The creamiest queso recipe
After experimenting and making 3 different test batches of homemade queso dip, I’ve finally perfected this recipe so that it comes out luxuriously creamy every time. The secret ingredient?
The cream cheese holds all the melted shredded cheeses together and keeps the queso silky smooth for a longer period of time compared to using no cream cheese at all. Which means you can sit back and enjoy your queso without having to worry about it getting chunky or hard once you take it off the heat.
How to make Mexican White Cheese Dip
- Place cheese, milk, and butter in a sauce pan over low heat.
- Heat until melted – stirring frequently.
- Stir in the green chillis, cumin, garlic salt, and the cayenne pepper. Remember, it doesn’t take much cayenne.
- Add more milk if you want it thinner.
- Serve immediately with chips, tortillas, and your favorite mexican dish.
How to Make Queso 3 Ways
How to Make Queso on the Stovetop
"This was very delicious. For smooth results I added a few tablespoons of cheese at a time and whisked constantly. I didn&apost have salsa, so I improvised with an equal amount of chopped red onion and sriracha." — Allrecipes member Mochi Puffs
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Thoroughly stir in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
- Stir in ¾ cup sour cream, then once the mixture becomes hot and bubbly, mix in 1 cup of cheese and 1 tablespoon of your preferred spice-level of salsa.
- Continue stirring until all of the cheese has melted and mixture begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Get the recipe: Queso Dip
How to Make Queso in a Slow Cooker
"Made exactly as written and this turned out great! I was tempted to not soften the onions before adding to the slow cooker but I&aposm sure glad I did. The caramelized onions added another depth of flavor." — Allrecipes member Soup Loving Nicole
- Heat 1 tablespoon of salted butter in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add 1 chopped onion and 2 minced garlic cloves cook and stir until tender, or about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Transfer this onion mixture to your slow cooker (read our picks for the best slow cookers on the market).
- Stir in two 15-ounce cans of chili, three 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, 1 16-ounce jar of your preferred spice-level of salsa, plus 2 tablespoons or so of minced jalapeño peppers.
- Top with lid and cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 4 hours.
- Flip to "keep warm" and devour all party long.
How to Make Queso in an Instant Pot
"I made some adjustments to the peppers because of my personal spice tolerance. It&aposs a really good recipe." — Allrecipes member Sarah
Easiest Not Quite Queso Dip
If you’re looking for a creamy, deliciously melty dip that satisfies, then this allergy friendly take on queso dip is for you! Also, it’s dairy & nut free, with an adaptation to avoid coconut products.
- Author: Rachael Bryant / Meatified
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: About 2 1/2 cups / 600 ml 1 x
- Category: sauce, dip, condiment
- Method: stovetop, blender
- Cuisine: American, Mexican
- 3 tbsp / 45 ml avocado oil, divided
- 1/2 cup / 70 g diced onion, about 1/2 small
- 1/2 packed cup / 40 g finely sliced green onions, about 8 small
- 1 cup / 240 g roasted, cooled & peeled white sweet potato, see notes
- 1/2 cup / 120 ml coconut milk, see notes to replace
- 1/2 cup / 120 ml chicken or vegetable broth, see notes
- 2 tbsp – 1/4 cup / 9 – 18 g nutritional yeast, to taste, see notes
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/2 tsp dried cilantro leaves
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 2 tbsp / 12 g tapioca flour, I like this one
- 1 1/2 tsp / 7 ml white wine vinegar
SOFTEN: Pour 1 tablespoon / 15 ml of the avocado oil into a small saucepan over low medium heat. When the oil is warmed through, add the diced red onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 7 minutes. Add the green onions and cook until softened, about another 2 minutes.
BLEND: While the onions are softening, add the cooked white sweet potato, coconut mil, broth, the smaller amount of nutritional yeast, garlic, cilantro, salt & oregano to a blender pitcher. Blend until completely smooth and combined. Taste and add the additional nutritional yeast if you like.
THICKEN: Scoop the blended cheese sauce from the pitcher into the saucepan and stir to combine with the softened onions. Warm the sauce through over low heat, stirring often. Measure the tapioca flour into a small jug or jar and add enough water to whisk it into a slurry. Pour the tapioca slurry into the queso dip base in the saucepan, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Cook until the queso dip is warmed through, has thickened and will coat the back of a spoon evenly. Remove the queso dip from the heat and stir through the white wine vinegar. Serve immediately. The queso dip can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days and re-warmed just before serving.
I always make this with leftover, plain roasted sweet potatoes, plus you can roast them a few days in advance and keep them in the fridge whole until you’re ready to make dip! Roasting removes any excess water for a firmer sweet potato and a thicker sauce. You can swap in steamed or boiled sweet potato instead if you like, but you may want to reduce the amount of broth to compensate for the higher moisture content of those cooking methods.
To make this coconut free, omit the coconut milk, increase the broth to 3/4 cups / 180 ml and add an additional 1 tablespoon / 15 ml of avocado oil. Start with half the amount of tapioca starch and then adjust the thickness to your liking.
If you wish to make this vegan, substitute a mild flavored vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Make sure that it is light in color and not too mushroom heavy, or the finished color will be too dark and the mushroom flavor overwhelming.
If you’re looking for a non fortified nutritional yeast, this is a good brand.
The Melted Cheese Problem™
If you’ve ever tossed a handful of grated cheddar cheese into a bowl of hot pasta with the hopes of making a down-and-dirty mac and cheese (I am guilty as charged), you’ve experienced The Melted Cheese Problem™. Melt down a semi-firm melting cheese like Jack, Gruyère, Jarlsberg, low-moisture mozzarella, or the aforementioned cheddar on its own and it’s likely to throw a tantrum, turning into a mass of stringy clumps surrounded by a pool of oil. (Not the most awful thing on 3 a.m. noodles, but pretty terrible if you’re trying to make queso.)
So how can you make a smooth, luscious cheese sauce while avoiding The Melted Cheese Problem™? When Sohla El-Waylly set out to develop a queso recipe, she fought on the front lines. It took 15 (okay, maybe 20) attempts to achieve a dip that’s creamy, homogenous, and not prone to congealing, but along the way, Sohla—and all of her diligent tasters—learned a thing or two about melting cheese. Here are the keys to success:
Before you ask, no, you can’t skip the American cheese. Sohla tried—and it didn’t work. In her first queso attempts, she used equal parts cheddar and Jack, no “processed cheese” involved. The result was a dip that was lumpy, grainy, and, after just a minute off heat, broken, with a shiny, greasy top-layer (sort of like my face after a long day). Not a winner.
To solve the problem, Sohla swapped out the cheddar for American. The queso was smoother, more velvety, and less temperature-dependent—closer to the kind you’d get from a jar. American cheese was the answer. But why?
At room temperature, cheeses like cheddar or Monterey Jack are a stable emulsion of dairy fat and water, held together by a protein network. But when heat is introduced, the protein structure falls apart and the emulsion breaks—the fat globules come together into a greasy pool and the proteins congeal to form a stringy mess. But American cheese is specifically designed to be extremely meltable and nearly impossible to break. When Sohla swapped out half of the cheese and replaced it with American, she built enough of a stable buffer that the Jack cheese could melt without fat separation.
You can use any combo of semi-firm melting cheeses in place of the Jack (low-moisture mozzarella, Comté, fontina, Gruyère, Manchego)—but you need to keep the American cheese in there. It provides the texture (and color) the other 50% of the cheese brings the flavor and the stretchy pull.
The second key to keeping the emulsion stable is the cornstarch. First, the starch absorbs water, thereby thickening the queso and providing body (making it less like dressing and more like dip). But maybe more importantly, it also physically prevents the fat and the proteins from grouping together to form those respective groups of grease (fat) and stringy clumps (proteins). In other words, the starch helps to maintain the precariously balanced network of room temperature cheese, even when things get hot.
There are, of course, other ways to make a smooth cheese sauce. Some recipes start with a béchamel, other calls for evaporated milk, some go all-in on American or Velveeta. Or you could, you know, get a jar.
But Sohla’s queso is fast, easy, and bolder-tasting than the jarred stuff, with a little more pull and stretch—much better for drowning your sorrows (or reveling in your victory) depending on how that big football game goes. And even if your team loses, at least you've defeated The Melted Cheese Problem. And that's something to celebrate.