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Easy Homemade Queso Cheese Dip

This Easy Homemade Queso Cheese is the best Mexican-inspired restaurant-style dip. It’s made with creamy, melted cheese, fire-roasted tomatoes, cilantro, and the perfect spices to keep everyone wanting more.

queso cheese dip in a red bowl with a plate of chips

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fire roasted tomatoes, fresh cilantro, chopped onions, shredded cheese, and green chilies in separate bowls

What the Dip is Made Of/What Gives it Flavor

I swear it’s the best cheese dip ever! I had to come up with my own recipe because it can be really hard to find a good one in restaurants. Many use that fake cheese that has a terrible aftertaste. There’s nothing like the real thing using real cheese.

The dip usually has a kick to it so I use chili powder, cumin, and fire-roasted tomatoes. You can add cayenne pepper and jalapenos to really kick it up.

butter, milk, half and half, seasonings, and cornstarch in separate bowls

You will also need milk and half and half to get it creamy. You can use any milk you wish, but keep in mind the texture and taste of the milk will impact the recipe. The taste of your milk will carry into the dip, along with the texture. Milks that are thin, will thin out the dip and you will need to thicken it up using more cornstarch. (Steps documented in the notes of the recipe in the recipe card.)

A lot of recipes use condensed milk, which is a combination of milk and sugar. I opted for milk and half and half, but feel free to use the same amount of condensed milk as the total amount of milk and half and half used in the recipe.

What Kind of Cheese to Use

I use a combination of cheddar cheese (mild or sharp) and pepper jack cheese. You can use whatever you wish. I recommend you purchase the cheese in block form and grate it yourself.

Pre-shredded cheese has potato starch and chemical preservatives. It doesn’t melt as well and won’t get the dip super creamy.

a glass bowl of cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese

How to Make Homemade Queso Cheese Dip

Detailed instructions and measurements can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Place a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add butter, stir until melted.
  2. Add in onions and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent and fragrant.
  3. Reduce the heat and add in the remaining ingredients. Stir continuously until the cheese has melted.
collage photo of 4 photos showing melted butter and uncooked queso cheese dip in a saucepan

Is the Dip Spicy?

The pepper jack cheese will give it a kick. Substitute cheddar or whatever you like, if you don’t want spicy. If you use a chili powder that has spicy elements, you may think the dip is spicy, in which case omit it. It’s only really spicy if you add cayenne pepper and/or jalapenos.

uncooked queso cheese dip in a sauce pan

How to Melt the Cheese

It takes 5-7 minutes of constant stirring on medium heat to fully incorporate the ingredients and get the cheese to melt down. If you use quality cheese (that isn’t pre-shredded) it will met up easily and nicely.

How to Thicken the Dip

I add cornstarch to the cheese which will help thicken up the dip as the ingredients are incorporated and melt on the stove. It takes about 10 minutes to get the sauce to thicken and it will thicken even more as the cheese dip cools.

If you like it even thicker, create a slurry using 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/2 tablespoon of water. Combine the two until it creates a white paste and add it to the dip and stir. After several minutes it will thicken more.

queso cheese dip in a red bowl with a plate of chips

Can You Add Meat?

Absolutely! I would cook the meat separately using my Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe. Once cooked add it to the queso. You can use chorizo, sausage, ground beef, ground turkey, chicken breasts, or whatever you prefer.

How to Store the Dip

Store it in the fridge tightly covered and sealed for 3-4 days. For gatherings keep it warm in a Crockpot.

queso cheese dip in a red bowl with a plate of chips

Can You Freeze it?

I wouldn’t. Milk and dairy ingredients separate upon thaw. The consistency won’t be the same.

What to Dip Besides Chips

Pair Queso With These Recipes

Air Fryer Tortilla Chips
Leftover Turkey Nachos
Leftover Taco Bowls
Air Fryer Taco Egg Rolls

person holding a chip with homemade queso cheese dip

More Dip Recipes

Keto Guacamole
Million Dollar Dip

BLT Dip
Crab Rangoon Dip
Hot Crab Dip

queso cheese dip in a red bowl with a plate of chips
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5 from 3 votes

Easy Homemade Queso Cheese Dip

This Easy Homemade Queso Cheese is the best Mexican-inspired restaurant-style dip. It's made with creamy, melted cheese, fire roasted tomatoes, cilantro, and the perfect spices to keep everyone wanting more.
Save this recipe here.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword homemade queso dip, queso cheese dip
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
cool 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 164kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese Omit and use additional cheddar if you don't desire spicy.
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion I use white or red onion.
  • 2-3 garlic cloves Minced.
  • 15.5 oz fire roasted tomatoes
  • 4 oz green chilies
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add the shredded cheese to a bowl with the cornstarch and stir. Set aside.
  • Place a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the butter, stir until melted.
  • Add in the onions and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent and fragrant.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add in the remaining ingredients. Stir continuously until the cheese has melted.
  • Taste repeatedly and add additional salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
  • It will take about 10 minutes for the dip to thicken. Remove the dip from heat. It will thicken up more as it cools.
    If you like it even thicker, create a slurry using 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/2 tablespoon of water. Combine the two until it creates a white paste and add it to the dip and stir. After several minutes it will thicken more.

Video

Notes

  • The pepper jack cheese will give it a spicy kick. Substitute cheddar or whatever you like, if you don’t want spicy. If you use a chili powder that has spicy elements, you may think the dip is spicy, in which case omit it. It’s only really spicy if you add cayenne pepper and/or jalapenos.
  • You can use an immersion blender to smooth out the tomatoes if you wish.
  • You can use any milk you wish, but keep in mind the texture and taste of the milk will impact the recipe. The taste of your milk will carry into the dip, along with the texture.
  • You can substitute flour for the same amount of cornstarch used in the recipe.
  • Pre-shredded cheese has potato starch and chemical preservatives. It doesn’t melt as well and won’t get the dip super creamy. I recommend block cheese that you grate yourself.
  • Be sure to stir the dip as the cheese melts to prevent the cheese at the bottom of the pan from burning.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 0.33cup | Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 11g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using MyFitnessPal.com. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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Recipe Rating




Emily

Thursday 17th of June 2021

Never buying store bought again!

staysnatched

Sunday 20th of June 2021

haha! I love to hear it.

Beejal

Thursday 10th of June 2021

AMAZING!! Who knew it was so fast and easy to make REAL queso! Flavorful, creamy and delicious I wont be going back to using anything else but this recipe! So fast and so good!! Thanks again Brandi!!

staysnatched

Thursday 10th of June 2021

You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed it!

Nyssa

Monday 17th of May 2021

I have a slight obsession with queso so I ran to make this dip. It’s easy to make, quick and delicious. This will definitely be my go to dip from now on.

staysnatched

Thursday 20th of May 2021

Yay! I'm so glad to hear it.