This easy queso dip is a fan favorite. You can make it at home with a few simple ingredients. One of the best parts about this side is not only how customizable it is, but also how flexible it is. Missing avocados for guac tonight? Use this queso recipe instead!
Best Cheeses to Use for an Easy Queso
The secret to good queso? Cheese! Lots and lots of cheese! There are lots of options for cheese and it’s incredibly customizable, most of the time you can just pick your favorite cheese for queso and add it to the pot. It just depends on what kind of flavor you’re going for in your queso.
- Cheddar: Cheddar comes in many different variations: white, orange, sharp, medium & mild. I used a medium orange Tillamook Cheddar cheese. It’s one of the most versatile cheeses that has a creamy taste but a hard texture.
- Mozzarella: Oftentimes Mozzarella cheese is not seen in Mexican queso, but it will give your queso a stretchy, gooey consistency.
- American: American cheese is what gives queso that classic taste that you expect when you first dip into Mexican queso. Because American cheeses are oftentimes very processes, they can take a longer time to melt down and mix together with other ingredients.
- Pepper Jack: Pepper jack is known as the original “American” cheese. It is flavored with peppers, rosemary, chilies, spices, garlic and jalapeños. While you can use Pepper jack for your queso, you often will want to spice and flavor your queso yourself, so it might be best to stick with an American cheese instead.
Ingredients in Queso
There are many staple ingredients in a standard Mexican queso.
- Green chiles: Available fresh, pickled or canned, green chiles are a staple ingredient that adds zest and flavor to almost any dish.
- Garlic: Garlic is sometimes an overlooked allium that added a flavor and kick to the dish that you just can’t get from anything other than fresh garlic.
- Onion: Any onion will work for this dish. I enjoy using red onion for its sharp zesty flavor, but you can also use white or yellow onion if that’s what you have on hand.
- Roma tomatoes: Any tomatoes that you have on hand will work for this dish, but if you have the opportunity to use Roma tomatoes, you should use them. Roma tomatoes have minimal water in them making them easier to carmelize and easy to cook with other ingredients, especially when making a thick cheesy sauce.
- Evaporated milk: One of the ways I keep my queso creamy and not grainy is by using evaporated milk as the main dairy source (other than the cheese, of course).
- Cornstarch: This is my secret ingredient in addition to evaporated milk that will keep your cheese sauce creamy.
- Butter: Almost every dish will require butter or oil of some sort. I prefer to use butter but you can use vegetable oil to saute your veggies if you prefer.
- Jalapenos: My favorite jalapenos are Mrs. Renfro’s pickled jalapenos that are sweet and spicy. I highly recommend them!
- Fresh herbs: Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs! Its fresh flavor will lighten this heavy creamy sauce, so add it as a garnish just before serving.
The Secret to a Creamy Queso
There are a couple of secrets to a creamy and smooth queso.
As some cheese dips begin to cool down they can become grainy and difficult to eat. There are two ways to combat this: evaporated milk and cornstarch. This recipe uses both ingredients to combat clumpiness.
After sautéing your vegetables and cooking them down, coat them in the cornstarch and then add the evaporated milk and bring to a simmer.