Easy Rotel Dip

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
February 3, 2023 | Updated on January 20, 2024

Rotel Dip is a creamy three-cheese dip with juicy flavorful chunks of ground beef, tomatoes, and green chilies. Whether it’s prepared in a skillet or a crockpot, you’ll be scooping up this mouthwatering Velveeta Rotel dip until the bowl is clean. This crowd-pleasing appetizer is perfect for parties and entertaining.

For more party dip recipes, try Queso Blanco with Guacamole, Caramelized Onion Dip and Whipped Feta with Charred Scallions, next!

a close up view of a skillet full of rotel dip

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Quick, easy, and oh-so cheesy, this Rotel cheese dip can be conveniently made in two ways. Whip it up on the stove or let it simmer in the crockpot. Made with Velveeta, cream cheese, and pepper jack cheese, this is a truly indulgent snack that’s perfect for cheese lovers. Get ready to enjoy the best Rotel dip you’ve ever tasted!

Why This Rotel Dip Recipe Works

  • Great for Gatherings – Whether it’s a potluck, movie night, or a Super Bowl watch party, everyone will gather around a bowl of this Rotel dip with cream cheese.
  • Quick and Easy – With simple, straightforward instructions, you gradually build the flavors for this delectable dip.
  • Customizable – Mild or spicy, with or without meat, on the stove, or in the crockpot, make this Rotel dip recipe your own!
best-rotel-dip

What is Rotel?

Rotel, or Ro-Tel, is a Texas brand of canned tomatoes. Rotel is a savory mixture of ripe tomatoes, green chilies, and spices. There are 11 varieties including Original, Hot, Serrano, and Mexican Style. For this recipe, we use the mild variety.

Tools You’ll Need

Ingredients You Will Need for Rotel Dip

  • Ground beef – Use 85% lean.
  • Aromatics – Onions and garlic are sautéd in oil just before cooking the meat.
  • Taco seasoning – Use the taco seasoning packets for extra flavor.
  • Velveeta cheese – Add it to the pan cubed so it easily melts.
  • Cream cheese – The key to creamy Rotel dip is full-fat cream cheese. Add it cubed so it melts faster.
  • Pepper jack cheese – Shred fresh cheese. Avoid pre-shredded cheese as it tends to be coated in a waxy preservative that makes the cheese harder to melt.
  • Rotel – Use the mild variety for less spice. If you prefer a spicier dip, go for hot. Do not drain the juices.
close up view of dip with ground beef, cheese, tomatoes, sliced jalapenos, and cilantro

How To Make Rotel Dip on the Stove

Rotel dip easily comes together by seasoning and browning ground beef, draining the excess oil, and melting all the other ingredients into a creamy, luscious cheese sauce.

Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon avocado oil then add onions and cook for 4 minutes, until onions are soft. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, making sure to break up the meat into smaller chunks or crumbles.

ground beef in a skillet

Drain oil, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the skillet. Over medium heat, stir in taco seasoning, using the back of your cooking utensil to press the seasoning into the meat.

ground beef with seasonings

Add velveeta, Rotel, pepper jack cheese, and cream cheese. Stir until ingredients melt. and a cohesive mixture forms, about 10 minutes. Rotel dip is best enjoyed warm. Enjoy warm with tortilla chips, corn chips, or crudité.

overhead view of dip ingredients in a skillet
melted cheese with beef and seasonings in a skillet

Crockpot Option

Making crockpot Rotel dip is great because it keeps the dip warmer for longer. If serving this at a party, this is the preferred way to prepare and serve it as the cheese will thicken as it cools. Serving dip directly from the slow cooker is a game changer!

Also, keep in mind that if you opt for the crockpot version, it will take about 2 hours for the cheese to fully melt. Conversely, you can prepare the dip per the stovetop instructions, then transfer the dip to a crockpot and keep on the “low” or “keep warm” setting.

  1. Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon avocado oil then add onions and cook for 4 minutes, until onions are soft. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, making sure to break up the meat into smaller chunks or crumbles.
  3. Drain oil, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the skillet. Over medium heat, stir in taco seasoning, using the back of your cooking utensil to press the seasoning into the meat.
  4. Transfer the ground beef to a crockpot, then add the remaining ingredients. Cover and adjust the setting to high. Stir occasionally and once the cheese has completely melted, lower the setting to “keep warm”. Enjoy!
rotel-dip-with-tortilla-chips

Tips and Tricks

  • If preparing on the stove, use an oven-safe skillet. It retains heat for longer and prevents the cheese sauce from thickening too fast.
  • If the dip has gotten too thick, add one tablespoon of milk or water at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Serve dip in the crockpot. Even if you prepare it on the stove, it’s a good idea to transfer it to the crock pot so it can stay warm. As Rotel dip cools, it thickens and then it won’t be as appetizing or easy to scoop.

Variations

  • Other Proteins. Use pork sausage instead of or combined with ground beef for sausage Rotel dip. (Use the spicy variety for an extra kick of heat.) Ground turkey, chicken, and shrimp are all viable options, too.
  • Rotel Dip Without Meat. Easily make this a vegetarian dip by omitting ground beef. Consider adding drained black beans or pinto beans in order to make it heartier.
  • Spicy Rotel Dip. For a spicier dip, add diced jalapenos, habaneros, chipotle chili powder, crushed red pepper, or your favorite hot sauce.
  • Rotel Dip Without Velveeta. While I absolutely love Velveeta in this recipe, it may not be everyone’s favorite. If you leave out the Velveeta, double the amount of the cream cheese and pepper jack and add 8 ounces of a third melty cheese like shredded cheddar.

Leftovers

Store leftover Rotel dip in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To freeze, place it in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you are ready to reheat it, thaw the dip in the refrigerator overnight. Then heat it up on the stove over medium-low heat or in the crockpot.

rotel cheese dip in a pan

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Rotel dip made of?

There are many Rotel dip recipes but all of them include a can of Rotel and one melty cheese (usually Velveeta). This recipe includes Rotel, cream cheese, Velveeta cheese, pepper jack cheese, taco seasoning, and ground beef.

Are you supposed to drain Rotel?

No. Do not drain Rotel before adding it to the cheese mixture. The liquid in Rotel is the perfect amount for this dip. It adds moisture so it’s not too thick.

How to make Rotel dip thinner?

Simply add water in 1 tablespoon increments to thin out the dip. You can also use milk, preferably whole milk.

What is the difference between rotel and salsa?

Sometimes one is substituted for the other but Rotel and salsa contain different ingredients. Rotel contains diced tomatoes and green chilies while salsa contains that plus onions, lime juice, and cilantro.

How else can I use Rotel dip?

Use leftover dip as a sauce; drizzle it over nachos, fries, or hotdogs.

Looking for More Appetizer Recipes

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rotel-dip

Easy Rotel Dip

Rotel Dip is a creamy three-cheese dip with juicy flavorful chunks of ground beef, tomatoes, and green chilies. Whether it's prepared in a skillet or a crockpot, you'll be scooping up this mouthwatering Velveeta rotel dip until the bowl is clean. This crowd-pleasing appetizer is perfect for parties and entertaining.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • 1 Cast Iron Skillet
  • 1 Crock Pot optional

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • ½ cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef, 85% lean
  • teaspoons taco seasoning, from the packet
  • 16 ounces velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, full-fat, cubed
  • 4 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded, do not use pre-shredded
  • 1 can Rotel, mild, do not drain

Instructions

  • Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon avocado oil then add onions and cook for 4 minutes, until onions are soft. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, making sure to break up the meat into smaller chunks or crumbles.
  • Drain oil, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the skillet. Over medium heat, stir in taco seasoning, using the back of your cooking utensil to press the seasoning into the meat.
  • Add velveeta, Rotel, pepper jack cheese, and cream cheese. Stir until ingredients melt. and a cohesive mixture forms, about 10 minutes. Rotel dip is best enjoyed warm. Enjoy warm with tortilla chips, corn chips, or crudité

Crockpot Option

  • Cook ground beef in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink, making sure to break up the meat into smaller chunks or crumbles.
  • Drain oil, leaving about 1 tablespoons in the skillet. Over medium heat, stir in taco seasoning, using the back of your cooking utensil to press the seasoning into the meat.
  • Transfer the ground beef to a crockpot, then add remaining ingredients. Cover and adjust setting to "high". Stir occasionally and once cheese has completely melted, roughly two hours, then lower setting to "keep warm". Enjoy! *See notes for more crockpot details.*

NOTES

Crockpot Version
Making crockpot Rotel dip is great because it keeps the dip warmer for longer. If serving this at a party, this is the preferred way to prepare and serve it as the cheese will thicken as it cools. Serving dip directly from the slow cooker is a game changer!
Also, keep in mind that if you opt for the crockpot version, it will take about 2 hours for the cheese to fully melt. Conversely, you can prepare the dip per the stovetop instructions, then transfer the dip to a crockpot and keep on the “low” or “keep warm” setting.
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Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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