This queso dip with chipotle is a lusciously creamy, spicy, cheese dip that blends three cheeses, tomatoes, and peppers for a delicious appetizer or starter. Grab a bag of tortilla chips and prepare this quick and easy queso dip for game nights, potlucks, and casual snacking.
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If you’ve ever had queso dip at a Mexican restaurant then you know how gooey and irresistible it is, in all its cheesy glory. This Tex-Mex hot cheese blend is velvety smooth (without Velveeta) and enhanced with chipotle peppers, jalapeños, and fresh tomatoes for a full-flavored dip that’s perfect for any occasion.
Why This Queso Recipe Works
- Better Than the Jarred Stuff – This queso dip made from scratch tastes like restaurant quality so you won’t want to buy the jarred cheese ever again.
- Perfect for Any Occasion – Serve this as a starter at your next event because no one can resist hot, melted cheese. Just think of all the things you can dip it with: tortilla chips, pretzels, veggies, the list goes on!
- Customizable – You can choose everything from the cheese to the spice level so make this dip your own!
What is queso?
Queso is the Spanish word for cheese. Queso dip is cheese melted down to a liquidy substance. Serve it as a dip or pour it over nachos, fries, and hot dogs.
Tool You’ll Need
Ingredients You Will Need
This section details what you will need to make this recipe, the use of each ingredient, and substitution options. For the exact measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Butter – Use this in order to sauté the veggies.
- Medium yellow onion and fresh garlic cloves – These are finely chopped and sauteed as the base flavor of the queso dip.
- Jalapeño – Use this for a spicy kick. Finely chopped.
- Roma tomato – This adds a pop of color and fresh flavor. Finely chopped.
- Cream cheese – This adds a delightful creaminess while also preventing the cheese from curdling. Use full-fat cream cheese.
- Whole milk – This makes the dip creamy. Use whole milk for this recipe.
- Seasoning – I season it with kosher salt (Diamond Crystal brand), ground cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce – This adds a smoky, savory heat to the dip that makes the flavor more complex. Want more smoky flavor with a kick? Add more chipotle peppers, prepared finely chopped.
- Cheese – You need cheeses that melt well. I use freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, Monterrey jack cheese, and pepper jack cheese. Do not use.
- Sour cream
- Jalapeño, minced
- Tomato, minced
- Cholula Hot Sauce, optional
- Valentina Hot Sauce, optional
How To Make Queso Dip
Making homemade queso dip is so easy. All it takes is a little patience as you stand over the stove, watching cheese melt down into a tasty golden dip.
Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add butter. Add garlic and onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, until onions are softened.
Then add jalapeño and tomato and cook for another 3 minutes until soft.
Add seasonings, stir and cook for 1 minute. Then remove the saucepan from the heat and add cream cheese and milk. Stir until completely smooth.
Add grated cheese in small (1 cup) batches and whisk until completely smooth. Repeat until all cheese is added. Be careful to not allow the mixture to get too hot because the cheese mixture will turn out grainy.
Adjust seasoning with salt, if needed. If you prefer to thin out the sauce, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
Finally, top with preferred toppings and serve with tortilla chips.
Tips and Tricks
- Do not use pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese contains a waxy coating that prevents it from clumping (therefore making it difficult to melt). Instead, grate the cheese yourself.
- Keep queso dip warm by transferring it to a slow cooker. Set it to warm while serving.
- Keep the heat low when adding the milk. The milk should never never come to a rolling boil. If too hot, it will cause the queso dip to become grainy.
- Add the cheese in batches and keep the heat low. When adding the cheese in batches, whisk until the cheese completely melt. Repeat with remaining cheese. Keep the heat on low or alternate removing the pan from the hot surface while you whisk the cheese.
- If the milk begins to curdle, add a tablespoon of whole milk and whisk as this will help emulsify the cheese.
Queso Dip Recipe Variations
- White Queso Dip (Queso Blanco Dip). Use white American cheese and mozzarella for a melty, white cheese dip.
- Seasoning. Keep it simple and just add a taco seasoning packet for seasoning.
- Queso Dip with Meat. Bulk up your queso dip by adding precooked sausage, ground beef, diced chicken, or chorizo.
- Crock Pot Queso Dip. Set it to high and add the milk and cheese. Stir occasionally as it melts. Once it’s melted, switch it to low heat and add in the other ingredients.
Store leftover queso dip in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To reheat, cook it over low heat on the stove or microwave it in a bowl in 30-second intervals. You may need to add a splash of milk and stir to rehydrate and thin the dip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is queso just melted cheese?
Queso dip is a combination of cheese, milk, and spices. Every queso dip recipe has variations so those ingredients can vary from mild to spicy, non-fat to full-fat, and so on.
What cheeses melt well for queso?
The best cheeses for queso dip are cheddar, Monterey jack, Colby, mozzarella, and pepper jack. Do not use pre-shredded gives as it is processed with anti-caking agents which prevent it from clumping, but also affect the melting consistency of the cheese.
Can you freeze queso dip?
I don’t recommend freezing this dip because the texture will change drastically when it is thawed.
How long does homemade queso last?
If properly stored in an airtight container, homemade queso can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
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Queso Dip with Chipotle
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup jalepeño, chopped
- ½ cup roma tomato, finely chopped
- 4 ounces cream cheese, full-fat
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, from the can
- 1½ teaspoons adobo sauce, from the can
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 ounces monterrey jack cheese, grated
- 2 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
- Sour cream
- Jalapeño, finely chopped
- Tomato, minces
- Cholula Hot Sauce, optional
- Valentina Hot Sauce, optional
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add butter. Add garlic and onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, until onions are softened.
- Add jalapeño and tomato and cook for another 3 minutes until soft.
- Add seasonings, stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Remove saucepan from the heat and add cream cheese and milk. Stir until completely smooth.
- Add grated cheese in small (1 cup) batches and whisk until completely smooth. Repeat until all cheese is added. Careful to not allow the mixture to get too hot or the cheese mixture will turn out grainy.
- Adjust seasoning with salt, if needed. If you prefer to thin out the sauce, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Top with preferred toppings and serve with tortilla chips.