Is there an appetizer out there more irresistible than queso dip?  Personally, I can’t think of one.  I mean, it’s basically a bowl of melted cheese for dipping tortilla chips.  What’s not to love?  I cannot keep away from it.  Any night I’m making Mexican food is exciting enough as it is, but adding queso to the menu just made the whole experience even better.  I’ve never even bothered making queso at home before because I didn’t think it could live up to the kind at our favorite Mexican restaurant, La Torre, in our hometown.  When I saw this version on Shawnda’s blog, I knew it would be good.  That girl knows her food and it looked just like what I was hoping for.

As expected, this did not disappoint.  You can adjust how thick or thin the final product is by adding the milk gradually until you reach the consistency you want.  I was happy with the amount of spice in the recipe (just barely there) but if you want it with more of a kick, you can add another jalapeño, some cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce.  This makes a nice large amount of queso, perfect for a group…but not to worry if you aren’t using it all at once.  It also reheats nicely in the microwave.  It was really great for watching the playoffs, and in fact, dinner turned out to be the highlight of our evening since the Colts put on a very disappointing show.  I guess a bowl of melted cheese is pretty good consolation.


  • 1 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 12 oz. white American cheese, shredded* *White American cheese can be found at the deli counter in most grocery stores.
  • 4 oz. Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • ¼-2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tomato, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, minced


  • 01

    Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and jalapeño to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add both of the shredded cheeses and ¼ cup of the milk. Whisk or stir until completely melted. Mix in the tomato and cilantro, and add additional milk gradually as necessary to achieve desired consistency. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately.

  • Sue

    I made this a few weeks ago, and by far, it is the best queso I’ve ever made. I did add a can of hot Rotel and some extra jalapenos for some extra kick. It was delicious!

  • I’ve never even thought to make queso cheese from scratch! It looks so perfect and creamy.

  • Sheri

    Thanks for posting. I saw you madde this a few weeks ago and wanted the recipe. I heart queso!

  • I love Queso Blanco! I found it in a can at Dillon’s the other day, and it had the right consistency, but it was definitely missing the kick that you get from the restaurant variety. I’m sure it would be much cheaper to make it this way than with the queso in the Mexican specialty stores.

  • Oooh, this looks wonderful! So happy to see that it doesn’t include a roux or flour. Perfect for me! Queso dip at Mexican restaurants is always so great…I’m excited to try to recreate it at home!

  • This looks absolutely delicious. I’ve been looking for a “white cheese” dip recipe and will definitely have to try this one out! Have you ever made a dip using goat cheese?

  • Wait — is white american cheese not the default where you are?? We have to ask if we want to get yellow here. I never considered that might be a regional thing.

  • Oh yum! :) I may have to make this for the Steelers game this week!

  • I love this! My boyfriend and I always get queso dip when we have dinner at Mexican restaurants. The dip is always white, not bright orange like the store bought kind and it tastes 100000 times better. Now I know I can make my own at home :)

  • I just about did a nose dive into my monitor. I’ve never made homemade queso either, like Lauren. This looks incredible, Annie. I’m bookmarking it now and probably making it tonight for dinner. :)

  • That looks delicious! I will have to keep it in mind for Superbowl!

  • sara

    This looks great, but does it stay melted for awhile? Every time I make quest it harden so quickly that chips are not able to dip. Any suggestions?

  • You had me at queso.

  • Love queso, so I’m always looking for the perfect queso cheese recipe. I’ll try this one- Thanks for sharing!

  • I am an American living in London…I don’t have access to white American cheese (or any American cheese)…can you think of an alternative of other types of cheeses?

  • HB

    i used to love white queso at a restaurant many years ago. I’d love to try and replicate it! Thanks!

  • This looks divine, Annie! As the weather warms up around here in SoCal, I’ll be wanting to sit outside more often with a cool drink and a dip like this. Thanks for sharing this excellent recipe!

  • Mmmm…this looks so good!! I’ve always wondered how Mexican restaurants make their cheese dip so delicious. I’ll have to give this a try!

  • Mmmmm…..melted cheese heaven. I fear my husband would knock me out of the way getting to this one. ;)

  • Annie

    Unfortunately, I can’t. If you read Shawnda’s post, you see how she talks about how long she’s tried to make good queso and she found that white American is the secret, at least in this case. So, I’m sure there are other queso recipes out there but at least with this one, I probably wouldn’t try substitutions.

  • Annie

    This stays pretty well melted. Anyway, I think that the eventual thickening is just the nature of queso. It is, after all melted cheese.

  • Annie

    No, I haven’t but I have plans to try one.

  • Queso has to be one of my favorite and I definitely do like to kick it up with some extra peppers!

  • Oh heck yeah! Queso is awesome! And the best part about making it at home is that I don’t have to worry about my husband drinking too many margaritas!

  • I was just looking at trying a recipe like this. I’m going to a fondue restaurant for my birthday this weekend and I can’t wait to dip into different cheese pots!

  • Add a glass of wine or a HUGE margarita to that and I’m a happy camper.

  • I was so excited when Shawnda posted this, and of course I forgot all about it. Thanks for posting, now I think I NEED to make it this weekend!

    Funny side story – when my best friend was pregnant, she went out for Mexican and asked if the queso is pasteurized cheese. The waiter obviously didn’t understand and was like “oh no, it’s American!” :-)

  • oooh i love queso! thanks for the recipe :)

  • Defreakinglicious! I love good queso and this one looks superb. I like pouring mine over a breakfast burrito.

  • Yummy!! Anything with cheese and peppers sounds delish to me!!!

  • Andrea

    I’ve made this a couple times. I forgot the second time I made it that before I had added a lot of garlic. It’s sooo much better with garlic!

  • D

    This looks delicous! Do you have to use the onion?

  • This looks SO good! I’ve tried ‘making up’ queso recipes and fondue ones but none that turned out very well. I can’t wait to try this!

  • Annie


  • So, I showed your post to my husband last night and he said “print me the ingredients, I’ll go to the store” and he did. It was as good as you described it!!!! Thanks, Annie!!!

  • the other night i had mexican food with some friends. this would have gone perfectly with the tortilla/nacho things i made! i took a flat corn tortilla and had some melted queso fresco in there and served it with chicken or steak, salsa, guac, etc. but this would have been a great substitute! instead of having many separate toppings this would have combined them! next time, definitely.

  • Jenni Gerber

    Annie, I’m relatively new to your blog and so far I LOVE it! I currently own only 2 cookbooks so I would love to win this one. Our favorite healthy meal is tacos with lean meat and lots of veggies.

  • wow! so funny, Annie—I just got a post ready from a granola recipe I came up with today and all of the ingredients are the same as the ones in this recipe.

    Great minds. :)

  • Kristen

    LOVE to make roasted cauliflower. So simple, but sooo good!

  • Looks soooooo good! Cannot wait to make this Sunday!!

  • Liz

    Made this tonight! Very good but DEFINITELY needed more heat. I added about 1-1&1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper and it’s a little better. Without the heat, it just tasted like melted cheese…which is obviously delicious, too…but I was looking for a little more depth. I left in quite a few seeds (from one half of the jalapeño) hoping they would give it more of a kick…but the cayenne was the key. Couldve even added more. Hopefully when I reheat this at our work potluck tomorrow it won’t be too spicy! Great, simple queso recipe Annie!

  • Annie

    Everyone has different preferences for heat. This is a good base recipe on which to expand. I like it as is, but some may prefer it spicier. Neither is right or wrong :)

  • I made this for last night’s Super Bowl party and the bowl was all but licked clean. I’m so happy to have found this recipe!!

  • Randi

    American Yellow is a standard near DC, at least. It’s not uncommon to have white american, but everyone assumes american cheese means yellow here so I think it must be regional.

  • Joy

    I shred my own cheese. Are you shredding a 12 oz block of white American & a 4 oz block of Monterey Jack? Or are 12 oz & 4 oz the weights of the already shredded cheeses? Thanks!

  • Joy

    Never mind on my last question! They’ll weigh the same either way! Pregnancy brain is playing with my common sense!

  • Amanda

    Is this recipe taste similar to that of what you get at Applebees? I have been searching for their recipe but I keep finding the same one everywhere, and it has chiles and no tomatoes. Applebees menu says that it has tomatoes in it so I know the others must be wrong, also theres all said monterey jack cheese or asadero. I fell in love with the applebees dip, only I ask them to add chili because that is how I first had it served. Let me know if this is similar because it sounds awesome, I just dont wanna get my hopes up too high if it is different.


  • Amanda

    Also, applebees menu says that they use roasted poblanos, do you think that would make a big difference? I ask because when I say I want mine very spicy they bring me out a little bowl of jalapenos to add.

  • Annie

    I don’t eat at Applebee’s so I really can’t compare.

  • Dionne

    I love queso and this recipe tastes better than Applebees.

  • This dip looks soooo good. Who doesn’t love cheese? My sisters and I just started our first themed blog hop over at every Sunday!. This weeks theme is appetizers. We would love for you to come over and share this or any of your favorite appetizer recipes with our blog readers. Have a great weekend.

  • CocoNat

    Mmmmmm I’ve been dreaming about this since I came upon your post a few weeks ago. I will be bringing this to a party tomorrow but don’t have enough time to make it immediately before. If I make it this evening, would I just put it in the fridge and re-heat tomorrow? What would be the best way to re-heat?


  • Annie

    You could try that. It probably won’t be quite as good that way though.

  • Kelsey

    I made this dip the first time a month ago and now I can’t stop making it. It’s so delicious. I make it with 2-3 jalapenos. The first time I made it with one jalapeno but I like a little extra kick. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    (In response to another review – I always reheat the leftovers. I just add a little water and microwave it and it turns out great.)

  • I LOOOOOOOVE white queso dip, and can’t wait to make this!!! I went to three grocery stores here in California before finding white American cheese!! I can tell by all of the wonderful reviews, that this will be new favorite, must-have dip!! Thanks for posting!!

  • Steff

    Second Saturday in a row making this glorious cheese dip! Thank you, for a fresher wholesome spin on yumminess!

  • Victoria


    Thanks again for the wonderful recipe! Queso blanco is something I recently fell in love with at Applebees, but I swear I will NEVER pay for their version again!!

    I was amazed at how easy this was to make too. I was a little nervous about shredding the american cheese (because it’s so soft) but it was very easy. I’ve been loving on jalapenos lately so I didn’t take out the seeds and added 3 more. It was JUST the kick I was looking for!

    Thanks again! :)

  • Victoria

    This recipe is WAY better than Applebee’s. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enjoy their dip again..

  • Sarah

    YUM made this tonight for dinner…odd I know, but I was CRAVING it :)

  • Bridget

    This was delicious!! I have some friends who LOVE the cheese dip at our local Mexican restaurant and they were amazed at this dip! I used the pre-chopped jalapenos that come canned. Then I could add more/less depending on how much kick I wanted. I didn’t use any onion.
    Also – in MN, white American cheese come in block form right in the normal cheese/dairy aisle.

  • Heather

    This is really good. I made it as a dip with yellow American & it still turned out great. Maybe could have used a little less milk, so I added a can of lentils to make it a little more “nutritious”. great – thanks!

  • Lisa

    I tried to make this tonight. I must be doing something wrong, I never could get the cheese smooth. It turned out very clumpy. Tasted great…but not smooth at all. Please help!

  • Annie

    Sounds like it needed longer to melt the cheese.

  • So much better than Velveeta and Ro-Tel tomatoes. Who knew queso could go grown up? :) Thanks!

  • Ohhhhhh wooooooowwwwwwww! I can’t waaaaaaait to try this!!! It looks sooooo unbelieveably yummy!!!! Thanks for sharing!!! I love your blog!


  • Judy

    I know a lot of people in my fam who will love this! Great post!

  • Melissa

    Has anyone tried putting this in the crockpot once it’s assembled?

  • apal20

    I did! you have to be careful to watch for burning around the edges but if you keep it on low and have a large crowd that will eat it rather quickly it will work out fine- it did for me!

  • Caitin

    What kind of cheese are you using? I used Velveeta’s white American cheese and it was already soft so after I grated it, it melted nicely.

  • my boyfriend and i just made this we used Kraft shredded peperjack and queso melting cheese but we just couldn’t get it smooth it tasted ok but not exactly what i was looking for soo i know i just didn’t do it right ……. help plese :)

  • Anonymous

    Preshredded cheese is coated in things like flour and cornstarch to prevent it from clumping, and will not melt smoothly. You need to shred your own cheese if you want a smooth result.

  • Anonymous

    Preshredded cheese is coated in things like flour and cornstarch to prevent it from clumping, and will not melt smoothly. You need to shred your own cheese if you want a smooth result.

  • Elizabethball

    This was yummy!! We used dried cilantro instead of fresh cause its what we had. I’m so glad I found this recipe. :)

  • Beth

    I checked 3 grocery stores and I couldn’t find white American cheese. So I settled for Velveeta white queso (in a 2lb block). It worked perfectly and tasted delicious. I made this for a party and it was a huge hit! I also made mine in the crockpot and it worked just fine.

  • Amy

    This is the first time I’ve commented EVER on anything on a website, but I just had to say I’ve been searching for a great Queso recipe for years and finally found one! The consistency of this dip was absolutely perfect. Thank you for this great blog as I will definitely be back to try out more recipes. Thanks!

  • Misty O’Donnell

    Made this for our supper club during the Christmas holidays. It was a hit! I had to cross the border into the US and go to the deli counter to find the white American cheese, but well worth it!

  • Aurora

    Not bad but I can’t seem to get the consistency smooth enough. I’m not using pre-shredded cheese due to the fact that it doesn’t melt as well when you shred it yourself. If there is any advice anyone could share, that would be great. Also, any suggestions to make a tad spicier would be nice as well.

  • annieseats

    If it isn’t smooth, it may be an issue with the particular cheese you are using. Add spice any way you like – jalapeno, chipotle, cayenne, hot sauce – your call.

  • tacoface

    you really should put in the ingredients section that you NEED to shred your own cheese/do not use substitutions and tell ppl that pre-shredded cheese will fk it all up cuz it’s coated in “cornstartch” or wtvr..

    cuz dammit i did all the work (cutting and really really cutting the veggies up -finely finely chopping it all -while having some beer)… started to cook it/while making taco meat and stirring together some avacods/guac mix… (Both the tacos and guac turned out good at least.. /shrug) i did not read the comments, started making mine with a “white mexican cheese” blend that came pre-shredded, and added more than 1cup of milk… still wasnt “smooth”.. well… it was smooth just not drippy/sticky for a-lack of better word -it was not at all like queso dip from a real mexican restaurant (which is what i wanted)…. it was like pizza cheese stretching and not sticky at all…. i guess i’ll put it in a plastic bag (its really not sticky/runny at all) and use it for chicken/beef enchiladas later this week,,,

    this recipe is all about the cheese/ Should be noted not to substitute and not to use pre-shredded cheese or it will not turn out like good queso at all :(

  • BbyBluThghHghs

    Not sure this dip needs the Monterey added to it; it just seems to make the cheese more stringy than it does smooth. I will definitely leave it out next time and add more White American to the standing ingredients. Great flavor, though! Definite do again.

  • Catherineroseandryszak

    how much milk exactly did you use when you cooked this?

  • annieseats

    I’m not sure. I followed the instructions as listed here and made it to my desired consistency.

  • Nancy Mccullough

    OH MY ~~ YUM!!

  • Debra Tiihonen

    I prefer a can of diced green chiles