Queso Dip Video (scroll down for queso recipe)

If you’re not from Texas, you probably have no idea what the hell queso is. I know, I know, you think you know that it means “cheese” in Spanish and you are correct in that. But to a Texan, queso means something completely different. Sometimes called chili con queso, or queso dip to differentiate it from a bowl of shredded cheddar, our Tex-Mex queso means melted processed American cheese with tomatoes and peppers and nothing else. You may see things on menus like “queso fundido” and “queso flameado” and those things are great and good and much more authentically Mexican, but they are in no way similar to the real deal Texas queso.

And don’t think you’ve had real queso on those 7-11 nachos you secretly eat sometimes. “Nacho cheese sauce” is also completely dissimilar from our beloved queso.

Every Christmas, my paternal grandmother would make “her queso”. It’s not much different from anyone else’s queso, really, but she took a lot of pride in it. She’d saute onions in bacon fat (later, in the 80’s the bacon fat was replaced by a stick of oleo.) then add canned green chilies and whole canned tomatoes that she’d crush in her hands. When Ro-Tel brand tomatoes-with-green-chilies became available, she switched over to that.

Queso Recipe – printable



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4.5 from 2 reviews

Classic Tex-Mex dip

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


  • 1 very large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat, butter, or margarine (oleo)
  • 1 or 2 cans tomatoes with green peppers
  • 2 pounds Velveeta (or Easy Melt cheese)
  • Optional additions:
  • cooked chorizo
  • black or pinto beans, cooked
  • cooked bacon cubes
  • beef taco filling
  • guacamole or avocado chunks
  • Tortilla chips for serving


  1. In a large skillet, saute onion in fat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Add tomatoes and peppers.
  3. Cube cheese (1″) and add to skillet. Stir over low heat until smooth and melted.
  4. Add optional ingredients.
  5. Keep warm in a slow-cooker over low heat. If your cooker doesn’t have a removable insert, save yourself a lot of trouble and fill the cooker up 1/2 way with water, put your queso in a glass or metal bowl that fits in the cooker, resting on the lip, and use the slow cooker as a double-boiler. Much easier to wash the bowl that way.
  6. (This will also keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks with no problemos.)

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For more delicious additions to your queso:

Beef taco filling






  1. Yana Maranan on March 26, 2013 at 5:57 am

    Hey Hilah. You know our cheese is kinda like from Mexico because it’s pronouncation is Queso also . But our spelling is Keso. I think Philippines have a good relation in Mexico. 🙂

    • Hilah on March 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      Thank you, Yana! That is interesting. 🙂

  2. Keith on March 28, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Again Hilah
    Queso… it’s not just for the superbowl anymore… I searched the internet and couldn’t find a Nacho Farm anywhere. Never mind how they milk em to get milk to make nacho cheese…
    Yes this does require an American cheese food substance, but… it is another staple around the house here. Sad that Cheese is getting to be a bit of a luxury though. Love the Onion sauted in bacon fat idea. (My frugal bacon fat jar is empty at the moment. ) I will make sure to save some bacon next time I buy it just to try it out… May as well put the bacon bits in there too. IF (and that is a mighty big IF) there are leftovers, I use this cold as a sandwich spread, or, reheated as toppins for anything cheese friendly… It is also microwave friendly which helps for those late night munchies. Nom nom nom.

    Remember. Calories are our friends. Choose Quality over Quantity

    • Hilah on March 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      Ooh, sandwich spread. Great thinking, Keith! This morning I mixed a couple spoonfuls of cold queso in with our scrambled eggs at the last minute. Yummy cheese-eggs….

  3. Emitt on April 6, 2013 at 1:05 pm


  4. Nikki on April 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Hey Hilah,

    What if you have a hubby that refuses to anything that has processed cheese in it (eg. Velveeta, Cheese Whiz). Could you use just normal cheese?

    • Hilah on April 8, 2013 at 10:20 am

      Hi Nikki!
      Regular cheese won’t melt smooth without help from a roux and bechamel sauce. You could try it with 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 cup milk, then slowly add in 1 cup of mild cheddar or colby jack, shredded, until smooth. Finally add the tomatoes and chilies. It’s not going to be the same, obviously, but it’s an approximation!

  5. Chris on May 20, 2013 at 10:42 pm


    Get a new husband. This one will not work out well in the long run.

  6. Rutager on November 22, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    “Author: Hilah Johnson”

    You LIE!

  7. Phil on January 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Hello, Can you show how to make the white cheese dip like you get in the Mexican resturant?

    • Hilah on January 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Hey Phil,
      Can you describe it a bit more? I’m not sure what you mean. This is the kind of cheese dip I get in restaurants here in Texas.

  8. Tricia Leemann on January 16, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Hi Hilah,

    Remember Randy from Vermont? I’m his girlfriend and he has introduced me to your website and your recipes. I’m a fan of yours now too! We are making your queso to serve to company tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to trying it. Randy is looking forward to sending you more maple syrup too once the season is upon us.
    Congrats on your new baby and Happy New Year.


    • Hilah on January 18, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Hi Tricia (and Randy)!
      Hope y’all enjoyed the queso. We had queso yesterday, too 🙂
      We’d love more maple syrup whenever the time is right. I think we’ve moved since last time so tell Randy to email me to make sure he has the right address before it ships. And someday, we would love to bring the boy up to VT to check out the sugar shacks and see how the syrup is tapped.
      Thanks for writing!

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