Southwest Chile Cheese Fondue

This Southwest chile fondue blends Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese with cream, cream cheese, and plenty of Southwestern flavor. Offer sturdy tortilla chips, warm flour tortillas, chunks of cooked chorizo sausage, and plenty of crunchy fresh vegetables as fondue dippers.–Peggy Fallon

LC What'd You Call That? Note

Um, depending on the crowd you run with, you may wish to refer to this as a “dip” rather than a “fondue.” Just saying…

Southwest Chile Cheese Fondue Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes 6 to 8 entrees


  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped, or 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) petite cut diced tomatoes, well drained
  • 2 or 3 jalapeno or serrano chile peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups light cream or half-and-half
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro and/or scallions


  • 1. In a large bowl, toss the Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese with the cornstarch to coat.
  • 2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chile peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture evaporates, about 5 minutes. Pour in the light cream and cook, stirring, until the sauce just reaches a boil. Reduce the heat to low.
  • 3. Break the cream cheese into small pieces and gradually stir into the hot chile-tomato sauce until melted and smooth. Gradually stir in the shredded cheese mixture, letting each addition melt before adding more. Stir in the lime juice, cumin, and cayenne. Taste, adding salt if needed.
  • 4. Transfer to a fondue pot, preferable ceramic or enameled cast iron. Sprinkle the cilantro and scallions over the top of the fondue and serve at once. Regulate the heat under the pot, if possible, so that the cheese fondue remains warm, not hot.
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