I didn’t know good queso until I moved to Texas. Let me tell you, I was surely missing out. It’s a big deal in the Lone Star State and Tex-Mex cuisine. Every Tex-Mex restaurant has a version of it on their menu. Serve this homemade queso with chips, on top of nachos, tacos, burritos…it will be good on almost anything in this book. You can’t go wrong with a big bowl of melty, salty cheese spiced just right.–Mandi Hickman

Easy Queso Dip FAQs

Besides tortilla chips, what can you serve with queso dip?

While queso is traditionally served with tortilla chips, we, like many of our testers and followers, like to think outside the box a bit. Use it as a sauce on burritos and enchiladas along with your regular sauce. Drizzle it on tacos. It’s a fantastic dip for sweet peppers and other veggies. It’s life-changing with homemade soft pretzels or chunks of sourdough. Pour a bit over your scrambled eggs, omelets, and hash browns. Sauté chicken breasts in a Mexican-style spice mix, and dump queso over it. Your options are limitless.

Why must I use full-fat cheese?

It’s really a texture/melding thing. The fat in the cheeses is what makes the queso so creamy and velvety. Low or no-fat cheeses do not contain the natural chemical compounds found in fat, and those are important because they facilitate melting. If you use low or no-fat cheeses, your results could be grainy, chunky, separated, and very unappetizing.

A bowl of easy queso dip with a person dipping a chip into it

Easy Queso Dip

5 / 6 votes
Serve this homemade queso with chips, on top of nachos, tacos, burritos…it will be good on almost anything in this book. You can’t go wrong with a big bowl of melty, salty cheese spiced just right.
David Leite
CuisineTex Mex
Servings6 servings | 3 cups total
Calories498 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes


For the creamy queso

  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • One (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder, or chili powder
  • Table salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound American cheese, cubed
  • 2 ounces full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

For serving

  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Jalapeño slices
  • A drizzle of hot sauce
  • Tortilla chips


Make the creamy queso

  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the onion, jalapeño, diced green chiles, cumin, chili powder, and salt, to taste.
  • Cook until the onion and jalapeño are softened, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the cubed American cheese, cream cheese, and half and half. Stir together and cook until it’s smooth and creamy, 2 to 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the shredded Cheddar cheese and mix to combine. Keep stirring the queso until the consistency becomes smooth and creamy, 2 to 4 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. (If you want a “looser” queso, you can whisk in a little more half and half or water.)

Serve the queso

  • Ladle the homemade queso into a serving bowl and top with chopped cilantro, jalapeño slices, and a drizzle of hot sauce. Serve with chips.
The Tex Mex Table Cookbook

Adapted From

The Tex-Mex Table

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 0.5 cupCalories: 498 kcalCarbohydrates: 9 gProtein: 21 gFat: 43 gSaturated Fat: 25 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 11 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 130 mgSodium: 1534 mgPotassium: 261 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 5 gVitamin A: 1453 IUVitamin C: 11 mgCalcium: 1011 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2022 Mandi Hickman. Photo © 2022 Mandi Hickman. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Thank you for this easy homemade queso dip! Just in time for the big game, I needed a dip for the party and a step above the usual. This dip was spicy and I loved the blend of flavors. I think the sauteed vegetables added a special flavor to the dip, well worth the time. 

Sautéing the spices with the onion and peppers seemed to enhance their flavor and aroma. The combination of American and Cheddar cheeses was good, although I did use a sharp white Cheddar, so the finished dip did not have a deep yellow color but tasted fine. And I was careful to heat the cheeses over low heat, so they melted and did not burn the bottom of the pot.

The queso seemed very watery at first but once in the serving bowl it thickened to the right dipping consistency. Very easy to make and not a drop left at the end of the night. Served with tortilla chips but also worked well for vegetables.

Need a quick hit for a party? Watching a game on a Sunday afternoon at home? This rich, zesty easy queso recipe is easy to make. I love how simple and fresh the ingredients are. The cumin and chipotle powder give the melted cheese a simple kick.

Homemade queso pairs well with chips, tacos, burritos, and baked beans! It can be mixed with anything or used as a simple dip. Make ahead and put the Crock-Pot on low an hour before the game and you have a perfect game-time snack!

You guys. Being able to make restaurant-style queso at home changes things. Tailgates, taco Tuesdays, and snack time will be made infinitely better now that this dip exists in my repertoire. It’s not super-duper spicy, unless you want it to be, and has the right amount of Tex-Mex flavor to please most everyone. I served this easy queso without any toppings with a bag of scoop-shaped tortilla chips right from the skillet to make rewarming easier.

The three of us polished off roughly three-quarters of it while watching that football game in February that you can’t call by name unless you are an official sponsor. Just perfect. If you do have leftovers, the melt chocolate setting on your microwave works like a charm. I highly recommend you drizzle some on tacos too.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Brie Mac and Cheese

The creamiest, cheesiest, most comforting mac and cheese you’re ever going to try. Swear.

1 hr

Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers

Everyone’s favorite spicy, creamy, cheesy, crispy finger food, conveniently made in the air fryer. Perfect for Super Bowl or any time a snack craving hits.

25 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. I do know that it wasn’t something you were drinking way back then. I’m just struck by your recall of detail from those years before you were 20, perhaps because I can’t. Do you have an explanation for that talent, gift, memory, or whatever it is?

    1. Stacks and stacks of journals, diaries, and attempted plays, short stories, and novels. They all had tons of memory jogs for me.

  2. 5 stars
    We made this tonight for Cinco de Mayo, used some for chips, and drizzled some over fresh beef chimichangas. The Man said, and I quote, “this cheese sauce is phenomenal” and did the chefs kiss.

    He’s very excited that there are plenty of leftovers for lunch tomorrow and it looks like nachos are on deck for the weekend.

    Fantastic recipe, I made it as directed and thinned it out a bit with more half and half. This is one we’ll make again and again!

    1. Thank you, Diana! We are so glad you both enjoyed it and we love the photo, helper and all!

      1. 5 stars
        I’m reading “Notes.” You’re in college then. “My sadness began outliving my mourning.” I want some of whatever you were drinking at the time that caused such mellifluous words to sprout from your amply watered and richly fertilized brain…. Your prose recipe dazzles me.