Appetizer Tex-Mex

A more natural chile con queso

natural chile con queso DSC 2582

If I share a secret with you, do you promise not to laugh? I like Velveeta. I know, I know—that stuff isn’t even a proper dairy product. Instead it’s a cheese food that can sit on the shelf (no refrigeration necessary) for years on end. But in Texas we have a special place in our hearts for Velveeta, especially when it’s melted with a can of Rotel. We call that concoction chile con queso, or just queso for short.

Chile con queso, which translates to peppers with cheese, is pronounced “kay-so.” And I admit, as trashy and processed as cheese food is, in its melted state it is good stuff—a party standard that can’t be beat. But when you go to a restaurant and order queso, you would hope for something a tad more sophisticated. And sure, many places serve something they call queso compuesto, which is a fancy way of saying “queso and other good things”—good things being a scoop of guacamole thrown into the bowl, or some beans or fajita meat also added to the dip.

Restaurant queso, however, is often still made from processed cheese. It may be a higher quality, restaurant-grade of processed cheese, but nonetheless it’s still a rectangular brick of cheese food. Don’t get me wrong, I love the stuff, and can eat buckets of it. But I was curious if it was possible to make queso with real cheese and still have it taste like its processed-cheese brethren.

Natural chile con queso, a queso recipe made without Velveeta | Homesick Texan

I decided to start my chile con queso recipe quest by doing a bit of research on the history of chile con queso. In its yellow, molten state it’s a truly Tex-Mex creation, but there is a proper Mexican counterpart also known as chile con queso that is made with white Mexican cheese. Most often found in the northern states of Chihuahua and Sonora, this version is made with fresh poblanos or Anaheim chiles that are roasted and cut into strips. These roasted chiles, also known as rajas, join tomatoes and onions in a warm sauce made from milk and Mexican cheese, such as asadero. Instead of chips, it’s served with warm tortillas.

So if Mexicans can make their chile con queso with real cheese, there’s no reason Texans can’t make it with real cheese either. I began searching for a recipe, and found one on Chow. It was called “Texas Queso Dip,” which should have been a clue: this recipe was probably not for Texans since we generally don’t qualify our food with the word “Texas.” And when I read through the method, I had little hope that it would even taste good. The problem? To make a smooth cheese sauce you should have a roux, which this recipe didn’t have. Instead, it tossed the cheese with cornstarch before melting it in milk. Despite my doubts, I went ahead and worked through the recipe as written, and indeed, it was a bust. The melted clump of cheese sat like an island in a sea of liquid. Alone, the two substances tasted fine, but queso is a velvety concoction and this was decidedly not.

I read other recipes where people would throw their shredded cheese in with some milk and peppers and microwave the mixture. Allegedly, a perfect queso would result, (I don’t have a microwave to test these recipes) but I just can’t buy it. The reason why Velveeta is so ubiquitous is because cheddar and Monterrey Jack don’t meld into a smooth sauce with ease.

Natural chile con queso, a queso recipe made without Velveeta | Homesick Texan

Enter my Tex-Mex hero Stephen Pyles. His queso recipe corroborated what I had long suspected—you need to make a béchamel sauce and then gently fold in the shredded cheese. And while his recipe as written did not state this, I had discovered through my research that the key to a smooth queso made without Velveeta is adding the shredded cheese to the béchamel slowly, a little bit at a time. This allows the cheese to melt evenly, avoiding the clumps and oiliness usually associated with real-cheese queso.

After making batch after batch of queso with real honest-to-God Longhorn cheddar and Monterrey Jack, I am overjoyed to report that yes, it tastes just as good, if not better than our classic Velveeta with Rotel. As an added bonus, it’s almost as easy. And while I never have a brick of Velveeta lying around my kitchen, I almost always have all the ingredients for real queso on hand, which after eating it almost every night this week, I still haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

This is good stuff, and you can customize it any way you wish. Say you want it to be bright orange, then just use cheddar. Want it to be extra spicy? Use super hot chiles such as Serranos. Don’t like cilantro? Then don’t include it—it’ll still taste good!

Natural chile con queso, a queso recipe made without velveeta | Homesick Texan

Now that I’m a fresh ingredient, real-cheese queso convert, will I forever shun my old friends Velveeta and Rotel? Of course not! There’s a time and place for everything, and sometimes nothing but melted processed cheese will do. I am very happy, however, that I can now make queso another way, too.

Do you ever make your queso with real cheese? How do you do it?

Would you like more Homesick Texan? Well, I’ve started offering additional recipes for paid subscribers to help with the costs of running the site. While I’m not taking anything away, if you’d like to support Homesick Texan and have access to exclusive, never-seen-before subscriber-only posts, please consider becoming a member; annual subscriptions are as low as $25. Thank you for reading, your consideration, and your support!

natural chile con queso DSC 2582
4.88 from 87 votes

Natural chile con queso

Servings 6
Author Lisa Fain


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 Serrano chiles, seeded and diced
  • 3 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 cups hand-shredded (never pre-shredded) cheese, can use any combination of Longhorn cheddar and Monterrey Jack (see note)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 plum tomatoes, peeled and diced (about 1 cup, can use canned if tomatoes aren’t in season)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat, and then cook the onions and peppers for about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

  2. Whisk the flour into the butter and vegetable mix then cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the milk to the pot, and then cook on medium, whisking constantly until sauce is thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and tomatoes.
  4. Turn the heat down to low, and a 1/4-cup at a time, slowly add the shredded cheese stirring into the white sauce until completely melted. Repeat until all the cheese has been added. Note it’s important that you shred the cheese yourself as pre-shredded has fillers that will prevent the sauce from being smooth.
  5. Stir in the sour cream and cumin, then add salt to taste.

Recipe Notes

You can vary which chiles you use to control how hot you want the queso to be. Also, if the sauce is too thick, feel free to add a bit more milk a tablespoon at a time. The key, however, to a smooth sauce is adding the cheese very slowly and not adding any more cheese until the previous addition is completely integrated into the sauce. Lastly, it’s very important to shred your own cheese as pre-shredded has fillers to prevent it from clumping that will also interfere with the queso dip becoming smooth.

  1. I’m trying to decide if this could be a funky sauce for mac and cheese…

  2. Lisa Fain

    Mrs. M–I think it would make a wonderful sauce for mac and cheese!

  3. I heart queso. So awesome that you figured out a way to do it. You think I can try it with lactose-free milk? It’s real milk but without lactose. C is so allergic to dairy, but can deal with cheese (and lactaid pills) but real milk just kills him.

  4. some chick

    OMG – I can’t believe you were able to bypass Velveeta successfully! I lived in Boston for a while and wanted to make cheese dip, and the only brick of Velveeta I could find was the little half one, and it cost about seven bucks!

    I live in San Francisco now and my friends are usually horrified when I tell them what cheese dip is made out of where I come from. Man, you just can’t get good barbeque in this town…

  5. Lisa Fain

    Radish–I think it would work, and if he can’t eat butter, you can use canola oil for the roux instead.

    Some Chick–That was partly my inspiration–both the big bricks of Velveeta and Rotel are so difficult to find here in NYC that I figured it would be better just to make it from scratch.

  6. Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy

    The best care package I’ve received living in Italy had two cans of Rotel and Velveeta and a bag of (crushed) chips. Heaven from my college days.

    I would give an arm and a leg for Velveeta, Rotel or real cheddar or monterey jack! Be still my heart.

    Wonderful – I hope to get some contraband ingredients soon and attempt this!

  7. C’mon! I thought REAL queso came out of a squirt jar, just like at the ball park! :o)

  8. I always add Owens hot sausage to my velveeta/rotel mixture. It’s so bad for you but you can’t stop eating it.

  9. StickyGooeyCreamyChewy

    I must confess, I’m a Velveeta and Rotel girl too. But, there’s always room for another great queso recipe, and this is it! Looks delicious!

  10. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Darn… I was all set to confess that I love Velveeta — not all the time, but sometimes nothing else will do — and now you’re telling me I didn’t need to confess that at all, that I could make queso without it? Darn.

  11. Just a Plane Ride Away

    Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my expat heart. I have yet to find Velveeta OR Rotel in England and consequently have gone a whole year without a bowl of queso. Too long, I know!

  12. I haven’t had any success with queso using real cheese (large lumpy mess) but I’ll have to give this a whirl at some point.

    I’ve long been a Velveeta & Rotel girl, too. 🙂

  13. Who we are...

    I could hug you.

    I’ve been looking to find something that was REAL food, not “processed cheese food”, which I COULD buy here, and have, but it’s not exactly what I’d prefer to eat.

    Thank you from the bottom of our Texan hearts (living in Germany)!

  14. I don’t know from Velveeta and Rotel, I guess because I don’t come from Texas, but these pictures look delicious. I can’t wait to try this.

  15. Lisa Fain

    Sara–There’s no cheddar in Italy? That’s a shame, especially since it’s from England. I bet you could experiment with Muenster or Gruyere or even Mozzarella to an interesting effect. Good luck!

    Frank–That’s the other “real” queso.

    Allison–Yum! Breakfast sausage is excellent in queso! And yes, it’s addictive stuff–there’s never leftovers with queso.

    StickyGoeeyCreamyChewy–Yep, this doesn’t replace our beloved Velveeta and Rotel, but it’s a decent approximation, especially when you can’t find the two.

    Lydia–Nope, no confession necessary.

    Just a Plane Ride Away–You poor thing! You need to go make some queso as soon as you can!

    Cindy–Surprisingly it works!

    Who we are–Here’s a big hug back at ya! Enjoy!

    Julie–You and your Tex-Mex loving husband will definitely enjoy it!

  16. Rev. Biggles

    Yeah I was going to say, that’s how I make macky cheese. Then top with butter browned panko bread crumbs.

    Want to stop by and mention to not buy the pre-shredded cheese. They had an anti-clumping agent, makes melting all funky. Plus the texture if funky in your mowf.


  17. I won’t lie, I am a Tostito’s Salsa con queso ADDICT! I could it by the jarfuls, and sometimes after a late night out, it is the only that can satisfy my groups munchies. But the artifical ingredients worry me so this would be an even better, all-natural substitute. Can’t wait to try it out 🙂

  18. I’ve lived in Texas my whole life and never understood the love of Velveeta. My mom taught me when I was little that it was Kraft American processed cheese or nothing. Evidently my family was the only one that felt that way because now when I go into HEB or Kroger there is a wall of Velveeta and maybe 2 tiny bricks of my beloved Kraft American.
    As much as I love Stephen Pyles I’ve never been able to get his queso to a decent consistency. I can’t wait to try your version.

  19. Lisa – sssshhhh! but I like Velveeta too and found my liking to it when I was little and living in Houston LOL! Now I have to get to this lovely version though. It sounds and looks delish.

  20. well HOT DAMN!

    After 23 years in Austin (4 of which were spent slinging queso at Kerbey Lane), my two-year hunt for queso in NYC looks to have finally come to an end. We did manage to find the Rotel, but we’ve tried every recipe on the internets to no avail (in fact, it looks like we tried the same recipes) – and don’t get me started on restaurant-made pretenders to the throne.

    I was here not two weeks ago, searching and saying to myself “BAH! She uses Velveeta! perhaps I’ll capitulate and do velveeta + Jack.” But it would have been a sad compromise, given my cheese pedigree. Then, like you, but in an uncool borough, I had a eureka moment over a pot of homemade Mac & Cheese. ROUX! It’s tex-mex for dinner tonight!

  21. You should not be ashamed you admit to liking Velveeta.

    How many million cheesesteaks are adorned with Cheez Whiz, Velveeta’s close cousin ?

    I was in Hong Kong last year and a friend took me to grocery store where many items were stocked specially for American ex-pats. I think it may have been called the American Canteen. I chatted with one of the managers and asked her what was most popular. She flat out said, ” why Velveeta cheese and Chef Boyardee Beefaroni”.

    Tells you something uh ?

  22. Hi,
    I’m from El Paso, TX living in Hawaii. This is exactly how we make it back home! We always make a roux however we still add a little Velveeta along w/ the other types of cheese. I’ve even added a little cream cheese. I LOVE your blog! Thanks for reminding me of home!

  23. Mevrouw Cupcake

    I nearly licked the screen when I saw the first picture! Now I’ve got even more items to add to my birthday care package from Kansas, cause you know I can’t get monterey jack nor rotel here. Sigh….

  24. Rosa's Yummy Yums

    Thanks for the interesting post!

    Your Chile Con Queso looks fabulous! It seems like the perfect recipe! I will soon test it with either Cheddar or Gruyère cheese (or a combination of both)…



  25. Lisa Fain

    Rev. Biggles: Ewwwwww, I had no idea they did that to pre-shredded cheese.

    Amanda–I hear you, sometimes the bad stuff can be so good! But this is also good, too.

    Sharon–You’re right, I don’t think I’ve even seen Kraft American in brick form–just the singles. Good luck with the recipe!

    Meeta–It’ll be our little secret! And hope you enjoy the dish!

    Farah–Yep, it’s all about the roux. And every borough is cool in New York City!

    Tommy–I have friends who were in the service in Japan, and it was the same thing–all Velveeta, all the time. And now I’m hungry for a cheesesteak!

    Andrea–Mmmm, I can’t wait to try it with cream cheese!

    Mevrouw Cupcake–I can understand the lack of Rotel, but no Monterrey Jack either? I feel for you!

    Rosa–The Gruyere is particularly untraditional, but I love it! Enjoy!

  26. Grandma Rosie

    Hello fellow Texan. We are having a glorius spring, thr Bluebonnets are blooming. Wish you were here!

  27. I live in the Napa Valley, and when I asked where Velveeta was at the local grocery, they didn’t even know what it was! We had a Queso cook-off last year, and the fancy chefs who tried to make the queso with real cheese totally bombed! I’m going to try this one side by side with the Velveeta version this week at our Bocce game and see what people think. Thanks!

  28. This looks delicious. I was wondering about the 6 cups of shredded cheese though…how much chile con queso does this make exactly? Looks like enough for a superbowl party or a frat house beerathon:). Seriously though, there are only two of us and I know for sure that it would be a dangerous and bad thing to have that much chile con queso around (wouldn’t be around for long I’m sure)

    It looks great!

  29. Wonderful! I can’t wait to try it. We just had to make a mad dash to Chuy’s in Austin and grab some Queso because I couldn’t wait to go get all the ingredients. Keep up the great work, Texas misses you.

  30. Mmm, I love and miss queso, and velveeta for that matter. I used to love to bung a bit in the micro with a couple of dollops of homemade salsa, for a quick junkfood lunch!

    I’d love to try this recipe one day. I hope you never close this blog so that I can come by and search for recipes, one day when I have a (my own) bigger kitchen!

  31. Haha! I’ve just remembered something. When I stayed with my cousin in Dallas last March she knew I missed queso, so she made me a big bowl of it and put it in the fridge, and bought me a big bag of tortilla chips, so I could have a naughty snack whenever I wanted to 🙂

  32. kathrynbircher

    I just ran across this blog and LOVE it!! I’m a homesick Texan up the highway from you in CT. I can’t wait to try this Queso, I love velveeta too, but it’s just so bad for you!! Thanks!

  33. Guinnevere

    i’ve done mine this way since i saw rachel ray do it on the teevee. only i use pepper jack cheese and throw in a LOT of diced fresh tomatoes. i might need this for dinner tonight!

  34. snappingtwig

    thanks for recipe, I never could seem to get this right..
    I will give it a try!

  35. Where do you get longhorn cheese in Manhattan?

  36. Lisa Fain

    Grandma Rosie–I wish I were there, too! I love bluebonnets!

    Natalie–That’s too funny! And yep, most people seem to prefer Velveeta queso to the real thing.

    Jarod–Thanks for the link! And how I miss Chuy’s queso–some of the BEST!

    Lyra–I’d say it makes a potful, which isn’t very scientific, but if you’re worried about making too much just cut the recipe in half. (Though it does keep well in the fridge for a couple of days should you have leftovers.)

    Oliva–You have a very loving and cool cousin! And don’t worry, this blog isn’t going anywhere so you’ll be able to cook to your heart’s desire once you have your own kitchen

    Kathrynbircher–Howdy! Enjoy!

    Guinnevere–Pepper Jack would make an awesome queso!

    Snappintwig–Good luck and I hope it works for you!

    Dee–They sell it at my local Gristede’s.

  37. Anonymous

    HST, you are da bomb! I still can’t believe you put on a crawfish boil in you NYC appt. I live in Louisiana for a while, so I know how much fun, how tasty, and how much work that is.

    Anyway, 9 times out of 10, chile con queso is a Velveeta+Rotel affair made in the microwave. We’ve found the microwave better than the stove-top because 1) you can quickly reheat it if needed and 2) there is no wastage.

    When I’m looking for something closer to home (I grew up on the border, hence more Mex-than-Tex), I make it similarly to what you described above with oven-roasted poblanos, small amounts of oven-roasted tomato, onion and garlic and a little oven-roasted jalepeño for kick.

    Choices of cheese at my DC-area Costco are limited to Queso Fresco and Queso Blanco, so I go with the white one.

    It’s pretty good. But oth, we almost always have Velveeta and Rotel around, so when someone drops in unexpectedly…

    – Lee


    This is how I make queso, as well as mac and cheese. I have to laugh because (my mother’s fault) I never even knew you could GET mac and cheese out of a box or about Velveeta, until college. I was stunned. My mother is no food-snob–just a purist, but even she uses the Velveeta/Rotel dip combo for “those times.”
    I could rhapsodize on Rotel!
    What’s fantastic? The from-scratch, bechamel-based mac and cheese, just-made, in a BIG bowl, with Rotel spooned over the mound.
    Straight from the can!

  39. Thanks for this post, I just made it and it was really good. I also had the big block of Velv. on the counter for the kids’ mac. and added a little b/c didn’t have enough cheddar.
    Try this… it’s not Queso but close. This is from Texas Home Cooking by the Jamisons:
    “While-You Wait Cheese”
    8″ cast iron skillet
    12 oz block medium cheddar or mont. jack
    2 t cajun seasoning
    1 fresh jalapeno thinly sliced
    Line the bottom of the pan with the jalapenos, then the block of cheese, then the seasoning.
    Put on your grill (I’m assuming you do not have a smoker in NYC and if no grill then in the oven about 350)
    When cheese is melted it’s done.
    Serve w/chips.
    I made this late last summer and guests loved it. It’s named “While You Wait” b/c you eat it while you wait for the BBQ to cook.
    p.s.Do you have Sam’s club up there, maybe out in NJ? They sell Velv. in a 2 pack of big ones. And Rotel by the case. Just tryin’ to help!

  40. I totally get you when it comes to Velveeta.

    I grew up on it. I was raised eating it, warm and gooey and mixed with rotel. Family members rave about it.

    I decided at our super bowl party last year that Velveeta was a little scary because, well, it creates bubbles (like soap does) when it comes in contact with water. What kind of freak concoction is that? No cheese should foam. Whoa.

    Thank you for your more natural approach. In short you are my hero. A Texas girl has got to have her queso.

  41. JustKelly

    Wow I can’t wait to try this recipe! I too have been a die hard Velveeta and Rotel girl….fortunately it is available here in ol Pennsylvania!

  42. eleonora

    Good morning…very, very good…sublimmmmmm…

  43. Mamacita

    I decided the reason I dropped two dress sizes when I moved to Connecticut was because of the lack of queso. You have undone my weight loss! lol. I made this today and it was the best queso since moving. Thank you!

  44. just stumbled onto your blog, don’t know how I did it but you are now on my fav. list and will read daily,,,,,and will try the catfish and hush puppies tonight

  45. omg! yum!!! i’m totally going to make this for the next potluck. ooh.

  46. Yeah, I love my cousins. THey sort of make up for all the siblings I don’t have *goes teary eyed and not because of the chiles*

  47. Homesick Texan….I came across your blog and love the name!!…Im a Texan, as well…I was out of Texas for three long years and your title brought my back to those days that I was so sad and lost…I love Texas so much….I came across a recipe that was similar in a magazine last week when I was at a Drs. office…I kept the magazine(heehee) because Id never made queso that way….Im a Veleeta girl…I will try your recipe….I was garage saling this last weekend and I found a really neat wood box the was made in Texas…and on the top it said…”You might give some serious thought to thanking your lucky stars you’re in Texas”….I loved it!!! I’ll be back to check in…Meme…

  48. by the way –
    I tried this recipe the very day you posted it. All I can say is that we might end up staying in New York now after all.

    There was even some left over, which we had over potato and egg breakfast tacos the next morning.


  49. Lisa Fain

    Lee–Mmm..I love that you oven-roast the peppers beforehand, I’ll have to try that!

    Hoarfrost–Who couldn’t rhapsodize on Rotel? And your mom sounds like my mom–not a snob but definitely a purist.

    Lara–Glad you enjoyed it! And I’ll have to try the Jamisons’ version. And I’m sure there are Sam’s Clubs around here, but sadly, I don’t have a car. Sigh.

    Janna-Ewww, I had no idea that Velveeta foamed when it came into contact with water. That’s a bit scary!



    Mamacita–That’s so true, I also dropped two sized when I moved away from Texas!

    Nanny–Thanks and hope you like the catfish and hush puppies–this is the season for them!

    Renee–It’s perfect for a potluck! Just make sure you have a way to keep it warm.

    Olivia–Awwwwww…Are you an only child?

    Meme–What a cool box! (I love the term “garage sailing” by the way.) And hope you enjoy the queso!

    Farah–Excellent, glad the recipe worked for y’all. Though I’m shocked there was any left over, though y’all put it to a very good use!

  50. I was wondering why Velveeta costs so much. Where I shop, the 1 lb package is $ 7.00.

    Could it be that they might using real cheddar cheese to make Velveeta ?

    One last thing .The Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese is pretty tasty as well. Much better than those powdered mixes.

    Didn’t Kraft Foods start as a dairy ?

  51. Great post, Lisa – Just wanted to let you know that it is featured on BlogHer today! ~ AK

  52. Plum Texan

    Hello! I just found you this evening and have been enjoying my quick dig around older posts. This is absolutely spectacular, as I’m rather a queso fiend (no shame in Velveeta and Ro-Tel!), but the purist in me has long wondered how to do this very thing.

    Thank you! I adore your site and will be here regularly. Texas misses you too!

  53. Terry (aka) Big Daddy

    That looks awesome, I’ll have to try it.


  54. Try the rotel and velveeta kind with a half pound of spicy Jimmy Dean sausage. Yum!

    The real kind looks interesting, but I like being able to make queso in 4 minutes in the microwave,

  55. How gorgeous your queso is! I only wish I had some in front of me right this moment. I had also tried, years ago, to make it with real cheese and had failed miserably, so I was convinced you had to use the Velveeta only. I’m going to have to try your method here. So scrumptious looking!

  56. You are my hero! I miss my Maudie’s Diablo Sol Food from Austin, but I’m def going to try this delicious-sounding concoction. Thank you!

  57. Yep. *sigh*
    It took a long time for me to accept that another child would be impossible for my parents, and I’m glad I got to be best buddies with my paretns, but if a couple I know have a choice I encourage them to have more than one.

  58. I have been lurking around your site for awhile. I am a transplant to Austin from Illinois.

    I LOVE velveeta. But this receipe looks mighty good!

  59. I’ve just gotten back from Texas — where I ate my weight in queso and chips and tortillas. I always feel COMPELLED to eat as much as possible — to equip myself, obviously, for the long periods of deprivation.

    I look forward to trying your recipe, and seeing if queso can become a more regular, and thus moderate, part of my eating life.

    On a different but related topic: Tonight I am going to make a new Chicken Tortilla soup recipe. I am on a perpetual quest for the perfect recipe. I don’t know if you take requests, but I would be eager to read your “take” on this Texan favorite.

  60. Anonymous

    I love your site! I have tagged you for a six word memoir. If you want to participate check out my blog for details. Pam

  61. No judgements here, though I’ve never tried it myself 🙂

  62. I’ve made queso both ways and I still usually go back to the velveeta recipe. Who cares if it’s not proper cheese…queso and chips isn’t exactly good for you anyway.

    My favorite queso recipe consists of velveeta, salsa instead of rotel, a little milk, a can of chicken broth, and some chopped up sausage from Lockhart (like it better than Elgin sausage). The broth thins out the velveeta, adds some flavor, and keeps the queso from congealing too much.

  63. You and I and Robb Walsh should start a Velveeta Fan Club. The stuff is wonderful, I don’t care if it IS processed cheese food. And your queso recipe is almost identical to mine; I just add a can of chili — yum!

  64. There is a better way to do this…just add chicken broth to the pepper mixture and slowly add american and chihuahua cheese as well as milk. Matt Martinez uses a method similar and I can attest that it tastes just like many of those small Texas restaurants that serve the white sauce chile con queso. I live in NY and have been serving this for my Texas ex pats here and it’s the real deal.


  65. sarabean

    It seems you have Quite the following but then again I know there are tons of us lonely stray Texans wandering the globe looking for a bit of home. I am SO happy I found your blog. I grew up in the TX Hill Country and now I live in the Boston metro area. After a few months here I realized I would just have to cook from scratch anything I missed from home. Thanks for sharing your searches & experiments!

  66. deceiverofmen

    We used cream cheese at whole foods. Cream Cheese, sour cream, and jack or cheddar. You add the tomatoes after the cheese is all melted. Its much cheesier and nicer than flour.

    The “thank your lucky stars…” box mentioned above is the box Goode Company ships its pecan pies in. I love that box.

  67. I cannot express the depth of my gratitude for this recipe!!! I’m also a transplant, living in Bergen County, NJ. The lack of Tex-Mex in the area has nearly killed me, and I have always been a little scared of Velveeta (that stuff takes stains off of aluminum pans….frightening!). I especially miss Chuy’s queso, having spent my college years in Austin. Thank you so much for this lifesaver!!

  68. I’m new to your blog too and so happy to find you! Born in Iraan, Texas and now living in Princeton, NJ (millions of worlds apart!). Can’t wait to try your “real” Chile Con Queso. I grew up on the Velveeta/Rotel mixture too — we used to huddle around the double boiler on Saturday afternoons, feverishly dipping in with Fritos while a football or baseball game played on the tube. Later when my father was transferred to the midwest we would come home from vacations with cases of Rotel (Wolf Brand chili too — for making chili dogs). Anyway, so glad I found you. I hope to make Lara’s “While you Wait Cheese” too now that it’s grilling weather. Cheers to all ex-pat Texans!

  69. O.K.- I have “the secret” to getting your regular shredded (by hand, no doubt, or processor- not the pre-shredded stuff). A waiter at a smart restaurant in San Antonio secretly slipped me the recipe to simply the most divine Queso… hand written on a cocktail napkin- it calls for various shredded cheeses including cheddar, monterrey jack, asiago- along with brunoise poblano peppers, red peppers, shallots and red onion- but the melty quality comes into play when you stir into the warm cheese in a double boiler- cream cheese- yep- not too much or it gets really thin and doesn’t have that glossy “processed cheese” oozey character, but at just the right amount- it de-glops (for lack of a better term) the real cheese- smooths it out- I have not delved into why this phenomenon occurs, however, trust me- try it and you’ll see. It works. If you like a thinner queso- my advice is to add a bit of heavy cream after the cream cheese goes in. Play around with this one. try a tbs at a time until it is smooth cheesey heaven.

  70. Culinary Cowgirl

    Thank you! My husband loves the old Rotel & Velveeta dip…but this may change his mind 🙂

  71. (You’re right about the Mexican counterpart for queso. I sampled some in Monterrey last summer. Creamy and delicious in its own right, but not anything like the queso you can melt up with Velveeta!)

    This post thrills the boots off me! Being an East Texas gal, I buy (and unashamedly serve) my share of Velveeta. Will definitely give this a try (but might wait until I can sneak fresh tomatoes and jalapenos from the garden…)

    Thanks for taking the time to write this blog. I look forward to the variety and authenticity of each post!

  72. Tempered Woman

    Oh, I’m such a terrible Rotel and Velveeta junkie. My grandma made it all the time and would sometimes throw in browned chorizo or her refried beans. It sounds weird but refried beans take it up a whole nother addictive level.
    Thanks for elevating queso, I can’t wait to try this out.

  73. Lisa Fain

    Alanna–Why thank you, my dear!

    Tommy–It costs a lot here as well. All those chemicals are expensive! And I don’t know if it started as a dairy, but that would make sense.

    Plum Texan–Welcome! And I agree, there’s no shame in Velveeta, but it is nice to be able to make queso with real cheese!

    Big Daddy–Enjoy!

    The Mom–Mmmmm, I love sausage in my queso!

    Lisa–I failed for years, too, but this recipe works. Enjoy!

    Sarah–You’re very welcome!

    Olivia–I know what you mean.


    Bee–I kind of missed the boat on soup season for a few months, but I have a couple (including tortilla soup) that I plan to write about.

    Pam–Cool! Thanks! I’m pretty awful about doing memes, but I always have the best intentions!

    Cynthia–You’re a Velveeta virgin!

    Callie–I’ve never heard of adding chicken broth to queso–I’ll have to try that! And believe it or not, I can get Lockhart sausage here (from Kreuz) at my local barbecue place.

    She Easts–Wolf brand, I hope?

    Jason–Interesting, if I can get my hands on some chihuahua cheese I’ll have to try that.

    Sarabean–Welcome! And yep, that’s my story too–if I wanted to eat what I missed, I realized I’d have to cook it myself. Have you been to Jake’s Boss Barbecue? I haven’t, but I understand the owner is from Houston.

    Deceiver of Men–I’ll have to try it with just cream cheese. And it looks like I need to receive a Goode Co. care package because I want that box!

    PrtyBrd–What? I had no idea you could also use Velveeta as a cleaner–that IS frightening!

    DivaDog–Welcome! We did the same thing, though I think more often it was crockpot than a double boiler. And yep, I always return from Texas with tons of food. It makes my suitcase heavy but it’s well worth it.

    Leslie–That’s two votes for cream cheese so I’m definitely making it tonight. Plus shallots are in season so this sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing!

    Culinary Cowgirl–They’re both delicious!

    Brin–Thanks for reading! I’ve never been to Monterrey, but I’m eager to go now just to try Mexican queso. And I have my first-ever jalapeno and tomato plants this year (on my fire escape) so fingers crossed they survive and I can also make queso with stuff from my “garden.”

    Tempered Woman–Nope, refried beans doesn’t sound weird at all–I’ve been known to do it myself. Plus, with all that extra protein, I can convince myself I’m eating a healthy meal.

  74. You are officially brilliant for this one. I am so impressed.

    And I hope you read the comment thread on that Chow recipe — all sorts of Texans, myself included, crying out in horror! 🙂

  75. Anonymous

    I’m from Texas too and I have to say, Velveeta makes it best. Something about the colby, Swiss and Cheddar, blended all together.

  76. Your recipe is yummy…we latinos say ke-so non latinos say kay-so either way it’s yum yum.

    an artist who loves to cook

  77. Oh, my, this is just the inspiration I needed. I, too, am a homesick Texan. And vegan.

  78. kak kak

    sometimes you never know how much you truly love something until it’s no longer there…when i finally found a grocery store in portland that carried rotel i nearly started crying…i had to call my mom back in texas and tell her that she could lighten the care package load

  79. i’m an Austin expat in southern california and I can’t find decent queso for the life of me! Your recipe sounds perfect for Magnolia’s Mag Mud and probably even the Kerbey Queso…you rock!

  80. Casasailer

    I heart queso. I am a Texan living in Chicago. My absolutely favorite queso is from Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in Fort Worth.

    Amazing. I think they put crack in it because I crave it and almost plan trips back to TCU so that I can have it.

  81. aaaaahhhh! you rock! I live in asia where velveeta is nonexistent, and this is a lovely – LOVELY – solution. Thanks! I can’t wait to try it!

  82. alright – i just tried this recipe, and it is so good! i followed the recipe fairly closely, but i added ranchero cheese (mexican cheese that is crumbly and white) and cumin. the cumin added phenomenal flavor.

    we served this alongside tamales and i tried it over the top of mine – so good!

    i’ll try adding cream cheese next (as a few people have mentioned), but this recipe really works for getting a creamy, cheesy chili con queso.


  83. Just wanted to chime in from Land-locked Oklahoma and definitely surrounded by critical “queso” experts! This was awesome! It was completely gone — eaten — scarfed within 30 minutes of my arrival to my family’s home. Oh my God!! This is terribly delicious — and so worth the time consuming preparation. (did I say I liked it?)

  84. Anonymous

    I just came across thi recipe while searching for one for a party I’m having – any thoughts on keeping it warm in a crock pot? Will the “real” cheese eventually separate, or will it stay together if kept warm…

  85. Lisa Fain

    Anon–If you stir it occasionally, it should stay together.

  86. Anonymous

    One poster above (deceiverofmen) mentioned the WholeFoods Queso dip – it’s my favorite! My local Whole Foods (in PA) has not carried this item during the past few visits. Does anyone have the recipe?

  87. Anonymous

    I have just made this recipe with Edam cheese and cheddar mixed as Monterey Jack isn’t widely available in Ireland. I added a half teaspoon of toban djan (chilli paste from an oriental supermarket) since I couldn’t get serrano peppers either and it gave the necessary kick.

    Thank you, thank you – now can I please have a sopapillas recipe? I’m making mine with choux pastry and they’re OK but am sure yours are better.

    From a homesick non-Tex/Mex Irish American family in the Sperrin Mountains :0)

  88. Catherine

    Wow! Love the queso recipe and your blog. I’ve linked this recipe to a blog post I did on the chile con queso we had each Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve in El Paso, Texas. Am a homesick Texan too in North Carolina. Your blog is outstanding.

  89. Thank you for this recipe. We live in London…yes, England…and are having mates over for a NCAA National Championship party. Needless to say, there is NO processed cheese here. Come on! It’s the home of Cheddar Cheese. But how can you have a football party without queso? Can you hear the Texan in my voice? I’ll be trying out your queso recipe. If I get around to it, I’ll drop a note to let you know how it goes over.



  90. Lisa…so, we tried your queso recipe and had a few quirks. First, is there any way to reheat it? We needed to prepare the queso early but we have a gas stove and the cheese was getting thicker and thicker as I left it on the stove. So i decided to turn the burner off and reheat it when ready. Well, it completely separated and I couldn’t get it to recombine. I tried reheating it over a double boiler but no luck. Any thoughts?

    Second, living in England, we can’t get Longhorn cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese. We actually get a MUCH better cheddar cheese since this IS the home of cheddar (but that’s beside the point). The queso was really good (before it separated) but it didn’t really taste anything like Texas queso. Any suggestions on another type of cheese that we could try?


  91. Steve & George UK

    Hi, tried to make this recipe with a mix of montery jack/cheddar mix. We found that the cheddar melted fine but the Montery jack started solidifying straight after removing it from heat. What are we doing wrong???

    2 English Queso fans

  92. Lisa Fain

    Hmmm…I’ll make a batch this weekend and experiment and get back to y’all.

  93. Steve and George,

    If you read this, where did you get Monterrey Jack in the UK? I live in London and have not been able to find any.

  94. Behold–a legendary recipe from the 1940s:


    1 small onion, chopped

    1/2 cup chopped tomato (canned or fresh)

    4 tablespoons paprika

    3/4 cup corn oil

    1/2 cup flour

    1 cup water

    1 pound grated American cheese

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Red pepper to taste (1/2 to 1 teaspoon recommended)

    Sauté onion, tomato and paprika in oil until onion is transparent.

    Stir flour and water together to make a paste, then add to
    onion/tomato mixture to thicken. (The heat should be very low
    at this point.)

    Add grated cheese and salt. Start adding red pepper to taste. Remember it will become hotter overnight, so don’t overdo the pepper.

    Serve as a dip with chips, or spread on chips and broil until bubbly.

  95. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    I’m still based in Texas (Houston boy living in Austin), and I’ve been looking for a good queso recipe for a while. A non-Texan had previously commented to me that I probably needed flour and a roux to make a cheese sauce, but putting flour in the cheese just seemed strange to me. However, I got a fondue pot for Christmas, and after making several good batches of fondue (complete with flour), my interest in finding a good real-cheese queso recipe has once again been piqued, and I’m less weirded out by the thought of putting flour in the cheese.

    One thing that I loved to do when growing up and eating at Ninfa’s, my favorite restaurant, was to mix queso with their green sauce, and eat it with their divine homemade flour tortilla chips (flaky, crunchy, and chewy all at the same time). And your recipe for their green sauce is pretty spot on (I find that 1.5 cups of sour cream is a bit too much, but other than that, it’s perfect with either yellow or green tomatoes). I need to try this recipe, in conjunction with the Ninfa’s green sauce recipe, and have a go at frying up some flour tortillas into chips for the Super Bowl.

  96. Anonymous

    transplant texan here from ohio, and I have to say that in ohio we used velveeta to make everything from mac & cheese, party pizzas and queso as well. The only difference is our queso is called cheese dip…And we added half sausage & half ground beef.

  97. Anonymous

    G’day from Australia, I’m hosting a Mexican Fiesta on my wedding anniversary 14th Feb 09. I can’t wait to try this queso out, I have tried others in the past and failed, failed, failed…. I will make sure I post back with my guests thoughts.

    Cheers Robski (Rob) Adelaide South Australia

  98. Anonymous

    Man, this could be a real life saver. I spent the first 38 years of my life in Texas. Three years ago we moved to Honduras to run an orphanage. We used to put away a block of Velveeta every other weekend when I was a teenager. Now, Velveeta cannot be found. Just wait until our little Honduran children try chile con queso. We can buy Colby cheese at the supermercado here. Now if they’d only sell a decent tortilla chip in this country!

    Mark in Honduras

  99. Anonymous

    I am from New Mexico (now live in Oregon) and we use velveeta, and roasted green chiles (diced with garlic) , oh so good.
    No tomatoes or anything else. I do sometimes add chicken chorizo. That makes it really good.
    I like your recipe, but I need to try it Gluten free, so I am going to try it with cream cheese or rice flour, or cornstarch – not sure which one yet. But it does look good.
    I am going to try it for my husband –
    Portland OR

  100. I made this for the Suerbowl and it was very tasty. VERY TASTY!! Only one tiny problem … I think I overcooked the roux because the resulting queso was a tad thick. Next time I will wait until it just thickens, then add the cheese.

    I am so glad to have found this recipe!! Thank you for sharing!!

  101. Cass in NYC

    I love this post for two reasons.
    1. I'm the classic queso maker with velveeta & rotel… and
    2. I can't find a mexican restaurant I like in NYC.. I'm from the Midwest.

  102. Saraswati_9

    thank you thank you thank you 😀
    i miss queso from college sooo much, now that i’ve moved back to Indonesia, its hard to find good texmex… 🙂

  103. Wow!! that seems to be a great recipe.I love Chile Con Queso. I will definitely bake a batch this weekend.I’m sure it’ll be a big hit with my family.

  104. E.F. Aberg

    I’ve checked your site to see if you’ve got a guacamole recipe, and haven’t found on yet. Allow me to suggest this, which goes amazingly swell with your queso, which I’ve made a lot of since my time in New Zealand.

    A creamy hoss avocado
    Two green onions or or one leek, diced
    a diced tomato or five chopped cherry tomatoes
    a diced, decided red chile or jalepeno
    2 diced cloves of garlic
    juice on 1/2 lime
    salt and pepper to taste

    Cream all of these together with a fork. I like this recipe because I almost always have these things in the house, except for the avocado. Of course, you can also cream and avocado with 1/2 a cup of Paces. That works pretty nicely in a pinch.

  105. DELICIOUS!!! I made your recipe and brought it to a fajita night at the neighbors, and they RAVED over it. I believe those without access to rotel and velveeta will RAVE, too.

  106. Casasailer – I LOOOVVEE Fuzzy's Taco Shop queso and their delicious food!

    This queso looks divine! I can't wait to try this recipe. Do you think adding the breakfast sausage to this would be good? Or could it be good with a scoop of taco meat and guacamole?

  107. Anonymous

    Thank you. I am so excited to try this version. Living in Los Angeles, I long for some hometown Houston queso. I love the idea of real cheese.

    If you ever want to try a white queso, the Land-O-Lakes processed white american cheese sold at the deli counter of Walmart superstores melts just like Velveeta. Most tex-mex restaurants in Houston purportedly use Land-O-Lakes Extra Melt White American Cheese in their queso, a cheese similar to the one found in Walmart. The Extra Melt version is only sold by restaurant suppliers to restaurant owners, however.

  108. I moved to NYC from Austin three months ago and a week (maybe even a day) doesn't go by without me missing Tex Mex. Through a search looking for queso in NYC I found your site. I cannot wait to see what else your blog has!

  109. allisonmariecat

    Thank you so much for posting this! I can't stand processed cheese, and made your recipe tonight…divine. I used chihuahua, my favorite melting cheese. So easy and delicious!

  110. Anonymous

    I made this recipe with a great result! I've lived in London for the past 6 years (via Hawaii) and my only complaint about London is there are no decent Mexican restaurants! And definitely no Velveeta (I miss so much…)!

    I used only Monterey Jack and it was lovely although I may have been a bit hasty in melting the cheese initially. I regained patience-it has been 6 years-and took my time to finish the dip. My craving was fulfilled and my very English husband loved it too.

    Thank you for the recipe!
    x Diane

  111. Fantastic recipe! I changed a few things up though. Roasted the serranos to bring out their flavor, used crema agria (Mexican sour cream, I don't know that it's appreciably different, but it was on sale), subbed half the butter with bacon grease, and heavy whipping cream instead of milk. I also had to add cumin, chili powder, orange pepper (I found it at a mexican food tienda) to give it the taste I was looking for. And to who mentioned not to used pre-shredded cheese, I used Kraft natural cheese mexican style 4 cheese (which does have calcium sulfate, which I think is the anti-clumping ingredient mentioned) and I had no problems. Thank you, love the blog. Good Tex-Mex is impossible to find in Portland.

  112. Anonymous

    I was weaned on Velveeta. My mom made gooey grilled cheeses and her homemade pimiento cheese (more like a warm spread) with it. I remember the first time I tasted real cheddar cheese. I was like WTFITS??

  113. furniture chick

    thanks so much for the time you putting to crafting your queso recipe……… is what all no-velveetaquesolovers have been waiting for….were you able to decide the best way to keep it warm? furniture chick

  114. Jacqui.V

    A-MAZ-ING!!! I'm in the UK for the holidays and made this for some nachos and tacos for my future in-laws and they loved it!! First time making the recipe and it came out PERFECT! Well done!

  115. Michelle

    Yum! Now I'm craving some queso!

  116. Graygrrrl

    I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard reading a recipe! This entry reminded me of my recent search for new guacamole recipes online- long story short, none of them featured chili's and they all called for "taco sauce". Ew!
    I look forward to reading more gret recipes!

  117. Texan in UAE

    Rotel & Velveeta, we have. Yay! I think I'll have a Tex-Mex feast for my friends and I.

  118. Anonymous

    I too grew up on velveeta with rotel queso – it was my grandmother's standard christmas gifts to friends & neighbors (LOL!). But my DH won't eat velveeta or American cheese, so this might be the perfect solution when I have a queso craving.

  119. Anonymous

    uh 3 jalapeños seems like quite a lot for 4 servings.. is that a typo? I wanted to make sure before I made it

  120. Lisa Fain

    Anon–It's not a typo, but I tend to like things a lot spicier than others.

  121. Thanks for this! I not only live in Europe where things like Ro-Tel and Velveeta don't exist…. but I've also cut all processed foods out of my diet completely. So even if it did exist here, I wouldn't eat it ;P … I don't have access to great Texan or Mexican cheeses, so it will be interesting to see what I come up with! And on a side note, the little Mexican "resort" (haha) that my husband and I would escape to in Baja California did an awesome *real* cheese (yep, sorta clumpy-ish) and chorizo queso served with fresh warm flour tortillas… it was sooo good….drool….

  122. THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU. we have gone all orgainc so things we used to buy or make with processed ingredients i now have to make at home. he found a gluten free cheese sauce packet but it was horrible!! thank you so much for this recipe it was great!! it was perfect and smooth just like you said by letting the cheese melt first before adding more but i was taking pictures and i think i miscalculated and messed up right at the end all of a sudden i got chunks/lumps probably from takeing too many pictures, lol but we still ate the whole pot. THANKS AGAIN!!!

  123. gleninjersey

    I lived in El Paso for ten years and have been back in NJ for a while now. I miss good queso and am always trying new recipes.

    I tried this recipe and it came out rather bland. I did only use 2 Serrano peppers as I tried a small taste of one prior to cooking and it lit my mouth on fire and the store I was at didn't have Longhorn cheddar so I substituted a mild cheddar. The entire process took me about 2 hours from start to finish to cook up. I was wondering what ratio of Longhorn cheddar and Monterrey Jack you use. I bought 3 one cup packages of each. I may try the recipe again and will make sure to use 3 serrano peppers next time and make sure to use the longhorn cheddar.

    What I would really love is something that comes close to the Taco Cabano chile con queso that I used to get after a late night out in El Paso!

  124. HumbuckerChapell

    So when you say "serves 4" how strict is that? We are having a fiesta w/20-25 people. Do you think I'm ok just tripling it? We will have plenty of other dips/sides/appetizers…


  125. Lisa Fain

    Humbucker–That should be fine.

  126. Oh, boy, I'm coming at this rather old post but I stumbled upon it and it's made me hungry and homesick at the same time. I've often wondered if real chile con queso was possible – I love the Velveeta version, too! and I can sing the song! Texas never leaves you! – and now thanks to you, I know. Deeeelish.

  127. If those pictures aren't food porn I don't know what is. Can't wait to try this!

  128. My friend suggested your blogs to me. I think your food looks really good! I can't wait to try it!

  129. Tried out the recipe, and it was delicious! Although I have to say, it made so much more than queso for four! My four barely made a dent in what was made. I'll have to try to half the recipe next time around, or wait until we throw a party to serve it again. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  130. For those having trouble finding Velveeta and Rotel, it can be ordered from Amazon in small bulk (lots of 3 or 6)

  131. Anonymous

    Thank you for this! We are trying to do more natural cooking as well. I am wanting to find a queso dip like this one but infuse it with beer. Have you tried that with your dip? Do you have recommendations of how I might alter the recipe to include it?



  132. Anonymous

    Thanks for the queso recipe. I'm in California and have really missed my Texas queso. One of my old time favorites from Ninfa's on Navigation in Houston is Queso Chihuahua–rich, molten cheese mixed with strips of roasted poblanos, sauteed mushrooms and crumbled bacon. Guess what I'm making tonight 🙂 Bill

  133. Stephanie Meyer (Fresh Tart)

    I loooooove this recipe! I used 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch (whisked into the chicken broth) instead of flour to make it gluten-free, worked beautifully. The boys in this house are very happy today 🙂 Thanks for the fab recipe.

  134. Stephanie Meyer (Fresh Tart)

    And by chicken broth, I meant milk – sorry!

  135. Excellent excellent excellent.

    Instead of the tomatoes, I ended up using Rotel with Habanero (I know, defeats the purpose of the recipe since I CAN get Rotel). Came out very good.

  136. kathylisa

    I make chili con queso at almost every party because everyone just LOVES it! And, I too, use VELVEETA!! It is totally the best and easiest to make. I just throw it in the crock pot in the morning, put in my salsa mixture (but I'm going to try and find this Rotel's now. Being in Calgary Alberta, not sure if we have it), add some extra japs and cilantro, and voila. People stand around the crock pot all night till it's gone!

  137. Nancy Medina

    what mexican cheese should i for a white queso?

  138. Lisa Fain

    Nancy–I'd add asadero.

  139. Wowsers! I can't wait to try this. It sounds absolutely delicious!

    Does it stay "liquidy" when it cools? I know it's best eaten warm (every Texan knows that). But I'll likely serve this at a party and didn't know if perhaps it's best to put it in a crockpot to keep it warm or if it would be ok sitting out.

  140. This blog made me: laugh, homesick, and hungry. Nice job!

  141. Anonymous

    Thank you so much!

  142. geekspice

    I made this and while it was good, I felt it was a bit flat. Rotel is more acidic than just tomatoes and pappers; maybe it needs some vinegar?

  143. Lisa Fain

    Geekspice–A squirt of lime juice is good!

  144. PappaWally

    My favorite Mexican Restaurant in Fort Worth is Benito's. They serve a dish call Queso Flameado (Burning Cheese) which is flamed by lighting a good ounce of Tequila and serving with fresh tortillas. Muy Bueno!!!

  145. Michelle French

    Yea! My US expat friends and I have been frustrated that we cannot find any Tex-Mex in London. (Do not, under any circumstance eat at the Texas Embassy.) We have gourmet foods of all kinds, including proper Mex, but no queso. At Borough Market one Saturday morning, I ended up chatting with a Texas student over our chili mochas and she told me about your recipe. Haven't made it yet, but I'm thrilled. THANKS!

  146. Anonymous

    Oh my GOODNESS!!! I am soooooo glad I found this website… you would not believe. I am an Australian but lived in Houston for several years.. long enough to get real used to the food 🙂 Well, as you can imagine… texas style or tex-mex food does not exist here. Nor many of the ingredients necessary to make it. (i.e. velveta cheese, breakfast sausage, smoked bbq, etc.) Your website has been a saving grace for me as I have been able to somewhat replicate the food we miss so much!! Thanks heaps!

  147. Anonymous

    Hi again… it’s the temporary Texan from the land of Oz. So I tried to make this recipe and nearly got it right :s I forgot the sour cream, and had to use Colby cheese and Tasty cheddar cheese (which are a far cry from the Longhorn cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheeses) BUT it still came up so YUM!! My siblings that live nearby are busting at the seams to try this… ha ha. I was a bit worried that the colour wouldn’t be right because our cheeses here aren’t orange, but the tomatoes put the colour in which made it look fine. Anyway, your website has really made my food blues somewhat fade. Thanks heaps… again!

  148. Anonymous

    I live in Austin, Texas and have been searching for a good queso recipe for months! Not sure if you've ever had the queso from Torchys Tacos, but this tastes very similar to it! We couldn't find Longhorn Chedder, so we used Velveeta…I know, I know, but we used way more Monterrey Jack than Velveeta, it game out great! A little grainy, but not too bad.

  149. After being born and raised in Texas and living there for over 30years, I moved to Australia. When anyone asks what do I miss most about home, I say Tex-Mex! I can NOT wait to make this!!! I will have to experiment with the cheeses since I won't get Longhorn cheddar or Monterey Jack here, but I see a previous post with a suggestion. Thank you for your site!

  150. jacqanders

    LOVED this queso! Thank you! I made it earlier this week!/

  151. Howdy! I am a homesick Texican living in Vegas, of all places. I cannot believe I hadn't run across your blog sooner. I just got my new TXMonthly & there was your angel face smiling at me telling me you feel my pain!

    We've been out of our beloved Central TX for nearly three years and we've concluded that the only way to get TX flavor is to go back to TX or make it ourselves. Since we've been here, I've perfected my tortillas, guacamole, arroz con pollo & almost got chilli down, all because we can't even find a hole-in-the-wall that does it like home.

    As for Velveeta, my daddy first threw a brick and Rotel together when I was little & every time I make queso I feel guilty that I'm continuing the tradition of passing "cheese-food" down to my children. Although we will always love it as a guilty pleasure, I've been looking for something like this recipe for years. Something creamy yet REAL. We're giving it a try tonight. Thanks for doing the research. And thanks for helping all homesick Texans out there.

  152. Melissa Gibbs

    This sounds amazing! I have a recipe that I use with the "block" and add sauteed onions, roasted green chilis, diced tomatoes and a can of cream of mushroom soup. (sounds weird but try it…)

    I am going to try this recipe…I have tried to make queso with real cheese in the past and it was like you described…a big mound of cheese floating in oil. Thanks for the recipe!

  153. I made this and it was AWESOME. However, I dumped into a crockpot to keep warm during the party and the leftovers are very watery! How can I fix it, if I can? More roux?

    ((Fresh, it was DELICIOUS. Best thing ever ever ever ever!))

  154. Lisa Fain

    Evin–I think that should work.

  155. I threw a scoop of the cold leftovers into my eggs this morning and they were INSANE! Will try the roux and let you know!

  156. Anonymous

    We've been in South Africa for 2 years now and haven't had queso the whole time! WITHDRAWAL! If we want Tex-Mex food I have to make it from scratch… took 3 hours to make really good enchiladas today! We're really looking forward to trying this tomorrow! Thank you SO much!!!

    – J & K in SA

  157. carollee03

    Thank you so much!! I am a HUGE fan of your blog and now your eagerly-awaited cookbook too (just made this and the smoky tortilla soup last night for dinner, making the hatch chile and apple cobbler now after spotting the chiles at my local store!). The queso flavor was delicious, but I found the final product to be a little on the grainy/mealy side. I'm not sure if that had to do with my heat level? I did my best to go really slowly as I added the cheese to make sure it didn't "seize" up, but perhaps that was my problem? Would love to know if this has happened to you and if you have any suggestions. Thank you for helping this homesick Texan (I hail from Houston and also live in New York) relive old flavors as well as discover lots of new ones!

  158. Lisa Fain

    Hi Carollee–Did you use pre-shredded cheese or grate your own? This hasn't happened to me, but then, it's not exactly like Velveeta since it's real cheese!

  159. carollee03

    Hi Lisa, I grated my own (half sharp cheddar and half Monterey Jack). Still delicious, for sure! Maybe I'll try grating more finely next time. And I'm eating the cobbler, which has since come out of the oven, as I write this, which I can attest is also delicious. I think the two would pair nicely as an appetizer and dessert, sort of in an apple-pie-with-cheddar-crust kind of way. Thanks for introducing me to Hatch chiles!

  160. I halved this recipe and made it a few weeks ago — I am in LOVE with the recipe!!! Thank you so much for investing so much time in putting it together — it's definitely changed my life for the better and I can't wait to share your site with friends 🙂

  161. superlex

    mmmm…queso! austin transplant to utah. miss it so much! work with a great crew of kitchen folks that have worked with me to get a fantastic queso recipe. thank goodness!! trudy's, magnolia, kerby lane, polvos, chuy's, guero's. missin' the queso! i mentioned in the migas thread i used to work at chuy's. i know they add their green chile sauce to the queso. i'm not sure if they use a roux. i don't like it when a roux is used because you get a mealy texture and can curdle but i wonder if this also comes from adding the green chile sauce- so even though i worked at chuy's for years, it's not my favorite queso. they all use the processed cheese, though. better than velveeta but still get that nice gummy queso. nothing like leaving a chips sitting in the bowl of cheese for a while and making them soft. some of the best food on earth. so glad someone wrote a cookbook for us! thank you!

  162. I couldn't find "longhorn cheddar". Will any cheddar work? I got sharp cheddar… Am planning to try this tomorrow.

  163. Lisa Fain

    Kristi–That will work!

  164. philogaia

    I realize that I'm three years down the line but I have a habit of always posting a comment when I use a recipe I find. I'm an expat New Mexican settled in Portland, Oregon. I'm also a born again whole foods person. So Velveeta is off the menu but I've missed chile con queso. I made a batch of your recipe tonight and took to a gathering. They licked the bowl including an expat Texan and a couple of folks to swore by the Velveeta. This is in my recipe box permanently and thank you so much for bringing a beloved treat back into my life. Oh, my only change was that I had no sour cream but good quality plain yogurt (Nancy's) worked great. I used half cheddar and half pepper jack cheese. I used two jalapenos and two Thai chiles and heat was fine for the NW palates I fed but I would have doubled it at least for my own.

  165. Erin Cowdell

    I am a 'Homesick Texan' living with my husband in England – I will definitely be giving your real-cheese queso a try! Admittedly I have a block of Velveeta in my cupboard (yes, I got it through UK Customs control!) but I think it will be good to try the real-cheese recipe and save my beloved Velveeta for something else. Thanks!

  166. What does it feel like to be an anti processed food Superhero??? This family of four is sending you a great big organic hug!!! My six year old loved it best of all. I had intended to use the leftovers as a rebellious Tex-Mex Alfredo, but thanks to my husband there are no leftovers! Thanks!

  167. lahbluebonnet

    I love this blog because it reminds me of home. A few years ago I have moved from San Antonio to Northern Virginia and how do I miss the great flavors I left behind. I am trying to learn how to replicate those flavors myself and enjoy reading your versions which are a bit different from the fare I enjoyed in SA.
    I had to laugh with this post, because I can identify with you so much. As much as I prefer natural ingredients, nothing beats a good queso with processed cheese. Here in VA they keep serving me queso made from a roux that tastes like flour and milk instead of like the queso I knew in TX. I have to confess, I'm dubious about this roux recipe but I will definitely try it out. =)

  168. amcTexan

    This makes excellent, although spicy, mac and cheese. Yum!

  169. Anonymous

    I'm sure no one posted in a long time. But just wanted to say, the velveeta and rotel is a million times better with a lb of ground beef in it. BUT nothing tops cream cheese and rotel. BEST DIP EVER one block of cream cheese, 2 cans of rotel, one canned drained. Just microwave and stir occasionally til smooth. Its great hot but in my opinion its the bomb when you stick it back in the fridge and eat it the next day cold. If any of you have tried this and agree, let me know!

  170. Emily ! Duong

    I tried this the other night. You can definitely taste the difference. It was definitely too thick, I had to stir in some more sour cream. Next time I will add more milk.

    This was also definitely more than enough for 4 people. I know it's been a while since you've posted this, but I was wondering if you have any recommendations for reheating this. After refrigerating, it comes out like a soft cheese, so I slice it and place on it top of chips and bake/broil to get it gooey. Any other suggestions?

    Thanks so much for posting this!

  171. Lisa Fain

    Emily–I usually reheat it on the stove on low.

  172. Thank you for this! I am also a native Texas who has recently moved to NJ and could not believe that people here have no real concept of queso! or salsa! or tortillas! I also tried the Chow recipe to my great disappointment. I need the Homesick Texan cookbook A S A P.

  173. I'm a homesick Texan in France. Not homesick for much except some awesome queso! Thanks for the tip about the bechamel, I have to use shredded mimolette and emmenthal, which is surely different, but when you crave queso as much as I do, it'll do.

  174. Anonymous

    My sister gave me a recipe that she saw on PBS in Houston some years ago. It was a hybrid version, in between your natural and the Velveeta/Rotel version. This recipe calls for 3 small cans of evaporated milk, diced onion (I grate mine on a fine cheese grater to release the onion juice), 1 cup each of cheddar & jack cheese, 1lb Velveeta, pickled jalapenos with a little juice, diced fresh tomato, and chopped cilantro. Melt the cheddar & jack in the evaporated milk and onion. Add the Velveeta, stirring frequently on low heat. Once all the cheese is melted, add chopped jalapenos, tomato, cilantro, & enough juice from the jalapenos to get the consistency you want. This is the closest I have found outside Houston to the queso I remember from the restaurants I loved.

  175. Anonymous

    I don't avoid Velveeta because of snobbery, but because I am a cheapskate. When they first started selling it, it was cheaper than "real" cheese. Now it is about the same price, and they rarely put it on special. But I buy fairly good quality "real" cheese often for $4 to $5 per pound. Same thing with powdered milk–it is just too expensive these days. I like to add it to things like banana bread where I want the dairy taste but liquid milk would ruin the ratio of liquid/solid. But I will not pay the price for it nowadays, and they never put it on special. So I will use this recipe, except all Jalepeno and no Serrano, because I already know that is what we like.

  176. hey,
    This blog is absolutely fantastic.I love this recipes.

  177. Anonymous

    OMG do I MISS sipping a glass of sangria and devouring a basket of chips dipped in Chili con Queso down on the San Antonio River Walk. We've been living in New Hampshire for 5 years now and it wasn't until tonight that we found a decent Mexican restaurant.

    Luckily we can usually find the ingredients we need to make our own Mexican food but I had despaired finding a really good recipe for Queso. Thanks for giving us one and bless you from the bottom of my ex-pat heart.

    Don't know if you know about but they have just about every ingredient and tool you need to make great Mexican food.


  178. Anonymous

    I am so glad I found you. I lived in TEXAS my whole life until last year, I moved to Massachusetts. Now I can make some of my favorite foods. Oh how I miss TEXAS.

    Thank you!


  179. Nik Edgerton

    A really delicious and authentic take on this dish is to pour it over Chorizo in ramikens and bake it for 30 minutes at 350. Amazing. Also, great with hotter range Hatch chilies! Which I'm making it with tonight!

  180. kimberly

    How much queso does this yield in volume? I'm trying to figure out how big of a batch to make. Also, how well does this reheat? Thanks! Looking forward to making this soon!

  181. Lisa Fain

    Kimberly–It makes about 3 cups or so, and it reheats fine.

  182. I saw this on your blog and I had to make it! I ran to the store at 11pm and now im in heaven! I can't stand how salty valveeta is and I needed some guidance. Thanks for your help, we are now friends =) going to barnes and nobles to get your book tomorrow. Good day

  183. Shantyhag

    Hi! How awesome is this? My question is, if one were to want to make a restaurant amount of this, how would one hold it and not have it break into an oily mess? Our restaurant doesn't have a microwave.

  184. Shantyhag

    BTW, Lisa, I should have mentioned that we have a well-worn copy of your cookbook that was given to us by one of our regulars… it gets (and gives, really) a lot of love, your book.

  185. Lisa Fain

    Shantyhag–Thank you for the kind words about the book! As for the queso, that's a very good question! It keeps in a slow cooker, so maybe something like that or maybe a pan in a warm water bath would work. That said, I've never experimented with restaurant-sized quantities nor am I well versed in restaurant kitchens, I'm afraid.

  186. Shantyhag

    Thanks, Lisa,

    I think we'll experiment with a food warmer and see how it holds up. My fear, again, is that the sauce breaks and becomes quickly inedible. If it holds, then it solves a dilemma for us… we own a Texas-influenced Mexican Restaurant (the Texifornia Tamale Co) and Velveeta simply wouldn't make it onto our menu. We make our own organic Queso Fresco and we've played with the Mexican version, to good effect, but it's not a proper Texas "Queso" (though delicious). Real queso should really be on our menu.

    Thank you, again!

  187. Velveeta Contains No Cheese!

    Read the label: Kraft's apparent quest for profit has led them to reduce the contents of Velveeta from Cheese Food, to Cheese Spread and recently it cannot even meet the Federal Standard of identity for Cheese Spread and is a "dairy product."

    I stumbled across this a few years ago when the Rotel & Velveeta just didn't seem right. So, I dug the Velveeta box from the trash & read the label. Interestingly, the food service version of Velveeta still is or was Cheese Spread.

    So, I use Nestle's Queso Bueno (#10 can) which lists cheddar cheese first on it's ingredient list. It's very good IMHO.

  188. So me and my bf moved from Austin, Texas to Boulder, Co a few months ago. We are definitely homesick Texans. We have been having texmex withdrawals. Its tragic really. Well, we made this queso for Thanksgiving (ya know something to snack on before all the food is ready!)and it turned out delicious. I wanted to stray away from Velveeta because, well, it freaks me out (what is it? ha!). This recipe is delicious and I will definitely use it again… im even snacking on it right now!

  189. Kristen

    I can't wait to try this recipe. I am so homesick it's crazy. I moved to Massachusetts a year ago from Texas and can't wait to get back. Every time I go home the first stop is Tex Mex, BBQ, Chick Fil A and the list goes on and on and on. Thank Goodness for this website. I now have a place to call "home". 🙂

  190. I used to make it with Velveeta and Old El Paso jalapeno relish but they discontinued it…and it was excellent and extremely addictive, those idiots. Now I make it with El Pato but I will try the recipe above. Thanks!

  191. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. Last month I was introduced to Tex-Mex during a trip to Texas and I absolutely love the queso dip!

    In Europe where I'm from its impossible to find Velveeta and this looks like a great alternative. I'll give it a try this weekend 🙂

    – Leonore

  192. Adam Edgmond

    This is a great recipe that I've also shared on my blog! I added fire-roasted peppers and tomatoes to the queso and it makes all the difference. Thanks for sharing!

  193. Anonymous

    Would you believe – I was googling for snacks for my (Texan!) husband and his friends to watch college basketball and happened upon your blog. This recipe is perfect – it didn't call for Rotel – which we can't seem to find here in Abu Dhabi, and my husband says it's perfect – even though I have never eaten queso before in my life (on account of not being American). Thank you so much for the fantastic recipe!


  194. Cristle Collins Judd

    Just discovered this blog. In years in the UK and Australia when it was impossible to get anything approaching Tex-Mex, the queso imitation that I learned to swear by was Mollie Katzen's "Nacho Sauce" in the original Moosewood Cookbook.

  195. So I know that this was posted ages ago but I moved to Ireland several months ago and am desperately trying to find ingredients to put together a proper Tex-Mex feast for friends tomorrow. This is perfect!

  196. Anonymous

    Am I supposed to seed the peppers? 3 of each with the seeds left in seems like it would be awfully spicy.

  197. Lisa Fain

    Anon–You can either seed the peppers or leave the seeds in if you prefer it more spicy. It's your choice!

  198. Anonymous

    Hi Lisa!

    If I'm making this for someone as a gift, what size mason jar would you suggest I put it in? 🙂


  199. Lisa Fain

    Kristen–I'd probably put it into pint jars. Remember that it needs to stay refrigerated!

  200. Rebecca

    I just made this for New Years, and it came out beautifully! I did make a few changes, using what I had on hand (2 cups shredded cheddar, 2 cups of shredded gouda), and bought a bag of a shredded Mexican style 5-cheese blend. I also fried a half-pound of lean ground beef to which I added some ground chipotle powder to give a smokey kick, and added it to half the queso to use in a brown rice and broccoli casserole. Sadly, no decent fresh tomatoes to be had, so used canned. This is my new favorite queso… thanks so much for sharing it!! 🙂 Reheating leftovers right now!! 🙂

  201. Jessica

    So can this be made on the stove and tossed into the slow cooker, or is there an art to making it slow cooker worthy??

  202. Lisa Fain

    Jessica–While I've never done it, many people have told me they make the queso on the stove and then keep it warm in a slow cooker.

  203. I stumbled upon this recipe this afternoon and it literally made my day! No Velveeta in South Australia but I definitely can get my hands on some cheddar here! Thank you for the recipe and this wonderful website!

  204. jenniferbussey

    My new favorite cheese for pretty much any context is Butterkase, so I will definitely try some proportion of that here. If you haven't had Butterkase, do two things. First, go to your grocery store deli counter and try it. Second, add me to your will as an expression of your eternal gratitude. Butterkase tastes like the love child of provolone and butter, and that's the texture. (Mmmm… butterkase…) And thanks for having a non-Velveeta queso recipe. I knew I could count on you!

  205. Vidya Amin

    How would this work for making ahead? Would you just keep it warm on the stove till guests arrive? thanks!

  206. Lisa Fain

    Vidya–Yes, or you can refrigerate it and then reheat it, too.

  207. ky_hiker

    I know this is an older post, but just wanted to comment that I grew up in the 1970s in Tennessee eating velveeta + Rotel queso, but we added a half can of refried beans and ate it with Fritos! Wow, were we ever excited when they invented giant Fritos… 🙂

  208. Anonymous

    I have organic cheddar and jack and organic irish cheddar (a delicious white cheese). could these be used?

  209. Lisa Fain

    Anon–They could work, though if the cheddars are aged and a bit crumbly, the sauce will probably not be very smooth.

  210. Diane Shaw

    I make the Velveeta queso, and my dad used to make a thicker cheddar cheese queso from scratch, and I have a friend who told me about a veggie based cheese queso their (Mexican) family makes, that I have really enjoyed. I am also a displaced homesick Texan, raised in Houston, family from Waco area, now living for many years in Michigan. When I make queso, or enchiladas, or basically any one of your recipes at home my family and friends go wild! Thanks for being a homesick compadre! Recipe: steam cauliflower and celery and whatever kind of ciles you want (two poblano and one serrano, maybe an adobo if you want the smoke)just to mush- mortar and pestle that down (or blend.)Add that to a roux of butter and milk (and flour slurry) thats very blond. over medium low heat stir in shredded cheeses- cheddar, farmers cheese/queso blanco, maybe some asiago, maybe even some smoked gouda or something smoky. Top with chorizo lardons and green onions if ya want to get fancy. chips, tortillas, cardboard boxes, whatever you use to eat it with will work. yummo.

  211. J R R Tomlin

    For those of us who cannot eat wheat flour, cornstarch works very well. In fact, I prefer it because it makes a smoother, lighter bechamel sauce.

  212. Mastering a real homemade cheese sauce that is smooth and creamy is a life cooking skill. Use it on pasta and baked vegatables au gratinee. Of course as a dip or chips and fresh boiled potatoes and a cheese dip is the famous Swiss Fondue! I always take my roux to a light blonde color, with a slightly roasted almond flavor and color. As it cools down I add a teaspoon of nice smoked paprika, some minced garlic and a ittle cumin powder to the roux. The French are taught to add hot almost boiling milk to the roux with whisking but I always use cold milk added to the hot pan of roux while whisking on high heat to avoid lumps and it saves a pot to clean. When the roux has thickened and boiled, now is the time to get out your hand blender as this kitchen gadget will make the smoothest roux and cheese sauces.

    No.1 rule of cooking with cheese is NEVER LET IT BOIL after adding it to a roux or any other hot dish. If your cheese sauce boils it can throw lumps and curdle fast!

    If you have a instant read thermometer, keep things well under 185 F for safety, 155-165 F is fine. Adding cheese slowly is good but that hand blender will allow you to avoid lumpy sauces no matter how much cheese you use.

    Another name for queso is Fondue in Swiss, or Mornay Sauce in French or MacNCheese Sauce in English (Welsh Rabbit is also made from Beer N Cheese etc). You can’t go wrong mastering a smooth cheese sauce. Gouda, Swiss and Parmesan make great additions to any cheese sauce, especially one made with mild Longhorn or Jack Cheese.

    I love the fresh roasted green chili n cheese flavors and will use them for MacNCheese or Italian pasta sauces gone Southwest.


    Well we did it again, this is a great and versatile recipe! Our hybrid version uses fresh garlic and RoTel,
    ‘extra sharp cheddar’ and it is so good. I’ve been in California for ten years now and it’s still funny to me that they know not of the Queso here. But hey, California burrito=yes.

  214. Tom Hodapp

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Although I do live in Texas, I love to make things from scratch and knew that there had to be a way. My brain had already determined that it would have to have something to do with a bechamel, but I just hadn’t gone any further with it than the idea stage. I will be making this in about a month for a party.

  215. kathy garland

    Just made this queso and it’s delicious! My neighbors Paige and Eric Hagenswald say hi!

    • Lisa Fain

      Kathy–Excellent news! I’m delighted the queso has been a hit. And please tell Paige and Eric I say howdy right back at them! How fun!

  216. Lisa, have you tried making queso with sodium citrate instead of roux? It prevents the fat and protein in the cheese from separating and so the sauce stays silky smooth and I personally think it’s better than with roux.

    • Lisa Fain

      Ethan–Yes! In my queso book I include a recipe for a sodium citrate queso!

  217. 5 stars
    Loved it – true comfort food. And it worked first time with some variations because I live in Asia. I wish had seen this recipe years ago. Thank you!!!

  218. How much is 6 cups of shredded cheese by weight? This would be helpful to know when buying blocks of cheese to shred.

    • Lisa Fain

      Dave–An 8-ounce block is 2 cups so 1 1/2 pounds is 6 cups.

  219. our old-standby queso recipe – with real cheddar cheese – made do with a can of cheddar cheese soup as the emulsifier. stirred with the other flavoring ingredients and put into the oven, occasionally stirring until it looks like you want it to.

    guessing others have said this too.

    • Lisa Fain

      MK–This is the first I’ve heard of people mixing real cheddar with a can of cheddar soup. I can see it working though and will have to try it! Thanks for sharing!

  220. Muy Perdido

    My great grandmother, Jesse Jewel White, would get a huge block of government cheese in San Marcos that we would take home to Laredo. The maids would use it sparingly on my lunch tacos and nothing else. We’d go to Austin or Houston for the holidays and take tamales with us and what was left of our block of Granny’s white gvmt cheese where “queso” would be made. Later everyone would pile up and caravan to the brush country to hunt while mom and her sisters would fight and drink… and make queso. Eventually I tried it (the queso). You could always tell what high-school aged cousin had “jumped the fence” at a party by how aggessivly they ate queso. Anyway, Thanks for the stepped up recipe. We have the Ricos cheese HQ in our neighborhood so maybe that’s why I rarely see it at parties any more.

  221. My Texan friend and I actually found a decent jar of queso the other day in his town in Norway at 50% off! A deal! There were 3 left and I told him to go back and buy the rest meanwhile I would look for more in Oslo. Turns out the company doesn’t make it anymore and of course I have a craving for it now, so luckily I remembered you had this recipe and I made it last night and had queso for winter solstice dinner. Delish! Thanks again.

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