Bring out the tortilla chips!

Queso, a dip made with cheese and chile peppers, can be made in thousands of ways. With processed cheese or real, adding beans or meat to make it more like a meal, and in a variety of appliances — there's no wrong way to be cheesy with this hot dip.

Queso has been a hit stateside since 1918 when Mexican restaurateur Miguel Martinez opened his Tex-Mex spot Martinez Café in Dallas and offered queso as a taco topping. It really became a nationwide snack in the 1960s as processed food (ahem, Velveeta) grew in popularity. Then Texas-based canned tomato company Rotel started marketing a Famous Queso Dip that calls for just two ingredients (one being Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, naturally) and queso became a mainstay on nearly every tailgating menu and party spread.

While you can — and should — customize your queso recipe to your own flavor preferences and the ingredients you have on hand, use this guide for how to make queso on a stovetop, in a slow cooker, and in an Instant Pot as a foundation. Feel free to change-up the cheeses, of course, then toss in your favorite mix-ins and garnish as desired!

How to Make Queso 3 Ways

How to Make Queso on the Stovetop

"This was very delicious. For smooth results I added a few tablespoons of cheese at a time and whisked constantly. I didn't have salsa, so I improvised with an equal amount of chopped red onion and sriracha." — Allrecipes member Mochi Puffs

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter.
  2. Thoroughly stir in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
  3. Stir in ¾ cup sour cream, then once the mixture becomes hot and bubbly, mix in 1 cup of cheese and 1 tablespoon of your preferred spice-level of salsa.
  4. Continue stirring until all of the cheese has melted and mixture begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Get the recipe: Queso Dip

Slow Cooker Chili Queso Dip
Pictured: Slow Cooker Chili Queso Dip
| Credit: Soup Loving Nicole

How to Make Queso in a Slow Cooker

"Made exactly as written and this turned out great! I was tempted to not soften the onions before adding to the slow cooker but I'm sure glad I did. The caramelized onions added another depth of flavor." — Allrecipes member Soup Loving Nicole

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of salted butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add 1 chopped onion and 2 minced garlic cloves; cook and stir until tender, or about 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer this onion mixture to your slow cooker (read our picks for the best slow cookers on the market).
  4. Stir in two 15-ounce cans of chili, three 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, 1 16-ounce jar of your preferred spice-level of salsa, plus 2 tablespoons or so of minced jalapeño peppers.
  5. Top with lid and cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 4 hours.
  6. Flip to "keep warm" and devour all party long.

How to Make Queso in an Instant Pot

"I made some adjustments to the peppers because of my personal spice tolerance. It's a really good recipe." — Allrecipes member Sarah

  1. Turn on your Instant Pot (read our picks for the best electric pressure cookers here) to the high temperature. Add 8 ounces of shredded cheese, 4 ounces of heavy cream, and 4 ounces of Neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese). Stir until melted, or for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce temperature to low, and let the queso cook for 5 to 7 more minutes.
  3. Add one 4-ounce can of chopped green chiles, 1 tablespoon of finely-chopped pickled jalapeño peppers and 1 ½ teaspoons of the pepper juice from the pickled jalapeño jar for a little extra kick. Mix well and enjoy warm.