Chef John's Queso Dip


I used to make something very similar to this queso dip at the Mexican restaurant I worked at in college, where we called it 'chili con queso.' At first I thought it could be thicker, but later I realized the saucy texture was the key to its addictive irresistibility. Instead of too much cheese piled up on your chip, we just get a beautiful, silky coating, and as soon as you finish one, you can't wait to dip another, and another, and another, until there are no chips left.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
12 servings


  • ½ pound sharp white Cheddar cheese

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, dark green parts set aside

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • ¼ teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 (4 ounce) can fire-roasted diced green chiles

  • ½ cup seeded and diced Roma tomatoes

  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk

  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste (Optional)

  • 1 tablespoon diced Roma tomato


  1. Grate Cheddar cheese into a bowl. Sprinkle in cornstarch and toss to coat.

  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and light parts of the scallions. Sprinkle in salt, chipotle, and cumin. Cook and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add green chiles and 1/2 cup tomatoes; cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Pour in evaporated milk and bring to a boil. Add the Cheddar cheese and stir just until melted; immediately remove from heat.

  3. Stir in cilantro. Season to taste, adding cayenne if desired. Garnish with reserved green onion parts and 1 tablespoon diced tomato.

    close up view of Queso Dip garnished with tomatoes and green onions in a blue bowl, served with tortilla chips
    Chef John

Chef's Notes:

Any melted cheese, or a combination, goes great in this.

Make sure you use a tortilla chip to taste for seasoning, as it already has salt on it.

Since this doesn't get completely firm, even after cooling down, you can make this ahead of time, and just leave it out, although that can be a risky maneuver, as there may not be a lot left when your guests arrive.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

136 Calories
10g Fat
6g Carbs
7g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 136
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 31mg 10%
Sodium 428mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 12mg 60%
Calcium 228mg 18%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 203mg 4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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