By Christie Vanover | Published October 10, 2016 | Last Updated February 7, 2023
This creamy cheese dip is really addicting. You’ll probably need another set of ingredients on standby to make another batch.
What is white queso dip?
As soon as I walk into a Mexican restaurant and hear the festive music, I can’t wait for them to bring me a big basket of chips and salsa. The second I order my margarita, I also request a bowl of white Mexican queso.
Queso is the Spanish word for cheese, and it’s used interchangeably in America to refer to dozens of different styles of cheese dip recipes, ranging from yellow Tex Mex queso to melted Velveeta with a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes.
White queso dip is different. The cheese is really mild and super creamy. It’s like velvet, and if you add chiles, you get the perfect amount of mild heat.
Several years ago, I asked a chef at my favorite Mexican restaurant what their secret was, and he shared that it was the cheese.
Do not be fooled by other recipes that use white American cheese. That is not the right cheese for authentic white queso dip.
Using the right cheese
When making white queso dip, you want a type of cheese that will melt so that it’s smooth and creamy. Unfortunately, cheeses like cheddar can get a little clumpy or oily, unless you make a roux or bechamel sauce.
And while Velveeta is a good choice for smooth dips, it doesn’t taste anything like authentic Mexican white queso.
For that flavor you find in Mexican restaurants, you should use a soft Mexican melting cheese like queso quesadilla, chihuahua or Oaxaca.
According to Cacique, the popular Mexican cheese maker, Queso quesadilla cheese was first made in Northwestern Mexico and what is now Texas.
Chihuahua cheese doesn’t come from the milk of a small little dog. It originated in the state of Chihuahua, which is in North Central Mexico.
And Oaxaca, which is my favorite cheese for queso fundido and Cheese Stuffed Meatballs hails from the state of Oaxaca in Southern Mexico.
All three of these cheeses are semi-soft, melt extremely smooth and are quite mild.
Today, it’s fairly easy to find these cheeses at Hispanic markets. I also have a lot of luck finding bags of shredded quesadilla and Chihuahua cheeses at Wal-Mart.
Substitutions: If you can’t find quesadilla cheese, try Chihuahua or Oaxaca cheeses. If you can’t find those, substitute Monterey jack cheese or pepper jack cheese.
How to make white queso dip
I enjoy making this outdoors on the grill, and it’s especially great at a tailgate party on game day, but you can make this on the stovetop in a pot, too.
- STEP ONE: Place a 12-inch cast iron skillet on a grill or stovetop over medium heat. Add the chiles, crema, milk and seasonings and allow them to heat up and come to a gentle simmer.
- STEP TWO: Add the shredded cheese and whisk it together with the simmering milk, until the cheese is fully melted.
How to serve white queso dip
You definitely want to serve this smooth cheese dip while it’s still hot. You can place the skillet right on the table on a hot pad with a bag of your favorite tortilla chips or you can pour it into small serving bowls.
While you’re cooking the dip, place some tortilla chips in a pan on the grill next to the dip for a few minutes. That way they’ll be nice and warm when you serve them with the dip.
If you have any leftover dip, which you probably won’t, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat it in the microwave or a pot on the stove or grill.
You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Mexico is known for creating several amazing cheeses. The crumbly white cheese that you find on tacos is cotija and has a sharp flavor similar to feta.
The creamy white cheese that you find in quesadillas, in cheese dip and in chiles rellenos is often queso quesadilla, Chihuahua cheese or Oaxaca cheese.
If you want to make this white queso dip recipe in a crock pot, simply place all the ingredients in the slow cooker and turn it to low. Check it every 15 minutes and give it a stir. Once all of the cheese has melted it’s ready.
The secret to authentic white queso dip like the kind you find in Mexican restaurants is to use an authentic Mexican melting cheese, like queso quesadilla. Many recipes online call for white American cheese or Velveeta queso blanco, but those won’t taste the same.
You can control the heat level in this white queso dip recipe by the type of peppers that you add. If you don’t want any heat at all, leave out the green chiles. Or look at the can of green chiles. They are often marked as mild or hot. Choose the heat level you prefer.
Other great dip recipes
White Queso Dip
- 1/4 cup roasted hatch chiles (canned is fine)
- 2 cups crema Mexicana
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 2 cups shredded quesadilla cheese
- Heat Grill: Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet on a grill or stove top over medium heat.
- Simmer: Add the chiles, crema, milk and seasonings to the pan and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Whisk: Add the cheese to the pan. Whisk until melted. Serve with warm tortilla chips.
This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator
I do mine in an electric fondue pot. Quick and easy.
I used jalapeños and it was great! Used it for burrito bowls instead of with chips