Queso dip recommendations
December 22, 2015 3:38 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to make a rich, creamy, queso dip for a holiday party, but have never made it before. Do you have any recommendations for a tasty recipe to follow?
posted by codacorolla to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I personally think the payoff on constructing queso from scratch is not worth the slight bit better it (sometimes, if it doesn't break) is than the classic Velveeta and Ro*Tel, but I've had this Taco Dip and it was pretty good.

This Jalapeno Velvet White Sauce is from a restaurant that had an outpost across the street from my office in San Diego, and I could have easily done shots of it if nobody was looking. People routinely cleaned out the skimpy serving cups with a finger. It is absurdly good, and is almost like queso, but isn't quite.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:50 PM on December 22, 2015 [8 favorites]

I think you want the Tex Mex version of queso dip. Here's a couple more options.
posted by bearwife at 3:55 PM on December 22, 2015

If you have a few days for it to arrive, use sodium citrate. It's amazing for cheese sauce, like this Modernist Cuisine recipe. Makes any cheese melt perfectly without watering down the flavor (as it were) with condensed milk, roux, corn starch, etc.

Otherwise, use Velveeta punched up with better ingredients. You want a base with good texture, because taste doesn't matter when it turns into a gloppy greasy separated mess after 30 minutes.
posted by supercres at 4:04 PM on December 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Seconding Velveeta and Ro*Tel... always a winner and stupid easy to make. I've heard tale of "okie queso" where they add ground beef.
posted by bruceo at 4:21 PM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Velveeta and rotel, add a block of pepper jack and half a bottle of beer
posted by Clustercuss at 4:37 PM on December 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have made the queso dip from here: Queso. It is delish and really worth the effort. Add in a teaspoon of cornstarch as you're melting down the cheese and it will help keep it from 'breaking'. Nom nom nom.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:12 PM on December 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

(Also, I think Velveeta and Ro-Tel is a sacrilege.)
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:13 PM on December 22, 2015 [6 favorites]

I need to experiment with sodium citrate - that link is giving me all sorts of ideas!

For a non-Mexican choice, feta/red pepper dips are delicious. And super easy - mash or puree feta and roasted red peppers with a bit of olive oil and salt. For variations, you can substitute drained Greek yogurt for some of the feta, use a Turkish or Asian sweet-chili sauce, add roasted garlic - it's versatile.

Some versions:
Turkish (my favorite)
posted by kanewai at 5:30 PM on December 22, 2015

One of our favorite quesos is Qdoba's and you can find copycat recipes for it, such as here (can't vouch for that particular recipe but it looks in the ballpark). The sodium citrate sounds interesting, gonna have to try that.
posted by kindall at 5:34 PM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just get a white queso dip and chop a fresh jalapeño very finely to sprinkle on top. Festive!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:54 PM on December 22, 2015

I'm a fan of white American cheese (which you can usually pick up at the deli counter) instead of Velveeta. If I'm pressed for time, a pound of cheese, a can of Rotel (undrained), and a bit of milk or half and half (add a couple of tablespoons at a time once the cheese is melted, until you get to whatever consistency you like best) will make a totally serviceable queso. If I have a bit more time, I'll sauté some chopped onion with chopped jalapeño and/or poblano, add some garlic and cumin and smoked paprika, then melt in the cheese and add the milk. You can stir in diced fresh tomatoes toward the end, if that sounds appealing, or add some canned diced tomatoes when you add the cheese (I'm a fan of the fire roasted ones). Mmmmm, queso.
posted by rebekah at 6:26 PM on December 22, 2015

If you want to overthink this without going the sodium citrate route, there's a nice Serious Eats cheese sauce recipe that uses evaporated milk (and also some corn starch) as an emulsifier to keep the cheese from breaking. Like a lot of the other suggestions in here, it's a way to get Velveeta-style texture from a cheese that tastes better than Velveeta.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:54 PM on December 22, 2015

Decide how much time and money and energy you want to devote to this project, and go from there. Velveeta (I like the queso blanco over the yellow) and Rotel is on one end, and, I dunno, homemade cheese and homegrown dried peppers, or some damn thing, is on the other.

You probably want something somewhere in the middle. Use a crockpot, or one of those fondue candle dealies, to keep it at the right temperature.
posted by box at 7:04 PM on December 22, 2015

Velveeta and Ro*tel 4 Lyfe!

The problem with making your own is you see how much oil and cream you have to add to keep the cheese to keep it liquid. Plus, it takes five seconds, you don't have to think about it, and everyone loves it. You'll notice that even the recipe Porcineandme links compares its product to Velveeta? It's the gold standard. The light-orangey-yellow standard, if you will.
posted by theweasel at 7:32 PM on December 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Seconding the white sauce Lyn Never mentions from Miguel's. Super easy, and I've become the person asked to bring it to gatherings here in northern Cali, where there are no Miguel's. People love it. I usually omit the seeds of the jalapeño to cater to the less brave, but you can leave them in for more spice.
posted by routergirl at 8:21 PM on December 22, 2015

I like this recipe from Homesick Texan.
posted by neushoorn at 11:05 PM on December 22, 2015

Sodium citrate is magic and I highly recommend it. I just made some Rotel + Cheddar dip with it the other day.
posted by Nelson at 6:53 AM on December 23, 2015

The Mexican restaurant I used to work out made it thus: jack cheese (so hard to find where I live), about three quarters of the way up a medium sized plastic takeaway tub, evaporated milk not quite halfway up the cheese, chopped jalapenos, as few or as many as you desire. Microwave until melted (about 2.5 minutes). Stir. Zap a little longer if still lumpy. Pour into bowl and sprinkle with taco seasoning. Serve with tortilla chips which have been quickly dipped in the deep fryer and drained.
posted by h00py at 8:06 AM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Came here to give my stock of answer of "get thee some sodium citrate stat!". It's my secret. You can use any cheese you want! :D
posted by theRussian at 11:10 AM on December 23, 2015

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