The BEST Cheesy Chili Dip (and No Velveeta!)
Seriously the best homemade cheesy chili dip and there’s no Velveeta! We’re making the cheese sauce from scratch. It’s real food and it’s real good!
REAL food for REAL life.
And real life is me (and you) grabbin’ tortilla chips and scoopin’ this cheesy chili dip straight from the dip warmer like it’s our job. Um… someone’s gotta do it, right? Might as well be you and me!
Let’s also start by saying that this dip is taking the best of both cheesy queso and taco chili and meshing it together to create a food baby — cheesy chili dip. It’s happy times for those of us that are a little obsessed with nachos but want a little taco action too.
To me, this dip means tons of tortilla chip action. You know while one football game or another is trying to distract me in the background. Also, there may or may not have been a situation last year when hubby went to dip his chip in the crockpot and the chili dip was gone. And I do mean gone. As in it magically vanished. Like
I someone took a spoon and went to town, gone. So gone that there weren’t even scrapings left. It’s a shame there were no witnesses, so really it’s just his word against mine. But we all know what happened… right? Extra terrestrial cheese-dip-loving beings, what else?
Luckily for him (and me!) I usually stash ½ the batch in the refrigerator before sitting down because mysterious situations like these happen on the regular when cheesy chili dip is in the room.
I have a confession to make. I sat on this recipe for a whole year. Making and remaking it and selfishly keeping the recipe to myself. In all fairness, I wanted to make sure it was absolutely perfect for you. Most of the time, I really love my job. And see, I brought it just in time because fall officially means cheesy chili dip season from now until February and I need you to add this one to your repertoire.
Everything you love about tacos and cheese dip (or queso) and chili all bundled into one.
It all starts with the taco chili mix. We start by browning lean ground beef in a skillet and letting it cook through before adding in taco seasoning. I usually make a big batch of homemade taco seasoning and keep it in an airtight container. It’s the perfect combination of spices without ANY questionable ingredients or too much salt. You can find the recipe here.
Once the seasonings are in, add in a whole can of rinsed and drained black beans. If you aren’t a fan of black beans, replace it with whatever you like. I’m just way to obsessed with them to try anything else. But pinto or even kidney beans would be a good substitution. Also in the blend is a can of fire-roasted tomatoes with green chilies. This is sometimes a little hard to find, so if you’re grocery store doesn’t sell it, grab a can of tomatoes and a can of green chilies.
Next, we’re going to start on the cheese sauce. Okay, so this is a big deal. This cheese sauce is what makes or breaks the cheesy chili dip. There is no way I would let you use velveeta. You know that. I’m going to show you how to make homemade velveeta that tastes better and is better for you.
It starts with a little butter and a little flour. We’re going to make a roux. Once the flour gets nice and golden we’re going to stream in the cold milk very steadily. You must use cold milk, so fill your measuring cup and leave it in the refrigerator until you’re just ready to stream it in. Continue whisking while you stream in the milk because, well, we all hate lumpy cheese sauce. Once it’s all in and the mixture starts to thicken, kick the heat to LOW. This is a crucial step in making smooth queso. If your heat is on high, the cheese will not melt properly. Lumpy cheese is no one’s idea of good dip. Add half of the cheese and stir to combine, when it melts, add the other half.
Also, try not to guzzle the cheese sauce straight from the pan, it’s hard, but you gotta try! And speaking of cheese, what kind of cheese should you use? Anything that melts well. So Muenster, Monterey Jack, cheddar, or even gouda!
Now just pour the cheese sauce over the taco chili mix and stir. You can serve it right from the pot or pour it into a dip warmer or crockpot. Personally, I like to put it in a crockpot because I like my cheesy chili dip nice and warm when it hits my mouth.
Melty cheese mixed with taco style chili and folded together to be scooped with a tortilla chip? Touch down!
My weekend is officially made. ✅✅✅
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 2 -3 tablespoons taco seasoning (homemade or store-bought)
- 2 (10 ounce) cans fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies (see notes)
- 1 (14 ounce) can rinsed and drained black beans (or kidney and pinto work too)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ¼ cup cold milk
- 6 ounces shredded melting cheese (Monterey Jack, gouda, white cheddar, yellow cheddar etc.)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- CHILI: Add the oil to a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and crumble the meat with a spatula, allow it to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Season with the taco seasoning and add in the tomatoes and green chilis, and black beans. Stir to combine. Allow the chili to come to a simmer before covering and letting it cook on the low setting for 10-12 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
- CHEESE SAUCE: Heat a saucepan with the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter melts, add the flour and whisk. Allow the flour mixture to cook for 1-2 minutes or until you can smell it. Stream in the cold milk in a steady stream while whisking. Once all the milk is incorporated, allow the milk mixture to come to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Lower the heat to the lowest setting and add in ½ the cheese. Continue to whisk and allow the cheese to melt completely before adding in the rest.
- When the cheese sauce is smooth, add it to the prepared chili and top with chopped cilantro. You can transfer it to a crockpot or a dip warmer if you want to serve it a little later (keep it on the low or warm setting). Serve with tons of tortilla chips!
- TACO SEASONING: keep in mind that store-bought taco seasoning have A LOT of sodium so you may not need to season it if you use a store-bought seasoning. If you use my homemade mix, you'll most likely need to add a little salt to taste.
- If you can't find fire-roasted tomatoes and green chilis combined, use 1 (14 ounce) can of diced tomatoes and 1 (4 ounce) can of green chilies as a substitute.