Texas Green Chili Queso Dip
Learn how to make the BEST melty green chili queso dip! There’s nothing we love in Texas more than our queso, and this stuff is silky smooth. No Velveeta involved, guaranteed to change your life!
Silky smooth and melty – that’s the only way I want to imagine my bowl of gooey cheese. And that’s exactly how today’s green chile queso dip is going to turn out.
My Texas-inspired green chili queso dip is something I’ve been working on for quite some time. I’m not kidding when I tell you I was knee-deep in research (aka hunting down the best queso in town and going bonkers with a pile of tortilla chips) for the better part of two years. I’ve bought store-bought queso and read labels to see if I can figure out what makes it so silky smooth. Then I went out to Mexican restaurants and had at least a few waiters question my sanity (is she licking cheese off of the chip?) Made my share of poor batches that had curdled cheese or ones where it resembled more of a béchamel sauce than a bowl of warm, melty queso.
Ask my husband, when I set my mind to something, I’m so involved that I start dreaming about it. Not the kind of dream where I’m swimming in a bowl of queso, although that wouldn’t be so bad either, but rather in the sense that I’m developing and testing recipes in my head all while I’m asleep.
After what seems like an eternity, I’ve finally got the best melty green chili queso recipe to share with you. Pour it all over your nachos, breakfast tacos, load it up in your Crunchwrap supremes, dip your quesadillas in it, add it to burritos, or guzzle it by the mouthful!
I am stoked to be sharing my green chili queso recipe today. First, my queso dip contains zero Velveeta. You know, shelf-stable cheese that has me cringing and questioning ‘what the heck is in there?” all at the same time. It’s made with all real ingredients and is silky smooth and extra addicting. Trust me; it’s going to make the perfect addition to your BIG GAME spread.
Speaking of the big game, have you planned your menu already? I’ve got a few fan-favorite suggestions if you’re still working on the menu: Philly cheesesteak dip, sticky baked chicken bites, hot chipotle shrimp corn dip, firecracker chicken meatballs, sticky Mongolian beef meatballs, easy elotes corn dip, honey-chipotle meatballs, herb garlic baked brie, cheesy wild rice chicken fritters, or how about an epic cheese board? All of these would make great additions to your super bowl spread!
Okay, but now, back to all things queso.
What do you need to make green chili queso?
- Shredded Cheese: you’ll want to use a variety to sprinkle into your queso. I like Oaxaca, cheddar cheese, and Monterey Jack.
- Cornstarch: We’ll sprinkle this over the shredded cheese to keep it from clumping. We’re not using all purpose flour in this recipe, so the cornstarch also helps thicken the queso a bit without making it grainy!
- Butter: Melt the butter before you add in the garlic and jalepnos. You could also use olive oil, but butter does make the queso a bit smoother.
- Fresh jalapeño peppers
- Diced tomatoes with hatch green chilies (drained)
- Spices: you’ll need kosher salt, ground cumin, chili powder, and onion powder.
- Evaporated milk/ milk
- Chopped cilantro
What kind of cheese do I need to use to make queso?
There are a few different kinds that you can use. I like to use freshly grated (more on that in a minute) equal parts Oaxaca, cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheese. Oaxaca cheese gives this cheese dip that nice stretch that makes my heart pitter-patter. Cheddar gives it that beautiful golden sunshine color and adds flavor. Finally, Monterey Jack is mild, melts beautifully, and helps balance out the other two kinds of cheese I mentioned earlier.
What does the cornstarch do for homemade queso dip?
Cornstarch plays a two-part role in this queso recipe:
- it keeps the freshly shredded cheese from sticking together in one big lump
- it helps thicken the queso without having to make a flour and butter sauce (which just doesn’t make smooth queso, IMHO)
Is evaporated milk the same thing as condensed milk?
In the U.S., unsweetened condensed milk is more commonly called evaporated milk. It is basically milk that is reduced down into a thicker consistency. It’s important to note that condensed milk (or evaporated milk) that we’re referring to is different from sweetened condensed milk, which, as the name suggests, is sweetened. Be sure to buy unsweetened condensed milk for this recipe.
How to make the best green chili queso dip:
- Freshly grate the cheese. Toss the cheese with the cornstarch and set aside for later.
- Add the butter to the skillet and allow for it to melt over medium heat. Then add the garlic and the minced jalapeños, cook just long enough for that garlicky smell to release. Then, add tomatoes with green chilies and season with salt, ground cumin and chili powder, (or cayenne) onion powder, and cook to allow the tomatoes to dry out any liquid.
- Pour in the evaporated milk and continue to stir until it comes to a boil. Lower the heat to low, as you add the cheese, then IMMEDIATELY turn off the heat. Stir and allow the cheese to melt. Add the cilantro. If the queso is too thick, add the milk and stir it in. Taste using a tortilla chip (preferably the ones you’re serving the queso dip with) and adjust salt and chili powder to your personal preference. If you feel the queso is still thick, add additional milk to thin it to your liking.
How to grate the cheese for homemade queso:
- Use a box grater and shred the cheese
- Use a food processor fitted with the grater attachment
Tips for making the best green chili queso dip at home:
- I know I already said this, but it’s so important, I’ll say it all over again – don’t use store-bought pre-shredded cheese. I suggest buying blocks of cheese and shredding/grating them yourself
- toss the cheese in cornstarch and let it sit in the refrigerator (covered) if you plan on making queso later in the day. Don’t let it sit out on the counter for hours.
- make sure to drain the can of tomatoes! This gives you a much more concentrated flavor without watering down the queso
- once you are done making the queso, you can transfer it to a slow cooker and keep it on the warm setting if you plan on serving this for an event. Be sure to stir the queso dip every 20-30 minutes or so
I kid you not this stuff is liquid gold, and you’re going to want to put this Texas-style green chili queso on EVERYTHANG.
- 1 cup EACH: Oaxaca cheese, medium cheddar cheese, AND Monterey jack
- 1 tablespoon EACH: cornstarch AND butter
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and minced
- 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drain completely
- ½ teaspoon EACH: salt, ground cumin AND chili powder (or cayenne for more heat)
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk (not fat-free)
- 2 tablespoons EACH: milk AND chopped cilantro, to finish
- GRATE: Freshly grate the cheese using a box grater or food processor fitted with the grate attachment. I find store-bought shredded cheese does not produce the same quality of queso! Toss the cheese with the cornstarch and set aside for later.
- COOK: Add the butter to the skillet and allow for it to melt over medium heat. Then add the garlic and the minced jalapeños, cook for a minute before adding the tomatoes with green chilies and season with salt, ground cumin, chili powder (or cayenne,) onion powder, and cook for two minutes.
- QUESO: Then, pour in the evaporated milk and continue to stir until the evaporated milk comes to a boil, lower the heat to low, then give it a stir, and add the cheese, and IMMEDIATELY turn off the heat. Stir and allow the cheese to melt. Add the cilantro. If the queso is too thick, add the milk and stir it in. Taste with a tortilla chip (preferably the ones you’re serving the queso with) and adjust salt and chili powder as desired. If you feel the queso is still thick, additional milk can be added to thin it to your liking. If you need to reheat it, be sure to do so on the lowest heat setting until it warms through. Serve warm!
- If you can't find Oaxaca cheese, use 1 ½ cups of each Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese