Queso Dip from Scratch
Originally published September 26, 2011. Updated on 7/2/2021
I remember the first time I ate “American” cheese.
I was visiting the USA, and went to have supper at Perkins. I ordered the exact same salad that I always ordered at home, expecting it to be, well, the same.
When I took my first bite, though... I was horrified. What I thought was shredded cheddar cheese was something... not cheese.
I was informed that this was called “American cheese”, and was actually - at least partially - an oil product. Could have fooled me - I thought I was eating plastic!
Either way, it was not 100% milk, as I’d always known cheese to be. As much as I loved that particular salad before that night, I've never ordered it since. The memory of it was forever scarred!
It would be a few years before I’d get another shock from eating a “cheese” product. Somehow, I ended up trying the premade Velveeta Shells and Cheese.
I managed two bites, before I realized that it felt like the inside of my mouth was being plastinated.
Was Velveeta used in the plastination process for Bodyworlds?
I don’t know, but that was the first and last time I was gonna subject myself to it!
Velveeta as a Cheese Dip
Every summer since, of course, I’ve had to gag at the commercials about making Velveeta / Rotel “queso dip”.
As I visualized the damage this stuff must be doing to the innards of those poor unsuspecting folks in the commercial, my husband would inform me that - if one grew up with Velveeta - it’s not as horrible as it comes across to my fresh, unplastinated palate.
They must put minute amounts of ... something illicit... in that crap, for him to come away with THAT sort of view, on such a horrific thing.
Anyway. Yes. Velveeta is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever come across in my life. That it’s marketed as food should be *criminal*.
I admit, though - there’s a certain attraction to the idea of making super easy cheese dip, per the commercial.
I’ve been meaning to post my recipe for real cheese dip for awhile now. It’s really easy, and honestly doesn’t take much more effort than
poisoning people with making it with Velveeta.
Real Cheese Queso Dip
So... here it is. This is a great basic recipe, feel free to play with it.
Toss in some chopped chilis (after adding the corn starch), maybe some chopped cilantro (after the cheese is all melted and smooth).
Swap out some or all of the cheese for Monterrey Jack, or another favourite cheese in that texture/hardness level. (Avoid Mozzarella, though!)
It’s very adaptable! The amount of cheese you end up needing will depend on how much liquid is in your salsa, and what kind of cheese you're using.
Want to get a bit fancier with it? Try our earlier recipe, Southwest Fondue!
How to Make Real Cheese Queso Dip
In a medium saucepan, whisk together liquid of choice and corn starch, until the mixture is smooth and there are NO lumps.
Add in salsa, stir until well combined.
Heat over medium, just until it comes to a simmer.
Add a large handful of cheese, stir until melted.
Continue adding rest of cheese – a handful at a time – stirring until it’s melted each time. Stop when dip reaches desired thickness.
Allow dip to heat for another minute or so, after the final batch of cheese has melted in all the way.
Also, if you're interested in gluten-free cooking and baking, you should definitely check out my gluten-free cookbooks: Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten Free Cooking & Baking, and the sequel... Beyond Flour 2. You can order them right here on my website, through Amazon, or through any major bookseller.
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Basic Salsa Queso Dip Recipe
- ½ cup milk beer, or chicken stock
- 2 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 cup salsa of choice*
- 4-5 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese**
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together liquid of choice and corn starch, until mixture is smooth and there are NO lumps. Add in salsa, stir until well combined.
- Heat over medium, just until it comes to a simmer.
- Add a large handful of cheese, stir until melted. Continue adding rest of cheese – a handful at a time – stirring until it’s melted each time. Stop when dip reaches desired thickness.
- Allow dip to heat for another minute or so, after the final batch of cheese. Serve warm.
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