Queso made with cheese, milk, chiles and for a tangy twist, pickled jalapeños. The cheese you choose will affect the taste and texture of the dip. For the smoothest dip that resembles jarred, store-bought queso, use half cheddar or Monterey Jack and half American cheese — use slices or ask the deli counter to give you a slab from the block of the unsliced cheese, and then grate it at home yourself.
If you don’t want to use American cheese, you can achieve the same creamy, stabilized texture with addition of cream cheese — which also has stabilizers added. Use your favorite type of cheese and then add cream cheese.
If you don’t like the idea of cream cheese or American cheese in your queso, you can still make queso dip! Use any melty cheese, just keep in mind that the dip won’t be as smooth and is best when eaten straight away. (We share more about this in the article above.)
1 tablespoon neutral oil or butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, grated or finely minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1 cup (236 ml) whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 ounces (170 grams or 1 1/2 cups) cheese, shredded or torn if using slices, suggestions below
2 ounces (56 grams) cream cheese, optional, see notes
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, mild or hot
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeño, plus 1/2 tablespoon pickle juice, optional
Chips, for serving
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, cumin and a pinch of salt, and then cook until the onions are soft and smell sweet, about 5 minutes.
Pour in 3/4 cup of the milk. Bring the milk to barely simmering.
Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and cornstarch together.
When the milk is barely simmering, whisk in the milk and cornstarch mixture. Continue to whisk until the milk comes to a low simmer, and then simmer for 1 minute. During this time, the milk should thicken enough that it would coat the back of a spoon.
Turn the heat to low, and then stir in the cream cheese and the torn or shredded cheese, handful by handful so that it melts into the sauce.
When the cheese is completely melted and is smooth, add the green chilies, jalapeño (optional), and jalapeño pickle juice (optional). We add all of the green chilies, but you can add less; add a tablespoon at a time until you are happy.
Taste the dip, and then, if the flavor does not pop, adjust with a bit more salt. Serve warm with chips