Thank goodness I’ve got these delicious pictures of the queso I made this weekend to get me through this Monday. However, it does remind of the painful stomachache I experienced last night and this morning because of all the queso I ate yesterday. Yikes, that was pretty bad… but this queso is just SO. DANG. GOOD!!
How do you guys feel about all the Superbowl festivities and, in general, everything that happened on Sunday? I’ve never been one to enjoy sitting through an entire football game, regardless of the hype and all of my friends’ excitement. I was at orchestra rehearsal anyways, so I wasn’t able to catch the first half or the halftime performance, but everyone’s been saying how boring the game was, how lame the commercials were, and how garbage Maroon 5’s performance was. What did you think? Did any of y’all enjoy this year’s game?
I personally enjoyed Superbowl Sunday with a bowl of queso, Gilmore Girls, and snuggles with my dog, so I am definitely not complaining. I’m sure most of you can relate to the fact that I was most certainly 100% there for all of the food, and 0% there for the game! It’s always an excuse for me to make a bunch of junk food and not get disapproved for eating so unhealthy (although I could honestly care less, heh)
If queso isn’t really your thing, don’t worry: I’m wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of it either. Before making it myself, I never really liked the kind restaurants serve. They’re always too salty, or they taste fake, or they’re not cheesy enough. But hear me out on this one… homemade queso will literally change your life forever.
This queso recipe is rich, flavorful, and most importantly, SUPER DUPER CHEESY! I was actually *no joke* contemplating on using 5 different kinds of cheese. I literally stood in front of the cheese section at Whole Food’s, trying to narrow down the multitude of options before me. This was also probably due to the fact that I know nothing about cheese, and had no idea what would taste the best in this particular recipe. But it all worked out and I couldn’t be happier with the results! With that being said, I’m sure you could use whatever cheese you’d like.
I love how quick and easy it is to make, too – you literally just dump a bunch of ingredients into a pot and cook it for a bit, and it’s ready to serve with tortilla chips, poured over nachos, etc. It’s perfect for a party or social gathering, requiring almost no effort and not much time at all. That means less time preparing, more time hanging with friends/family and EATING!
How to make the CREAMIEST, CHEESIEST, queso:
Everything starts with a base, and I always like to build my flavors right from the beginning. It’s kind of like telling a story: you have to have a good introduction to understand the main plot and get to know the characters. By sautéing a small onion, some garlic, and a jalepeño, you’re introducing a bunch of great flavors right from the start and you know you’re on track for a pretty dang flavorful batch of queso.
- Remember to either grate the onion, or dice it very very finely. No one likes a chunky queso! It’s ok for the jalepeño to be diced a little more roughly, but since the onion is being added in such a large amount, you don’t want it to overpower the queso. I made the mistake of giving the onion just a rough chop, so I ended up using an immersion blender to correct it.
Evaporated milk is a must. Unlike regular milk, evaporated milk has had about 60% of its water content removed, resulting in a highly concentrated solution that is flavor-packed and extra creamy. This, with the addition of a little cornstarch, is the trick to getting the perfect, thick queso consistency. They usually come in 12 oz cans at the supermarket, but you can also make your own here.
All about the cheese (AKA the most important part!): Cheese is what makes queso the way it is. I mean, queso literally translates to “cheese” in Spanish! Without it, you’d be dipping your chip in a bowl of thick milk (gross, I know… sorry for the visual!) I chose a 2:1 ratio of cheddar cheese to Monterey jack. Like I said, I am by no means a cheese connoisseur, but the cheddar cheese gives it the iconic queso-y flavor and gorgeous orange color. I chose Monterey jack to compliment the sharpness of the cheddar, but you could also opt for pepperjack cheese for a little spice. The extra 2 ounces of cream cheese also give the queso a subtle tang, while also contributing to the creamy texture of the dip.
- These are my preferences, but like I mentioned above, use whatever cheeses your heart desires. Mozzarella, parmesan, or fontina would make a great white queso… I’ll be trying that combination soon!
Spice is technically “optional”… but is it, really? Queso without a kick of spice is kind of boring, in my opinion. I made a batch for my friend and I toned it down a little bit to be nice, but I personally am a big fan of a heaping spoonful of hot sauce, jalepeños, and/or chili powder. The chili powder and jalepeños are there mainly for the flavor component, but omit the hot sauce if you don’t like the added heat.
I’m so excited for you guys to try this recipe. I’m confident that it’ll be a major hit for everyone who tries it. Also kind of on a roll with the whole “cheese” thing… did you see my latest cheesecake recipe I posted last week?
I hope you all have a GREAT week. Today has been one of the better Mondays I’ve had in a while, so fingers crossed this week will be good. See ya soon!
- 1 small onion, grated or finely diced
- 1 jalepeño, seeded and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
- 2 oz cream cheese
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 tbsp hot sauce
- 1 tsp chili powder
- canned jalepeños, pico de gallo, scallions, and/or cilantro to garnish (optional)
- Heat a medium-sized pot over medium high heat. Add a little oil, then add grated onion, garlic, jalepeño, and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until onions are slightly browned and translucent. Add the can of evaporated milk and cornstarch, and bring to a simmer.
- With a whisk on hand, gradually add in cheddar cheese, Monterey jack cheese, and cream cheese. Whisk constantly, until the mixture is perfectly smooth and the cheese has completely melted. Turn off heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chili powder and hot sauce.
- Transfer to a serving dish and top with desired toppings. I like scallions, canned jalepeños, and a dusting of chili powder. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!