The Big Texas Cookbook: Queso

This recipe is from The Big Texas Cookbook.

Likely a descendant of queso flameado, the "flamed cheese" of northern Mexico, chili con queso might as well be its own food group in this state. The ridiculously gratifying Tex-Mex fondue is a fixture on restaurant menus and an honored guest at any gathering. But home cooks trying to make something other than the Velveeta standby are often confounded by the whole affair, their hard work resulting in either an oil slick or something akin to igneous rock. The fact is, like it or not, the creamy queso most of us know and love is made with processed cheese. We hope that doesn’t offend your Epicurean sensibilities.  

Makes 1 big bowl of Queso

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 1 poblano chile, stem and seeds removed, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño chile, stem and seeds removed, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (1-pound) brick processed cheese, such as Velveeta, cut into cubes
  • 1 (10-ounce) can tomatoes and chiles, such as Ro-Tel
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Colby cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro and hot sauce, for garnish

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, poblano chile, and jalapeño chile; stir until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. A handful at a time, add the processed cheese and stir, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Add the tomatoes and chiles and stir to combine. Finally, add the shredded cheese and stir until melted.

Serve immediately in a large bowl topped with cilantro and hot sauce. 

Alternatively, the queso can be held in a slow cooker set to warm.