12 Quick Queso Dip Upgrades

Ready to spice up queso dip? The home team always wins with these clever queso dip mix-ins and meal ideas.

Veggies on dip with nachos on sideLauriPatterson/Getty Images

We love grabbing a bag of tortilla chips and a jar of our favorite store-bought queso dip for a quick snack. But sometimes convenience doesn’t replace that cheesy, savory craving that we’re wanting from homemade queso.

If you have a jar of queso dip in your cabinet that’s lacking flavor or you want a way to easily prepare an appetizer for get-togethers, try one of these quick and easy upgrades. They’ll help you transform your jarred cheese dip into a loaded, meal-worthy dip in just a few minutes.

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Dip with Nachos on side

Add Your Favorite Pepper

Top your queso with jalapeños, serranos, cayennes or other hot peppers, like we did in this chili con queso recipe. Leave the seeds and membrane intact, as shown in the sliced peppers, for more heat; discard them and chop peppers for a milder result.

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Dip with pepperoni on top

Sprinkle on Pizza Toppings

Add a little pizza-zz to your hot cheese dip by layering on your favorite pizza toppings. Start by spreading a mild queso dip in a baking dish, add toppings like black olives and pepperoni, then bake until golden brown. Serve with breadsticks, garlic bread or toasted Italian bread.

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Hot sauce in dip

Spice It Up with Hot Sauce

Mix two legendary dips into one—buffalo chicken dip and cheese dip. Start by adding a few (or a lot of) dashes of Louisiana hot sauce. Then stir in a couple handfuls of cooked chicken and you get this heavenly buffalo chicken dip. Serve it with celery, chips or crackers for a satisfying scoop.

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Beans on dip

Stir in Beans

Looking to bulk up your queso dip without having to cook something? Try adding a can of beans, like kidney, white, black or refried beans to make a satisfying dip. You’ll want to heat up the beans in the microwave before adding them to the dip for an all-around enjoyable experience.

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Dip with nachos

Start with Chili

Use up a few of your canned goods lying in your cabinet with this idea. Reach for a simple can of chili, then melt in Velveeta cheese for a cheesy chili dip. Pair it with tortilla chips on the side or make a walking taco by using small bags of Fritos.

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Sauté onion in a pan
Mindstyle/Getty Images

Toss in Cooked Veggies

This is one simple way to sneak in your vegetable servings for the day—cover them in cheese! Saute veggies such as chopped onions and bell peppers and add them to your queso dip. It’ll add a little extra crunch and flavor to an ordinary jar of queso, a truly simple upgrade for any dip.

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Hot and Spicy Dip

Go Sweet & Smoky

Add an extra oomph to your queso dip by going with ingredients that’ll add tones of sweet and smoky flavors. Drizzle your favorite dip with taco or barbecue sauce for a sweet enhancement, then pile on chopped veggies, more cheese and crumbled cooked bacon to add a balance of savory flavors. With just a few ingredients, you get a masterpiece like this cheddar bacon dip.

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Seafood Dip

Add In Protein

Bulk up your favorite queso dip with a savory protein addition. Meat lovers go loco for queso con carne, a cheesy dip loaded with cooked taco meat. Or, for a pescatarian-friendly option, try adding in some crabmeat or chopped shrimp for a seafood-inspired cheese dip.

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Baked nachos with dip

Use It In Your Nachos

Queso and nachos were made to be put together, like in these queso baked nachos. Start by layering tortilla chips in a baking pan, then cover them in your favorite nacho fixings like ground beef, diced tomatoes and refried beans. After baking in the oven for 10-15 minutes, remove the nachos and douse ’em with warmed queso dip. Grab some forks and start digging into this unrivaled game-day grazing.

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Loaded Cowboy Queso Exps Ft22 206562 St 11 04 1

Load It Up

Take a handful of these upgrades and put them into one cheese dip! Toss in peppers, chiles, beans and meat to make a loaded cowboy queso, perfect for serving at gatherings. Or take beans, chiles, corn and chorizo for a Mexican-infused appetizer that’s a great starter for Taco Tuesdays.

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Pumpkin Dip with Nachos

Start With a Puree Base

Get a velvety smooth cheese dip by combining it with your favorite vegetable puree. Simply combine a can of pumpkin puree and your store-bought queso dip in a bowl, then heat in the microwave. Stir the ingredients together and add more time in the microwave as needed until the puree and cheese are well combined. In no time, you’ll have yourself a pumpkin queso that’s packed with autumn flavors.

Use pumpkin puree for other dips on your get-together spread, like upgrading store-bought hummus.

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Hot Dog

Make It a Meal

If you have leftovers or a few extra jars of queso dip lying around, try incorporating the cheesy sauce into your next meal. It’ll upgrade any meal, from breakfast to dinner. Ladle hot queso dip over these sloppy joe dogs, or onto po’boys, Philly cheesesteaks or even scrambled eggs tucked into a burrito.

Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a senior book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.
Ivis Estrada
Ivis Estrada is an Assistant Editor for Taste of Home. She focuses on writing lifestyle and food content and building recipe collections. Outside of work you can find her at her favorite park walking her dog, binge watching movies and writing reviews or browsing the aisles at her local bookstores.