Chili con Queso Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 20 min.
This chile con queso recipe has a seriously cheesy vibe and packs the perfect level of heat. Serve it as an appetizer dip, or drizzle it over chips to make a knockout plate of nachos.

Updated: Mar. 08, 2024

When you’re in the mood for a cheesy snack or a plate of nachos, it’s hard to beat chile con queso. This creamy, cheesy dip is a party favorite for a reason! Sure, you could reach for a jar of store-bought queso, but convenience can’t replace the creamy texture and complex flavors of the real-deal homemade dip.

Many chile con queso recipes are made with Velveeta cheese, but we make our version the old-fashioned way, with shredded cheese and milk. A little cornstarch thickens the sauce so it’s thick enough to scoop (but not so firm that it’ll break a delicate tortilla chip). If you’re specifically looking for a Velveeta-based dip, check out our loaded cowboy queso recipe.

Chile Con Queso Ingredients

Green chilli, onion and other ingredients on a wooden table to prepare Chili Con Queso TMB Studio

  • Green chiles: Canned green chiles are usually Anaheim peppers, a mild type of pepper that’s not nearly as spicy as jalapenos. You can keep the spice level down by using the “mild” cans. Or, to ramp up the heat, reach for the can labeled as “hot.”
  • Onion: Chopped onion adds depth to chile con queso. The onion softens as it cooks, so it shouldn’t be too noticeable for picky eaters. If you’re worried, dice it very finely (or grate it on a box grater), and its texture will basically disappear.
  • Milk: Whole milk is a great option here, but you can use low-fat milk if you prefer. For a richer flavor, swap in half-and-half or heavy cream.
  • Cornstarch: This gluten-free thickener gives the queso its signature glossy sheen.
  • Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses: This cheese blend makes for great melting. The cheddar brings sharp flavor while Monterey Jack adds a mild creaminess.

Directions

Step 1: Saute the veggies

Cooking onion and garlic in a sauce panTMB Studio

In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute until tender. Add the chiles. Cook and stir for five minutes.

Step 2: Add the milk and cornstarch

Pouring milk in onions and garlic in a saucepanTMB Studio

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and milk until smooth. Stir the mixture into the onion mixture. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened, one to two minutes.

Step 3: Stir in the cheeses

Cheese milk and onion mixture in a saucepanTMB Studio

Reduce the heat to low. Gradually stir in the shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, adding cheese in small amounts and letting the cheese melt between additions. Serve warm with chips. If desired, top with tomato, jalapeno and cilantro.

Editor’s Tip: Keep the heat low as you whisk in the cheese. Too much heat can cause the sauce to break, creating a grainy, clumpy mess. If the queso does happen to break, don’t despair. You can blend it with an immersion blender to restore its silken texture.

Chili Con Queso in a big bowl served with chips and drinkTMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Spice it up: There are so many ways to spice up queso dip. Add chopped jalapeno or serrano chiles, hot sauce, canned corn, salsa or fire-roasted diced tomatoes. Some additions may also add liquid, so adjust the amount of cornstarch as needed.
  • Make it heartier: Add drained and rinsed black beans, or make a meaty chile con queso recipe with cooked ground beef, turkey or chorizo sausage.
  • Adjust the consistency: If the sauce is too thick for your liking, whisk in extra milk. To make it thicker, create a slurry by combining 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons milk. Return the mixture to the queso. Cook and stir until the desired consistency is achieved.

How to Store Chile Con Queso

Store chile con queso in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat the dip in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop. Keep the heat low, and stir constantly to prevent the dip from separating as it reheats.

Can you freeze chile con queso?

We don’t recommend freezing this chile con queso recipe. Cornstarch doesn’t freeze well and develops a spongy texture when it thaws.

Chile Con Queso Tips

Chili Con Queso served with chips in a plate with a drink TMB Studio

What is chile con queso?

Chile con queso is a popular Tex-Mex dish that’s often served as an appetizer dip with tortilla chips. It’s made with cheese and chiles (usually mild green chiles like Hatch or Anaheim). Some recipes also contain chunky salsa or diced tomatoes.

What do you serve with chile con queso?

Serve chile con queso with crispy tortilla chips, corn chips or sliced baguette. If you want to serve the dip with other appetizers, create a trio of dips by pairing it with guacamole and pico de gallo. Just before serving, feel free to garnish the dip with fresh toppings like chopped tomato, red or green onions, minced cilantro or sliced jalapeno peppers.

What else can you do with chile con queso?

Chile con queso is typically served as a creamy appetizer dip, but you can use it in any recipe that calls for cheese sauce. Use it to make queso baked nachos, or drizzle the sauce over potatoes for loaded tater tots.

Chile con Queso

Prep Time 20 min
Yield 24 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Tortilla chips
  • Optional: Chopped tomato, sliced jalapeno pepper, and minced cilantro

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat; saute onion and garlic until tender. Add chiles; cook and stir 5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and milk until smooth; stir into onion mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to low; gradually stir in cheeses, adding in small amounts and allowing cheese to melt between additions. Serve warm with chips. If desired, top with tomato, jalapeno and cilantro.

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 103 calories, 8g fat (5g saturated fat), 24mg cholesterol, 164mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 5g protein.

Years ago, my husband invented this gooey cheese dip. I may be biased, but I have to say it's excellent. If you like heat, rev it up with finely chopped jalapenos. —Patricia Leinheiser, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Recipe Creator