Okay. So. It’s not exactly news that I’m not a huge fan of Mexican food in Louisiana (well, where I live in Louisiana–I’m willing to bet that there are other parts of Louisiana that have delicious Mexican food, but alas, they are not here.
One of the things I love about living where we do is our close proximity to Texas. We make several Texas trips every year and every time we do, we pretty much exclusively eat Mexican, Tex-Mex, Fresh-Mex, anything we can get our hands on.
Mock me if you want, but I have only recently discovered white queso dip. In case you’re also unfamiliar with it, it’s usually kind of a thin, white, melty, cheesy dip that you use for tortillas chips. I like it better than the yellow nacho-y cheese dip, but really, it’s melted white American cheese.
And then…then…I tried one with lime and garlic and cilantro and it was like it was made for me or something. Forget every other condiment that came with our food, this is what I dipped my chips in and drizzled over my tacos. Then I spent a lot of time thinking about the cheese dip, which, you know, is kind of okay for a food blogger, but still a tiny bit weird.
I found some of that White Velveeta at the grocery store and I started with that, but then I realized that while American/processed cheese toes all sorts of lines when it comes to being classified as food and sometimes I can be okay with that, it wasn’t okay here. It got all weird and gelatinous and jiggly and I knew I needed to explore other avenues.
After some light stalking of my friend Penny, I discovered that you can buy chunks of Land O’ Lakes American cheese, white or yellow, in the deli department of your grocery store and use it in dips like this. So I sought out some deli white American cheese. I couldn’t find any Land O’ Lakes, but the stuff I did find was infinitely better than the shelf-stable jiggle cube.
To get started, you’re going to need a pound of white American cheese and a 1 1/4 cups of your favorite green salsa (if you’re feeling especially domestic, you could use this or this recipe, but I’ll be honest and say that a) I used the store-bought stuff and b) I kind of preferred it.)
Cut the cheese into 1″ cubes and place them in a medium microwave-safe bowl (or a double boiler).
Add 1/3 cup hot water and 1 1/4 cups green salsa.
Heat the cheese, water, and salsa in 30 second increments, stirring each time, until melted and smooth. You can add more water if necessary to reach the desired consistency. If you’re making it in a double boiler, just make sure you’re stirring it constantly, especially scraping the sides and bottom to prevent burning.
While the cheese is melting, mince 2 cloves of garlic, 2 green onions, and cut lime in half.
When the dip has reached a smooth consistency, whisk in the minced garlic, green onions, and lime zest. Serve immediately, or keep warm in a crock pot set to the low or warm setting. Technically serves about 16, but one hungry man or angry woman could probably eat the whole thing once they started. Naturally, it’s awesome on chips, but it’s also a surprisingly delicious dip for fresh, crunchy veggies.
Recipe by Our Best Bites
1 pound white American cheese (look for it in the deli section of your grocery store), cut into 1″ cubes
1 1/4 cups of your favorite green salsa
1/3 cup hot water (add more if needed to reach desired consistency)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, minced
Zest of 1 lime
In a medium, microwave-safe bowl combine the cheese cubes, water, and the salsa. Heat in 30 second increments, stirring each time, until melted and smooth. You can add more water if necessary. This step can also be done over a double boiler if you stir it constantly.
When the dip has reached a smooth consistency, whisk in the minced garlic, green onions, and lime zest. Serve immediately, or keep warm in a crock pot set to the low or warm setting. Technically serves about 16, but one hungry man or angry woman could probably eat the whole thing once they started.
I had a couple of friends for dinner tonight and made this AMAZING queso. They gobbled it right up and were asking me for the recipe! I love that it was so easy to make and delicious to eat.
This was my appetizer to y’alls Green Chile Chicken and Rice which everyone also enjoyed very, very much! Happy and satisfied friends equals a happy and satisfied me.
Can’t thank you two enough for all the recipes, especially that y’all have picture by picture steps (MY FAVORITE!!)
Thanks so much for the recipe~ making it today!
Also where did you get the cute little Le Creuset bowl?
I love this recipe. I made what I call a Cancun Burrito. I mixed up a tasty chicken taco mixture. Roll it up in a tortilla shell and smother it in thinned queso verde sauce. Then microwave just briefly. My friends and family were licking their plates clean. To make a smooth queso I microwave every thing together until the cheese is soft not melted Then I use my stick blender and blend it all together. Works every time. No curdling, not grainy just wonderful sauce.
I’ve always wanted to make my own queso and this did not disappoint! My husband was in heaven! I’m not a fan of those yellow cheese dips so this was perfect!
There’s a Mexican place here in San Diego called Miguel’s Cocina. When you sit down, they give you a basket of chips and their heavenly jalapeno cheese sauce. This dip reminded me of it and I’m definitely going to try this recipe. Thanks!
My queso recipe is similar,however I don’t worry about getting blocks of the white american, the slices tear into little pieces very easily for easy melting.
I made this this weekend and it was DEE-licious…however, the texture was terrible for me! Grainy or curdle-ish…not glorious and drippy and melty at all!! How many trips through the microwave did yours take? Mine took quite a few. In fact after the first few trips with no melting, I threw in a couple of one-minute bouts – also with little affect – before ending with another couple of 30 seconds. This COULD have been a problem becuase my cubes were not uniform in consistency?? (I got a deal on cheese “ends” so most were 1 inch but a few were much thinner. And it was Land o Lakes….)
Sometimes the humidity/atmosphere affects my melting abilities – like, some days I can melt chocolate in the microwave like a champ, and other days the same method produces a dry lumpy mess…..same with cheese??? Again – super yummy and people ate it up anyway 🙂
🙁 it was going good until I whisked in the garlic and lime juice. It immediately curdled and I can’t seem to whisk that out. I tried putting it back in the microwave but no luck. I did use the Land O Lakes white American cheese and the Herdez Salsa Verde. It tastes great but isn’t very pleasing to the eye. Any advice? BTW love your site and recipes…I have three recipes on deck for this week’s menu!!!
I had the exact same thing happen so interested in any replies. I’m glad to know it wasn’t just me 🙂
So I tried this again and I think I know why it curdled. I melted the cheese in the microwave but once it was melted enough that I knew I could stir it the rest of the way smooth I poured it into the cold crock pot bowl and then finished stirring and added the garlic and lime juice. This kept the temperature of the cheese down and prevented the curdling. I think my problem before was that after so much time in the microwave the bowl eventually got too hot and the cheese curdled.
Can I prepare this ahead of time and then just heat it up a few hours later?
Love your Recipies!
SO is the white cheese your buying just normal cheese that didn’t have the yellow Annatto dye added? I make my own cheddar cheese and always leave it natural with out the dye. I also make my own Salsa Verde from tomatillos. Wondering if I can use my own stuff? Would love to make this for my husband.
I absolutely love salsa verde…and now you’ve combined it with another love, queso. I have got to try this asap. I’m sure it’s delicious. It would be a great addition to homemade burrito bowl night!
I grew up in Austin and now in Lafayette. Mexican food in Louisiana is a struggle sometimes! We have a few good ones here, but recently. The further north you are in Louisiana the further you are from anything that isn’t a chain restaurant. Sorry for your location 🙂 can’t wait to try the recipe
Sounds delish, but I was just wondering, you mentioned cilantro in the write up at the beginning of the post, but I didn’t see it on the recipe. Of course since I live in Texas I know I can just add some if I want to. I just didn’t know if you meant to include it. I love your recipes by the way!
Yes! Most green salsa has cilantro in it and I found that adding extra was a little overpowering, BUT if you find you’d like a little more cilantro flavor, you can add just a little bit of minced cilantro.
I’m so torn between the amazing, creamy deliciousness of this dip and the healthy and delicious-in-a-different-way chicken salad that Sara posted. Would it undo all the health benefits of the salad if I ate it with chips and white queso on the side? I guess it would still be better than eating chips and white queso with nothing on the side. 🙂
Omigosh!!! I am headed to the store to get the ingredients for this tomorrow!!! I could eat Mexican food daily.
This looks amazing! I love white queso and I love that it is make with real cheese 🙂
Check to see if you are getting, “American cheese”, or “cheese food”, or “cheese product”. The label is required and they are all quite different. Of course the real cheese is more costly but it is the real thing.
Yes, definitely. You won’t go wrong with the big cheese brands (like Boar’s Head or Land O’ Lakes) and even Walmart has a great house brand. As long as, when you cut it, it has kind of a “cheesey” texture and doesn’t look like Jell-O, you should be good. 🙂
Do you know the sodium content?
I don’t–it will largely depend on the brand of cheese and the brand of salsa you use, so it could really vary from person to person and I’m hesitant to calculate it myself, lest I give someone a heart attack. 🙂
I don’t know where in LA you live, but we’ve got some pretty good Mexican/Central American/Tex Mex choices in Shreveport! It’s pretty much the only food we eat out except for sushi. This looks delicious, and I would have never thought to use the American cheese from the deli. I can’t wait to try it!
We’re down in Central Louisiana, which seems to be kind of a black hole when it comes to good restaurants. I’ve never been up to Shreveport (and we’ve lived here 6 years…yikes!), but if I’m ever that way, I’m coming to you for recommendations. 🙂
Ahh, yes. I’ve lived here most of my life, so I am very familiar with the central la sparsity. I guess that’s a word. My husband went to school in Natchitoches and visiting him was super fun– dates at the sonic or huddle house. Yum. I’m happy to help if you ever make it up here!
“One hungry man or angry woman”… Hilarious. Probably because when I’m angry, I clean and eat. When my hubby comes home to a spotless house and me on the couch with a bag of chips, he knows I must be mad!! 😉
Thanks for the nutritional information – love it! But I’m sure I’ll love this dip more!
Ok- this is more of a velveeta question than a dip comment (although I can’t wait to try it!). My daughter is an extremely “selective” (read picky!) eater and one of the only things she will consistently eat is macaroni and cheese (and I sneak puréed veggies of ALL kinds in. I used to make it with velveeta but am trying to use less processed stuff and more “real” foods so I tried Mac n cheese w milk and cheddar for her – let’s just say it was not a hit! My question is this: would yellow or white American cheese from the deli be a better option for this application as well? Thanks in advance for your expertise!
Definitely. American cheese is designed to melt easily, so it’s great for dips, sauces, soups, etc. The stuff from the deli has a texture more similar to “regular” cheese, but it melts beautifully. 🙂
You gotta tell me, is this based off of Chuy’s dip?
Ha! Actually, it was Pappasito’s, but since they seem to be head-to-head rivals, I’m guessing they’re pretty similar! 🙂
Mmmmmm…Pappasitos is my absolute favorite!!!! In my opnion they are WAY better than Chuys.
This looks delicious! I’ll have to make it the next time I’m craving something spicy to go with my chips! 🙂
Love! Very excited to try this, this weekend! We are having a football party and what kind of football party would it be if there were no chips or dip!!! Thanks! Now to just convince my husband. He is a lover of processed food. But you should know he asks for your guys’s Taquitos ALL THE TIME!
Thank you so much for posting a queso recipe that is not made with velveeta! I am so excited to try it. I think this will be a great addition to my Super Bowl menu.
Go ahead and roast a (or three) hatch chile or a poblano to add to that!
We live in Austin, and the queso is still hit and miss. I’m so excited to try this one, because I too, was seriously disappointed by queso made with Velveeta. So gross!
I’ve checked our deli area for White American cheese before and could’t find any, but I didn’t check behind the counter.
Yes, check it out for sure! They even had some at our Walmart. 🙂
Oh this looks so good. I love Mexican food, and this looks like it is so easy to prepare. I don’t know if you’ve tried Boar’s Head American cheese. It is amazing and I bet this dip will be delicious with it. Thanks for the recipe Kate!