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Ohhh who wants to make smooth melty perfect for dipping queso at home? If your hand isn’t up have you ever had GOOD homemade queso?
I’m talking smooth melty cheese sauce full of all mild (or spicy peppers) and spices that take your chip dipping game to the next level. And believe me, you WANT the next level.
That was MY problem. Until I made one at home, I’d never had good queso either. It was either canned pre-made or just one bad bowl of queso. That’s not what we’re making here!
Even if you plan to make this Smoked Queso Dip you’ll notice it’s slow and low!
The first time I tried queso I was in a “good” restaurant that was trying to show bloggers how amazing their food was. The queso came highly recommended as their BEST dish. When someone tells you to try a dish, you try it right?
The absolute horror of that big flat dish with a disgusting lump of hard cheese surrounded by grease stuck with me for a long time. I was so confused about what queso was actually supposed to be. We even ASKED how we were supposed to eat it too because chips were breaking and we couldn’t figure it out.
Of course, I’d had melted cheese whiz, melted Velveeta, and even a pre-mixed nacho sauce but I’d never really set out to HAVE queso until that restaurant.
Let me tell you this, that bowl of seized cheese should have been tossed out with the trash. It was the most greasy disgusting mess of ruined queso I’ve ever.
How to Make Queso
The trick to making GOOD smooth queso at home is time and patience. You can’t rush it. You can’t slap it in the microwave and cook it to death. If you do that your cheese is going to seize up and get hard and greasy.
You Don’t Want That!
So the thing is that with a little care you can avoid making terrible queso. Slow and gentle keeps you from hitting that nasty stage.
What Kind of Milk Should I Use for Homemade Queso
Whenever I’m cooking with milk on the stove I tend to use evaporated milk. It doesn’t have that tendency to get overheated and curdle like milk and even cream can do.
Since we’re already keeping the heat low on the queso you probably don’t have to worry too much but I like to be 100% sure I don’t end of with some weird curdled milk feel in my dishes. Evap milk is just smoother and creamier to start with so it’s just about perfect in ANY stovetop dish with milk in it.
Am I Making a Cheese Sauce for Queso?
Well yes and no. You ARE making a cheese sauce, but not the kind you’re thinking of. This isn’t a traditional white sauce like you make for macaroni and cheese or anything like that. That is not what queso is!
We do add a little flour to help the cheese sauce be a little more stable. It just helps. If you’re gluten-free you can sub in corn starch instead. Either one will work perfectly.
Love making your OWN snacks? Try these recipes!
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- 1-2 Tablespoons of minced jalapeños OR 1-2 TBSP mild green bell peppers, choose your spice level!
- 1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
- 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, you can use just about ANY cheddar you have on hand
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- pinch of cayenne if you need more heat
- warm the oil in a small skillet over low medium-low heat
- when it's warm add the pepper and let it cook gently for 3-4 minutes until soft
- warm the milk over medium-low heat, never boiling, just warming
- toss the flour with the cheese
- when the milk is warm sprinkle in some of the cheese
- stir to combine
- add the spices and sauteed peppers, and stir to combine
- slowly add the cheese stirring well with each addition
- once all the cheese has been added just keep stirring until the sauce is completely melted and has come together in a thick glorious dippable sauce
- use a chip or two to check for salt levels, add as needed
- now is the time to check for spice levels, do you want that cayenne? does it need more cumin or any other spices? add and adjust as desired
- serve with tortilla chips
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