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Chile Con Queso

Made with real cheese this Chile con Queso is incredibly creamy and packed with poblanos, green chilis and onions. It’s a smokey and spicy one-pot dip. Topped with fresh pico de gallo and herby cilantro, for the perfect appetizer!

Easy Chile Con Queso Recipe

This chile con queso with sharp cheddar, savory Monterey Jack, and browned onions is a warm and melty dip everyone will love! Served with corn chips and refreshing pico de gallo, it’s a Tex-Mex fiesta in a bowl.

With lots of butter for richness, the yellow onions, fragrant garlic, and sweet poblanos are sautéed until nice and softened. A splash of milk also brings everything together right before the blend of classic cheeses is added. For extra creamy goodness and a bit of tang, don’t forget the cream cheese. Mixing in hearty refried beans or chorizo also takes it to the next level.

Simmered until you get a lovely cheese-pull, smokey cumin, chili powder, and spicy green chilies are added right before serving. Topped with crispy bacon or chicharron for extra flavor, it’s a comforting appetizer that’ll hit the spot every time.

Dipping the corn chip into chile con queso.

Why You’ll Love This Chile Con Queso Dip

Chile con queso, or “queso”, is one of the best appetizers you can serve at dinner parties. Who doesn’t love melty cheese on a corn chip?

  • Healthy. There are no funny or strange ingredients in this recipe, only cheese, veggies, milk, and spices.
  • Fresh. You won’t have to worry about this queso sitting in a restaurant pot for days before it’s served. You know exactly when you made it.
  • Easy. Stir until the cheese is nice and melty. That’s it! You don’t need to do much for this satisfying recipe.
  • Great for gatherings. With a generous amount of tortilla chips, this queso will be a hit at all your gatherings.
Bowl of chile con queso with pico de gallo.

What is Chile Con Queso?

Chile con queso is a popular Tex-Mex appetizer/dip made with melty cheese and chopped chilis. The name means “chili with cheese” in Spanish. The dip is served warm and has a combination of cheeses like cheddar, Monterey Jack, chihuahua, etc. They’re melted down with a bit of milk until nice and smooth. For more flavor, other ingredients like chopped onions, garlic, and ground cumin are often added. Toppings like pico de gallo and chicharron are common but not necessary.

Ingredients for chile con queso.

Recipe Ingredients

It’s packed with Tex-Mex ingredients like cheddar, cumin, chilies, and garlic. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

  • Unsalted butter – If you use salted butter, reduce the salt in the rest of the recipe.
  • Yellow onion – White onion is a good swap. No red onion, please.
  • Poblano – Feel free to use frozen as long as it’s thawed.
  • Garlic – Don’t use garlic powder because it’ll make the queso grainy.
  • All purpose flour – Cornstarch works too.
  • Milk – I used 2% but use your favorite except for plant-based.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese – Mild cheddar is a good swap.
  • Monterey Jack cheese – Pepper Jack adds a bit of heat if you prefer.
  • Cream cheese – You can use full-fat or low-fat.
  • Ground cumin – You can also use an equal amount of paprika or taco seasoning.
  • Chili powder – Cayenne pepper is a great option and so are red pepper flakes.
  • Green chilies – Serrano and jalapeño are perfect for this. Try to use fresh and not canned.
  • Salt – I prefer kosher salt. Himalayan salt works too.
  • Cilantro – You can leave this out if you want, but please don’t swap it for fresh parsley because it has a refreshing, minty flavor.
  • Pico de gallo This is an optional topping.
Overhead photo of chile con queso dip.

How To Make Chile Con Queso

As long as you don’t keep the queso in the heat forever, you’ll be fine. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.

  • Cook the veggies. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter, onion, poblano, and garlic. Stir well and sautée for 3-4 minutes or until the onions have softened.
  • Make the roux. Sprinkle in the flour and mix well until the veggies are completely coated. Pour in the milk and continue to combine until the mixture thickens slightly.
  • Add the cheeses. Add in the cheddar, Monterey Jack, and cream cheese. Mix and cook everything at low heat. Stir occasionally until the cheese is melty. Remove it from the heat immediately.
  • Add the spices. Add the cumin, chili powder, and green chilies. Mix well. Add the cilantro and season with salt to taste.
  • Serve. Top it with pico de gallo, serve warm, and enjoy.
A corn chip in queso dip with pico de gallo.

Tips & Variations

You can improve any chile con queso recipe with these easy tips and variations.

  • Add protein. Chorizo and ground beef are great protein options you can mix in or add as a topping.
  • Swap the cheese. Chihuahua, gouda, mozzarella, and Tex-Mex cheese mixes are a great swap for the cheeses in this recipe. Make sure they’re melty!
  • Don’t overheat. Keeping the queso in the pot for too long or microwaving it for a long time can cause the cheese mixture to become grainy and separate. Always keep an eye on your queso.
  • Make it spicy. Aside from adding more green chilies, swapping the Monterey Jack for Pepper Jack cheese will also give this recipe a kick of heat.
  • Add more toppings. Crispy bacon, crumbled chicharron, and sliced avocado are great topping options for more flavor.
  • Bean-queso dip. Stir in 1/2 cup of your favorite refried beans to make a bean-queso variation of this recipe.
Dipping a corn chip into queso with pico de gallo.

Serving Suggestions

This chile con queso with corn chips is a great starter for your Taco Tuesday dinners. Serve it with Homemade Salsa on the side for extra Mexican vibes. As for taco ideas, try my Ground Beef Tacos, Pork Carnitas Tacos, or Steak Street Tacos. If you’re looking for a chicken recipe, go for my Chicken Street Tacos with Street Corn.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Once fully cooled, refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Keep it away from direct heat or sunlight when on the counter for reheating or serving. To reheat it, sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon of milk and microwave it for 30 seconds. Stir and heat for another 30 seconds or until warm. You can also heat it in a pot over medium-low heat for 7-8 minutes.

More Mexican Recipes To Try

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Bowl of chile con queso with pico de gallo.

Chile Con Queso

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  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1416 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Stove-top
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex


Made with two types of cheese, this spicy chile con queso is a creamy, velvety dip with sweet poblano peppers and fresh pico de gallo.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 large poblano, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 4 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 oz. green chilies
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, diced
  • optional: top with fresh pico de gallo


  1. Heat a large nonstick pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Add butter, onion, poblano and garlic to the pan. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent.
  3. To the vegetables, add in the flour. Stir to coat the vegetables and make a quick roux, then slowly add in milk, stirring the entire time.
  4. Next, add in the cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese and cream cheese. Cook at low heat and continue to stir throughout until the cheese is melted and smooth
  5. Once smooth, add in the cumin, chili powder, green chilies and finish with fresh cilantro and salt to taste.
  6. Top with fresh pico de gallo.

**Transfer to a small crockpot to keep warm during a party.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 196
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 320 mg
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated Fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Cholesterol: 50 mg

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