A local, very popular Mexican restaurant has a killer white queso. Queso Blanco. It’s this incredibly smooth, cheesy concoction like nothing I have ever been able to reliably replicate at home with expensive Mexican cheeses. When asked, I was told it was Monterrey Jack. But I’ve tossed enough grainy and separated queso in the trash to know that monterrey jack alone does not a good queso dip make! And now I know why. They don’t use expensive Mexican cheeses. They use white American cheese.
White American cheese. I would have never, ever guessed. It melts so smoothly, we’re talking Velveeta smooth. And using it to make a queso perfect for dipping chips requires far less bargaining with higher authorities. White American cheese is only sold at the deli counter of my HEB so I have them cut 3 slices on 10 and then shred it at home. Monterrey Jack is optional – it gives the cheese a little stretch factor but I don’t miss it when I don’t use it.
This is the queso I’ve always want to make at home without using Velveeta (don’t get me wrong, I love me some Velveeta!). This is the queso we spend far too much money on to get at a restaurant. This is the queso that I’ve attempted to blog for 4 years now. I was pretty psyched to be able to make it several times at home without a single issue. Makes me wonder if my beloved Kerbey Queso might also use white American cheese…
And if you ever find that your small crockpot is missing – or was mistakenly added to the Goodwill box – you’re not out of luck – you can use a candle warmer! I’ve used it for chocolate before and with the Super Bowl guests arriving, I was desperate. It worked beautifully! The queso stayed scoopable and I stirred it everytime I walked by to melt the skin that had formed on top. Just make sure that the bottom of your bowl is small enough to fit – it should completely rest on the warming plate and not the plastic molding around it.
Restaurant-Style Queso Blanco
Get smooth and creamy restaurant-style chile con queso at home.
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil (veggie, olive, canola - whatever you have)
- 1/4 cup white onion, diced
- 1 large jalapeno or serrano, seeds and stem removed; diced
- 12 oz white American cheese (I have the deli give me 3 slices on 10), shredded
- 4 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded (optional; don't use pre-shredded)
- 1/4-2/3 cup cream, half-and-half, or whole milk
- 1 roma tomato, seeds removed and diced
- 1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- Heat the oil in a saute pan. Cook the onion and pepper until softened and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add the shredded cheese and 1/4 cup of the cream. Stir until mostly melted.
- Add the tomatoes, cilantro, and additional cream a little at a time until you reach desired consistency.
- Serve with chips, on migas, or my favorite - a stack of still-warm homemade tortillas.
Yields: ~2 cups
Estimated time: 15 minutes