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Tex Mex Queso

Today I have a treat for all of the Texas expats! For many years I have been on the ultimate journey to create the perfect tex mex queso, a bowl of cheesy deliciousness that I love to have with my chips and salsa.

The BEST Tex Mex Queso - made WITHOUT Velveeta and Rotel. This recipe is just like what you find in restaurants.

So we all know this is just a big bowl of cheese, right? I say I make it only for special occasions, it is a massive hit at parties, but since I originally published this recipe over a year ago (as of this writing) I’ve found myself making it again and again. It’s so good, it is definitely worth my thunder thighs.

Please heed this warning: do not, do not use Velveeta. To really get the most out of this recipe, I recommend getting your cheese from the deli counter.

I also learned a neat trick a few months ago about determining the level of heat in a jalapeno. For a milder pepper, you want a green, smooth surface. The more striations (dry, brown, veiny looking things, like stretch marks) on the pepper, the hotter it will be.

The BEST Tex Mex Queso - made WITHOUT Velveeta and Rotel. This recipe is just like what you find in restaurants.

I used a rather hot jalapeno in this dip, but that is just my taste and I found that it did not overpower the cheese at all.

It actually brought a really nice flavor! Check out this link for more information on choosing peppers. The same theory can be applied to watermelons too, FYI. The more striations, the sweeter it will be.

This Tex Mex Queso is excellent for any party, football spread, or just pairing with a fajita night! I love it and I hope you do too!

Here are some of my other awesome Tex Mex recipes to round out your meal or party!

Fajita Marinade

Stuffed, Deep Fried Avocado

Creamy Salsa Verde

Cheesy Spinach Quesadillas

Black Bean Soup

Queso Flameado


Chilaquiles Verdes

PS – Can you tell I love Tex Mex?

Until next time. x

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Tex Mex Queso

The BEST Tex Mex Queso - made WITHOUT Velveeta and Rotel. This recipe is just like what you find in restaurants.

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The BEST Tex Mex Queso - made WITHOUT Velveeta and Rotel. This recipe is just like what you find in restaurants.

Tex Mex Queso

The BEST Tex Mex Queso – made WITHOUT Velveeta and Rotel. This recipe is just like what you find in restaurants.

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x


  • 1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, diced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 lb yellow american cheese, sliced from the deli counter
  • handful of chopped fresh cilantro (about 10-15 sprigs)
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and jalapeño and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Pour in the half and half and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  4. Tear your cheese slices into smaller portions and gradually add them to the pot, stirring constantly. Do not add more cheese until the previous slices have already mostly melted and combined.
  5. (Optional) Add more half and half to achieve your desired consistency. I prefer mine a little thicker.
  6. Stir in the cilantro and serve immediately.
  7. (Optional) Garnish with fresh pico de gallo.



  • medium saucepan
  • slow cooker (optional)

If you’d like to make this in a slow cooker, sauté the onion and jalapeños as stated above then add everything – half & half, cheese, onion and jalapeños to the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours. 1x recipe will work in a 1.5qt slow cooker. Stir every 30 minutes – 1 hour. After 2 hours turn it down to warm and stir in the cilantro and pico de gallo.

I love the heat the whole jalapeños bring. If you prefer a mild queso, core them.

You can order a 1 lb block of American cheese at the deli counter and shred it instead, if you don’t want to tear up the slices.

  • Author: Sarah | Away From the Box
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dips
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: tex mex queso, chile con queso, restaurant style queso, texas style queso

The BEST Tex Mex Queso - made WITHOUT Velveeta and Rotel. This recipe is just like what you find in restaurants.

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Originally published May 27, 2016

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  1. I need to make a large crockpot amount. I having 40 people for nachos and taco bar. How many times should 2X, 3X 4X the recipe. Mary

    1. Hi Mary. This recipe makes about 3 cups of queso. Assuming 1/3 cup per person is an adequate serving (for most people it is, but this stuff always goes quick at my parties) I would 5x the recipe to be safe, and to account for any that might be stuck to the bottom and sides of crock pot, etc. However, if you think a smaller serving would suffice for the type of people you are hosting, you could get away with just doing 4x the recipe and thinning it slightly with more of the half & half.

      I hope your guests like it! Mine always go crazy for it.

  2. Was considering making this for my NYE party…but it would be a food that would sit out all night for people to munch on throughout the night. Has anyone tried this recipe like that or does this really need to be served immediately after combining?

  3. This looks delicious. Your recipe says,to serve immediately. I would like to take this to a party. Can I make it ahead and heat it up? Thanks

  4. Why choose to use America cheese?
    I’m going to make this today for a small group. I’ll let you know how things go.


    1. Hi Kate! Thanks for stopping by. American cheese is what is most commonly used in Tex Mex restaurants. I’ve tried all different types and variations of cheeses and American is what gives the smoothest consistency. Sometimes using a harder cheese will make it stringy. The key is to use the type from the deli counter and not Velveeta or Kraft singles, as both of those are awful (in my opinion) in both texture and flavor. The restaurants themselves typically use food service brand cheese.

      I hope you all enjoy it! It is always a hit in my house.

    1. Half and half is not the cheese. It’s typically used as coffee creamer or in recipes. It’s richer than regular milk.

    2. This is an excellent queso recipe. I grew up in Texas and was raised on the stuff and this is the real deal. I also used to work at Uncle Julio’s in college and this is very close to their recipe.

      Thank you for taking the time to post this.

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