Whip up delicious skillet queso with a hint of spice in only 25 minutes. The cream cheese, yellow cheddar, and white cheddar blend together for a perfectly smooth, three-cheese classic yellow queso dip.
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Queso has to be one of my all-time favorite appetizers! A tortilla chip dipped in silky smooth cheese dip - what could be better?!
The key to making queso at home is creating something that is as good as your favorite restaurant. To me, that means queso that has a good texture, is made with high-quality cheese (no Velveeta for me) and has a little spice.
This is the best queso recipe filled with three types of cheese and a hint of spice from Mexican-made Tajín seasoning.
This entire recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes. It's the perfect skillet queso dip for a party, happy hour, or Saturday night hang out.
What You'll Learn In This Recipe
By making this Mexican-inspired queso recipe, you'll learn some helpful kitchen knowledge including:
- My favorite three types of cheese to combine for a classic yellow queso.
- Tips for making perfectly smooth and creamy queso at home.
- Why your queso may be turning out lumpy, oily, or stringy, and how to fix this issue.
If you enjoy learning tricks like these to step up your game in the kitchen, be sure to sign up for my free 5-day email series all about becoming a better home chef.
Here are the ingredients you'll need to make the skillet queso dip:
- Unsalted butter: There are many salty ingredients in this dish already. I like to balance things out by using unsalted butter.
- Garlic: Freshly minced or jarred garlic will work for this recipe.
- Whole milk: Milk is essential for thinning out the queso. Without milk, the queso would be thick and clumpy. Be sure to use whole milk for the best results.
- Cream cheese: This ingredient helps add creaminess to the queso. It melts nicely and aids in thinning out the cheddar cheeses.
- Mild and white cheddar cheese: There are two types of cheddar cheese in this recipe. The mild cheddar helps give us the classic yellow coloring of queso, while the white cheddar adds more depth of flavor.
- Tajín clásico chile lime seasoning: This seasoning is a must for perfectly spicy and flavorful queso. It just adds a bit of heat (not too much) and a hint of lime. Don't skip out on this ingredient.
- Tortilla chips: You'll want something to serve with the skillet queso. If you're looking for a healthier option, crudités work nicely.
How To Make This Recipe
1. Grab a 10 - 12 inch cast iron skillet, and melt the butter over medium-low heat. Queso needs to slowly cook on a low heat setting, so don't be tempted to increase the heat in order to speed up the process.
Once the butter is melted, add the garlic and cook it for 1 minute, just until it's fragrant.
Next, add the milk and cream cheese to the cast iron skillet.
2. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally until the cream cheese has fully melted. This process usually takes about 10 minutes.
Whisking the mixture will help break up the clumps of cream cheese and allow them to melt down. If the mixture starts to bubble (meaning it's too hot), turn the heat down to low.
3. Now, it's time to add in the cheddar cheese. Add one handful of cheese to the cast iron skillet at a time. Whisk everything together and allow the cheese to fully melt before adding another handful.
Repeat this process until you've added all the cheddar cheese (both mild and white cheddar).
4. Whisk in some Tajín clásico chile lime seasoning to the queso.
5. Finally, it's time to plate everything up! You're more than welcome to serve this dish in the cast iron skillet you made it in.
I've opted to use a smaller cast iron skillet for serving. I like to garnish with some additional Tajín seasoning, jalapeños, and cilantro. Then serve alongside your favorite tortilla chips.
Tips For Making The Best Queso At Home
Believe it or not, there are a few tricks to making smooth, melty queso. Be sure to follow these tips for the best results in this recipe, and any other queso dip you make in the future!
- Always shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese has additives to prevent the cheese from sticking together. This can inhibit the ability of the cheese to melt. For queso with a super creamy taste and texture, always buy a block of cheese and freshly shred it using a box grater.
- Use cheese that easily melts. Not all cheese is created equal. Certain cheeses melt better than others. Cheeses such as American, cheddar, or even Velveeta are popular for queso because of their superior melting abilities.
- Melt cheese at a low temperature. It takes time (and patience) to melt the cheese slowly and gently. Don't be tempted to cook on high heat. High heat will cause the cheese to curdle and become a stingy, oily mess.
First off, make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature before cooking.
While cooking the cream cheese, ensure it has fully melted and becomes incorporated with the milk. You don't want any lumps (even little ones) of cream cheese. It takes a bit of time for all of the cream cheese to fully melt. Take your time with this process!
When making stovetop queso, it's really important to melt the cheese at a low temperature. If heated at high temperatures, cheese can begin to curdle. This will cause your queso to have an unpleasant texture.
Sure! Just make sure to use a heavy bottom pan instead.
You should be able to store leftover queso in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Reheat over medium-low heat in a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom saucepan until warmed all the way through.
Pre-shredded cheese has additives to prevent the cheese from sticking together. This can inhibit the ability of the cheese to melt. For queso with a super creamy taste and texture, always buy a block of cheese and freshly shred it using a box grater.
More Appetizer Recipes
If you enjoyed this cast iron skillet dip recipe, be sure to try these other appetizers:
Cast Iron Skillet Three Cheese Queso
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 8 ounces mild cheddar cheese shredded
- 4 ounces white cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 tablespoon Tajín clásico chile lime seasoning plus more for garnish
- jalapeños for garnish
- cilantro for garnish
- tortilla chips for serving
- Melt butter in a 10 - 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium low heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add milk and cream cheese and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until the cream cheese is completely melted and no lumps remain. If the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat down to low.
- Slowly add in shredded mild cheddar and white cheddar cheese one handful at a time. Whisk the cheese, allowing it to fully melt before adding in an additional handful. Once all the cheese is completely melted, add Tajín seasoning and whisk to combine.
- Garnish with additional Tajín seasoning, as desired. Serve with tortilla chips.