Restaurant style queso dip is SUPER easy to make at home with just a handful of ingredients. Skip the trip to the Mexican restaurant and make your favorite cheese dip at home!

restaurant style queso dip

I’m sure I’m not the only person out there who is always looking for the ever elusive queso dip that we all love from our local Mexican restaurants. As far as the easy options go in order to make it at home, there are two typical options: the jarred stuff and the block stuff to mix with salsa or Rotel. 

But you know what? This homemade version isn’t any more difficult than making queso dip with block cheese and in my opinion (and not just my opinion), it’s 100x better than either the block cheese version or the quick and dirty jarred stuff. 

A quick sauté of some diced onions and fresh pepper, melt in some shredded cheese then add some cream, tomato, and cilantro and you’ve got homemade restaurant style queso dip!

restaurant style queso dip

The key to this queso recipe is the addition of deli-sliced American cheese (don’t judge!). American cheese melts amazingly and because of this, it’s the key ingredient in my Panera mac and cheese recipe as well!

I also threw in some pepper Jack and provolone partly because they both melt really well but mostly because I didn’t have enough American in the house when I made this on a whim last weekend. My modifications to the original recipe are below. 

Once heated through (and thoroughly stirred while it’s being heated), this recipe yields a nice, creamy queso dip.  As you can see, it’s also the perfect topping for some chili nachos (game time, anyone??) and we also topped a couple of steamed hot dogs with the queso for dinner one night this week as well. 

restaurant style queso dip

And wouldn’t this spicy queso dip be an awesome way to make homemade cheese fries as well? Or as a cheese dip for soft pretzel bites?? You bet! 

Overall, this is a definite winner in our book and you certainly won’t find any other queso dip in my house from here on out.

More Mexican Dips You’ll Love:

restaurant style queso dip

Restaurant Style Queso Dip Recipe

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Restaurant style queso dip is insanely easy to make at home with just a few ingredients. Forget the Velveeta and salsa or Rotel version you've been making for years and try this awesome homemade queso!


  • 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • ¼ cup white onion, diced
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper or a medium fresh hot cherry pepper (what I used), seeds and stem removed; diced
  • 6 oz white or yellow American cheese, shredded or broken into small pieces
  • 4 oz Monterrey or pepper Jack cheese, shredded (don't use pre-shredded)
  • 4 oz provolone cheese, shredded (don't use pre-shredded)
  • ¼ to ⅔ cup cream, half-and-half, or whole milk
  • 1 small tomato, seeds removed and diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp chives, chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the onion and pepper until softened and reduce heat to medium-low.
  2. Add the shredded cheese and ¼ cup of the cream. Stir until mostly melted.
  3. Add the tomatoes, cilantro, and additional cream a little at a time until you reach desired consistency.
  4. Serve hot with tortilla chips or soft pretzel bites or as a topping for chili, nachos, hot dogs, French fries, etc.


adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

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Leave a Comment

  • September 8, 2011 at 7:00 AM

    I’ve made (almost) this same dip before, I think from Annie’s site… to die for!

  • September 8, 2011 at 7:44 AM

    Mmm I LOVE queso! This will be perfect for footballl parties!

  • September 8, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    I love queso dip, this looks absolutely delicious – the kind that I could sit and eat the whole batch in one sitting. I’ve got to try it!

  • September 8, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    I am a sucker for nachos, and those look so so good. I’ve been wanting to make this queso ever since Shawnda posted it too, so maybe I’ll give in this weekend.

  • September 8, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    Glad you like the queso! That first picture made my heart flutter. And now I want nachos. Or cheese fries. Or a hot dog. I can’t decide.

  • September 8, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    It is football season Greenbay plays New Orleans tonight. This is what I call great football food. I bookmarked it for later. Thanks for sharing.

  • September 8, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    Just in time for football season!! YES

  • September 8, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    YUMMY! I can’t wait to make this for the next Gator game!

  • September 8, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    Yum! One of my favorite dishes. I know American cheese is the secret to most great quesos. Will be trying this version soon!

  • September 8, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    I’m not a fan of those jar varieties either and I know my hubby would love this. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • September 8, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    I have a friend who is obsessed with the queso dip when we go to Mexican restaurants! I am passing this on to her!! Thanks!

  • September 9, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    I used to buy both tomato and cheese dips in the supermarket. With this, I can now prepare my own queso dip suited to my taste.

  • Linley Rodda
    September 9, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    Hmmm I wish I knew the Australian versions to all those American cheeses you refer to … I absolutely love that cheese dip … But never thought of trying to find an Aussie version. Thanks for making me’ hungry AGAIN and my mouth water !!

  • September 13, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    Oh my goodness – your nachos up top look sinful and this queso sounds fabulous – like the real thing!

  • September 17, 2011 at 4:23 AM

    This looks so yummy!

  • Sara
    September 18, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Hi, this looks delicious! What is “American” cheese”? Is it something I can get in the dairy section, or should I be looking for it in at the deli counter?

    • September 18, 2011 at 5:37 PM

      Sara: In American grocery stores, you’ll be able to find it in the dairy section (in packages) and most likely also at the deli where it needs to be freshly sliced. It’s recommended to use the deli cheese for this recipe.

  • Kaitlyn
    October 27, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    Could this be made without the hot pepper or would it take away too much of the taste?

    • October 28, 2011 at 7:51 AM

      Kaitlyn: Sure, I’ve made it without the pepper and it was still great!

  • Jenn
    December 27, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    Think this could be made with low-fat cheese and half&half?? I wanted to make it healthier, but sometimes the fats are really necessary to making it creamy.

    • December 27, 2011 at 5:18 PM

      Jenn: I wouldn’t recommend low-fat cheese though half-and-half would probably work fine.

  • Jen
    May 28, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    I just made this for the first time and my cheese is not getting smooth. It is really gloppy. I used the provolone, white american, and monterey jack that was recommended and shredded them myself. Any ideas where I may have gone wrong???

    • May 29, 2012 at 7:51 AM

      Jen: I really don’t know what may have happened but sometimes if the cheese has too much moisture (like, if it’s humid in your kitchen) or if it’s added quickly/all at once, cheese sauce can get lumpy but usually a bit more stirring and some extra cream can help. I’m sorry you had issues with it, but it’s worth trying again!

  • Julie
    October 27, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Hooray! I think this will be a great alternative to the processed cheese crapa from the store. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Julie
    March 16, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Just made this and it came out great. If I could tweak 1 thing I would of liked a little more heat. think Tabasco would work? But it was great as is! I’ll be making this again! A def. keeper. Thanks!!

    • March 17, 2013 at 8:25 AM

      Definitely! Red pepper flakes would work great too!

  • taraliptak
    February 6, 2014 at 5:41 AM

    Too funny! We just made it again last weekend and couldn’t stop dipping either. 🙂

  • October 19, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    Could you add a print option to your blog?