You'll probably agree, queso tastes way better from restaurants than it does from the store, and that's because they're making it fresh to order with real ingredients. But what if you don't live near The Taco Stop? Don't worry! We're sharing an authentic cheese dip recipe so that you can make queso yourself at home!
The Origin of Queso
It is believed that queso originated in Mexico sometime in the 19th century (if not earlier), with the first recipe found in 1896. Queso blanco, or white cheese, was originally made from goat's milk. However, over time, the recipe has evolved to include cow's milk. In order to make authentic queso, use Manchego cheese. Mexican Manchego Cheese is a golden-yellow, semi-firm cheese with a slightly nutty flavor. In contrast to the Spanish version, which is made with sheep's milk, the Mexican version is made with cow's milk. If you are unable to find Mexican Manchego Cheese in Fort Collins, you can substitute White American Cheese, Cheddar, or Monterey Jack. Rather than talk more about the history of queso, let's get to the recipe!
How To Make Homemade Queso
Queso is the perfect balance of cheesy, spicy, and creamy. Making it at home is super easy! In a skillet, melt butter, then add diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, green chiles, and salsa. Over medium heat, stir well for 10 minutes. Add a splash or two of milk, and as soon as it bubbles, immediately turn the heat down to low and gradually add your cheese. Make sure all your cheese is melted by stirring frequently for about five minutes. For extra heat, garnish with diced jalapenos. That's it, whip up your own batch of queso at home and enjoy!
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium tomato, diced
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, minced
½ cup milk
1 lb Manchego cheese, substitute with White American Cheese, Cheddar, or Monterey Jack. (Don’t buy pre-shredded!)
½ can green chiles, chopped
2 tablespoons salsa
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon jalapeno, diced and used as a garnish for extra heat
How Long Can Queso Be Kept in the Fridge?
Once you've made your queso, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. However, queso is best when eaten fresh. If you're looking to extend its shelf life, you can freeze queso for up to six months. Be sure to leave some space at the top of the container for expansion. When ready to serve, thaw completely and then reheat over low heat. You may need to add water or milk as it heats because liquid will evaporate during the freezing process.
My Queso Is Grainy, What Happened?
Grainy queso can be caused by a couple of different reasons. One is that you are using pre-shredded cheese. Did you know there’s an added anti-caking agent in pre-shredded cheese that prevents clumping, called cellulose. Cellulose powder is a very common food additive that keeps cheeses like shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan from clumping but also prevents optimal melting. The best way to avoid this problem is to shred or cube your own cheese and use it fresh! The other issue could be that you broke your cheese! When you rapidly overheat cheese, all of the fats separate from the protein and create a very grainy texture. To avoid this, use low heat and gently melt your cheese.
Can You Fix Grainy Queso?
In the hopes of achieving a smooth, creamy texture, remove the cheese sauce from the heat and let it cool. Vigorously whisk in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or a little cream to detangle protein molecules and eliminate the clumps. There’s no guarantee this fix will remove the curdling, but it's worth a try, good luck!
Top 4 Best Ways To Serve Queso
Queso is best-served piping hot, straight out of the skillet. Try one of these four serving suggestions:
1. Serve queso with chips and salsa for a classic appetizer combo.
2. Make quesadillas using queso in place of the usual cheese.
3. Use queso as a topping for nachos or tacos.
4. Add queso to your favorite breakfast burrito or scrambled eggs recipe.
Is This Taco Stop's Recipe for Queso?
No it’s not, we can't give away all our secrets. But the recipe above is guaranteed to please! Click the taco button in the lower right corner to place an order directly with us.