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Basic Texas-Style Queso

Basic Texas-Style Queso


  • 3/4 pound (12 ounces) extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 3 cups)

  • 6 ounces Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (half a palmful) ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon pimentón (smoked sweet paprika)

  • About 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 small onion, grated or minced, with its juice

  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced

  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies, drained


Combine cheeses and toss with cornstarch and dried spices. Place cheeses in a heavy-bottomed pot and add milk. Place pot over medium-low heat and stir to melt, 10-15 minutes. Add onions, garlic and chilies, and reduce heat to low. Stir to combine flavors and cook onions, 10 minutes more. Keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally for 1 hour or serve in slow cooker on low setting.

Serve queso on hot dogs garnished with jalapeño chips or pickled jalapeños; build nachos with spiced ground beef or crumbled Mexican chorizo; serve with jicama, radishes and celery hearts for dipping; use as a topping for crispy Tater Tots hot from the oven or slather the queso on grilled corn.