How to Make Proper Queso Dip… (AKA: Velveeta is Not Fit For Human Consumption!)

I remember the first time I ate “American” cheese. I was visiting the USA, and went to have supper at Perkins. I ordered the exact same salad that I always ordered at home, expecting it to be, well, the same.

When I took my first bite, though… I was horrified. What I thought was shredded cheddar cheese was something… not cheese. I was informed that this was called “American cheese”, and was actually – at least partially – an oil product. Could have fooled me – I thought I was eating plastic! Either way, it was not 100% milk, as I’d always known cheese to be. As much as I loved that particular salad before that night, I’ve never ordered it since. The memory of it was forever scarred!

It would be a few years before I’d get another shock from eating a “cheese” product. Somehow, I ended up trying the premade Velveeta Shells and Cheese. I managed two bites, before I realized that it felt like the inside of my mouth was being plastinated. Was Velveeta used in the plastination process for Bodyworlds? I don’t know, but that was the first and last time I was gonna subject myself to it!

Every summer since, of course, I’ve had to gag at the commercials about making Velveeta / Rotel “queso dip”. As I visualized the damage this stuff must be doing to the innards of those poor unsuspecting bastards in the commercial, my husband would inform me that – if one grew up with Velveeta – it’s not as horrible as it comes across to my fresh, unplastinated palate.

They must put minute amounts of Rohypnol in that crap, for him to come away with THAT sort of view, on such a horrific thing.

Anyway. Yes. Velveeta is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever come across in my life. That it’s marketed as food should be *criminal*.

I admit, though – there’s a certain attraction to the idea of making super easy cheese dip, per the commercial. I’ve been meaning to post my recipe for proper cheese dip for awhile now. It’s really easy, and honestly doesn’t take much more effort than poisoning people with making it with Velveeta.

So… here it is. This is a great basic recipe, feel free to play with it. Toss in some chopped chilis (after adding the corn starch), maybe some chopped cilantro (after the cheese is all melted and smooth). It’s very adaptable!

Basic Salsa Queso Dip Recipe

½ c up milk, beer, or chicken stock
2 Tbsp corn starch
1 cup salsa of choice*
4-5 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese**

In a medium saucepan, whisk together liquid of choice and corn starch, until mixture is smooth and there are NO lumps. Add in salsa, stir until well combined.

Heat over medium, just until it comes to a simmer. Add a large handful of cheese, stir until melted. Continue adding rest of cheese – a handful at a time – stirring until it’s melted each time. Stop when dip reaches desired thickness.

Allow dip to heat for another minute or so, after the final batch of cheese. Serve warm.

* We used a less chunky salsa for this batch, I usually like to use very chunky salsa in my cheese dip recipe. Use whatever you love! Also… I’ll admit it, when I’m feeling lazy and in the mood for chili cheese dip, I’ll substitute a small order of Wendys’ chili for the salsa!

** Please use real cheese. Seriously. Tastes better if you don’t use the pre-shredded stuff, even though I tend to use it out of convenience. Also, feel free to substitute Monterey Jack – or any other cheese – for all or part of the cheese in the recipe

Want to get a bit fancier with it? Try our earlier recipe, Southwest Fondue!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Tags:

Author:Marie Porter

Marie is an award winning cake artist based in Minnesota's Twin Cities. Known as much for her delicious and diverse flavor menu as for her sugar artistry, Marie's work has graced magazines and blogs around the world. Having baked and designed for brides, celebrities, and even Klingons, Marie was proud to share her wealth of baking knowledge in her two cookbooks: "The Spirited Baker" and “Evil Cake Overlord”. Marie has also authored a book about her experiences surrounding the 2011 Minneapolis tornado: "Twisted: A Minneapolis Tornado Memoir"

26 Responses to “How to Make Proper Queso Dip… (AKA: Velveeta is Not Fit For Human Consumption!)”

  1. Wendy
    September 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Okay, here’s where I get on your shit list. While I can say nothing about Velveeta Shells & Cheese, and I do not claim that Velveeta is cheese, I will still buy it for some things. I grew up on it, and I am proud to say that I can look at the ingredient list and identify all the things in it. If the stuff that goes into it is food, then it can be considered food…but not necessarily cheese. (For the record, I grew up in a household without most beans, spices, cheeses, breads, and no mayonnaise. I’ve come a long way since then!)

    • Mandy
      February 17, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

      you have some serious issues. Just because you can identify it doesn’t mean its fit for ingestion. You can identify all the stuff in dog food too but that doesn’t mean you should eat it…

  2. September 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Wendy, you’re a geek. The whole “if I can identify it” holds NO WEIGHT AT ALL coming from someone with a good grasp of science. 😀

    Case in point: I’m sure we’re both perfectly capable of identifying everything in Teflon, also. Probably a lot of crossover with Velveeta, for that matter! 🙂

  3. Wendy
    September 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    😛 I can identify it as a food item. Things like “milk”. I don’t think the ingredients of Velveeta have changed much since I first tried it 43 years (or so) ago, and most of what is in it has been in it since it was first made in 1918.

    And they don’t add cellulose to it, which they do to most pre-shredded packaged cheeses. In my head, rats eat cellulose, people don’t!

  4. September 27, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    Wow, is this cheesy! Made some tonight, and only used 3 of the 5 called-for cups of cheese, and it was almost too cheesy. Tasty! Especially over roasted potatoes and zucchini with oregano. Looking forward to my lunch of leftovers tomorrow.

  5. Heidi
    October 31, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    Omigosh I LOVE this – can’t wait to try it! (And you are TOTALLY right about American cheese – what IS that stuff??)

  6. Heather
    November 27, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

    Velveeta and American cheese are not the same thing. Just sayin’. I will NOT eat Velveeta, but Land o’ Lakes american cheese is lovely on a grilled cheese.

    This came out well.

  7. Karla Parsons
    December 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    I like velveeta. Not more than real cheese, but I have had the velveeta/rotel dip and I think it’s perfectly fine. Maybe I’m a hillbilly, but it tastes good to me.

  8. December 23, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    While I make Velveeta cheese dip-husband loves it-I am excited to try your recipe.
    I just found your blog by way of Debbie Does Dinner, and I love it!

  9. Shannon
    February 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    I have to say this is a good and simple recipe! Husband was all about making his superbowl queso using standard velveeta and lo and behold the store was sold out.. Darn right? Anyway, tried your recipe, used most of the measurements and added some browned mild pork sausage and it came out nicely! Husband was impressed! Thanks! I too am against american and processed cheese. My poor coworker had no idea it wasn’t real cheese till I explained it to her and boy was she dissapointed! Thanks again!

  10. Texan chica
    February 19, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    This reminds me of those old Pace Pecante commercials:
    Cowboy 1: Cooky, this ain’t Pace Pecante Sauce! Pace Peacnte Sauce comes from San Antonio, where folks KNOW what Pecante sauce should taste like!
    Cowboy 2: This stuff’s made in New York City!
    All cowboys: NEW YORK CITY?!?!
    Dark cowboy: Get a rope.

    • Texan chica
      February 21, 2012 at 2:03 am #

      Homesick Texan blog has a much better recipe. Can’t fairly call a recipe “proper” if it doesn’t originate with a Texan!

      • February 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

        Of course there are “better” ways to make it. As you may have noticed, I posted this as a QUICK alternative to tossing together Velveeta and canned tomatoes. Hell, *I* rarely use prepared salsa in my queso dip – but for people who’ve never done it with actual cheese, this is a great place to begin. Baby steps!

        Also, as an immigrant, I’m pretty put off by the “It’s somehow lesser-than if you’re not from ______”. Please leave the culinary bigotry OFF my blog.

  11. Mike
    April 15, 2012 at 5:02 am #

    As to the American cheese, you really need to get the 100% milk kind. The processed stuff is gross… The thing is it’s cheaper for restaurants and stores and such to use the processed crap than the real stuff, but the real stuff tastes SO much better.

  12. Kittie
    March 27, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    Just because of your attitude towards Velveeta and especially your HUSBAND, will I not touch your recipe. Just because his opinion is different from yours does not mean you get to publicly insult him! How’d you like it if HE did it to YOU? So what if you don’t like Velveeta? That’s your opinion and you’re quite welcome to it. Just don’t trash your husband while you’re at it.

  13. March 27, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Hi Kittie, thank you for your concern but I assure you that I don’t feel publicly insulted.

    I am in no way defending Velveeta as food! It’s vegetable oil and coagulants, with some cheese flavor! Marie (and anyone else) has plenty of reason to tease me about actually eating that stuff! I admit it, I used to love it with popcorn, yummm! Go ahead, admit it, it’s gross! Deliciously gross!

    I’d also like to point out that I read this blog regularly, and contribute pretty much every photo on this site, so it’s not like I couldn’t have said “hey, that’s over the line” if I had thought so. It’s not like this is behind my back. Though Marie is the primary contributor, I’m very much a part of this website!

    You might not agree with all of the opinions on this site, but you have to admit, it’s a fun-spirited article. You have to admit that Velveeta is simply a bunch of calories with cheese flavor, which is not the same thing as real cheese. Whether or not you enjoy it, it’s the truth.

    If you don’t want to try this recipe, that’s fine. I do assure you, however, that this is an excellent dip and I would venture a guess that you’d enjoy it more than Velveeta.

    • March 27, 2013 at 8:47 am #

      If you’re talking deliciously gross cheese products, let’s not forget the abomination that is spray cheese. We don’t have that in Ontario, so I have to be content with getting a can every now and then when we visit the US. 😀

      • March 27, 2013 at 8:56 am #

        I’ll admit it – spray cheese is (gross-)good every once in a while. I just don’t think of it as “cheese”, so much as a “cracker topping of unknown origin”. 🙂

        Do you remember squeeze cheese? We had it in Winnipeg as a kid, but I’ve never seen it in the states. The little tube (like braunschweiger) of cheese-like product. There was a sealed opening on the side of the tube, little flat yellow pop off lid, and you had to pierce the packaging underneath it?

        So gross… but I loved it. THAT stuff did not plastinate the inside of my mouth, however!

  14. Brigette Anderson
    June 29, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Just want to defend TRUE “American Cheese”. That is likely NOT what you got in your nasty salad and is definitely not Velveeta (which is an entirely separate category of food in my household… More on that later).

    As for American Cheese, the real stuff is meant to be a soft, easy melting form of cheddar (possibly crossed with gouda?). I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cheese in all its forms and I use American Cheese, although I’m picky about it. If it is TRUE cheese and not “cheese-food” (which is an abomination). then it has a lot of great uses. In particular, there is NOTHING that melts as well on a hamburger as American Cheese. American oozes down into the little nooks and crannies of a really good hamburger patty and pretty much melds with the meat (oh, man, I’m making myself hungry). The key for me is to get the stuff that is not individually wrapped. There are some individually wrapped ones which are which are theoretically just as good, but I prefer the block kind. The individually wrapped kind just tastes much more plastic than the real stuff. Good American Cheese has a flavor on par with a really mild cheddar but melts without all the oil.

    As for Velveeta, NO IT ISN’T CHEESE!! Anything that shelf stable isn’t cheese. That said, my husband grew up on and absolutely loves Rotel dip. I’ve tried many recipes for other cheese dips, and while he does like them, it doesn’t diminish his love of simple Velveeta (or store-brand equivalent) mixed with a can of Rotel Tomatoes and Chilis. Just think of it as Poutine for Americans. 😉

  15. January 8, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    No controversy here; Canadian laws for cheeses and luncheon meats make our US deli trays look like a 3rd World care package. It’s not to say the UIS stuff is bad, but I grew up an hour away from Windsor, Ontario and a family trip to Canada for cheese was not at all uncommon. (In the olden days when people from Michigan didn’t require a passport to go to Windsor)

    I have had Velveeta at parties and such and it’s okay for mass consumption but I like your recipe a LOT better!
    Nani recently posted..Book Review: Delusional Traits by David George Clarke

  16. January 8, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    I think the X factor here is whether you grew up with Velveeta or not. I never did – I can remember my mom buying it maybe once or twice during my late-70’s, early-80’s era childhood. She didn’t like it, so we didn’t have it.

    I’ve often looked for a great “from scratch” queso recipe – most of my Texan friends go with the (Velveeta+RoTel)*(FancyFactor*beef+onions+black beans)+crockpot=queso formula, but I’m from Wisconsin and Velveeta just doesn’t cut it for me. I’ll have to give this a shot.

    In the alternative, I’ll often buy a jar of cheddar dip and “doctor it up” for a quick plate of nachos, or I’ll use canned condensed cheddar cheese soup. Both are shelf stable and probably questionable as “cheese”, but taste infinitely better than Velveeta (in my humble mind).

  17. chef2
    December 28, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    “Culinary Bigotry”. That’s funny. So, is denying Velveeta because it is not fit for human consumption a tad hypocritical considering the very unnatural color of your hair?

  18. Nick
    January 17, 2017 at 6:50 pm #

    Really like this recipe – first saw it on wikihow’s “12 easy ways to make queso dip” page. Interestingly, over the past three years the recipes on that page have “morphed” so that now they all include Velveeta. At the same time, they kept the link to this page as a reference, which I think is amusing.

    As an aside, when I make this recipe I normally get something very “stringy” – that’s not necessarily a bad thing and it’s still a big hit. But, do you have any suggestions to make it more creamy?

    Thanks!

    • March 14, 2017 at 7:16 am #

      Stringyness is usually because of the cheese used. Mozzarella usually turns out stringy, for instance. What kind of cheese did you use?

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge