top of page

Queso Dip

Growing up, when my extended family got together, we often had a spread of appetizers that included a cheesy dip we called “rotel” since it used a can of the rotel brand tomato and chilies. For years, I thought it was a secret family recipe and we all loved to devour it with tortilla chips. Rotel dip was on the menu when the larger family met for our annual camping trips. Whether we were in the Rockies of Colorado, or among the bison in Yellowstone Park, the cheesy dip was always welcomed. Our traditional dip was made using processed “cheese”, and thus, my nostalgia for the dip is slightly tainted. Instead, I make a similar dip that incorporates the fundamentals of tomatoes and chilies, but uses natural cheeses and the addition of evaporated milk helps the cheese melt and maintain a silky and rick cheesy texture. And although this one is not as easy to prepare over a camp stove, the extra steps are worth the effort to replicate childhood memories, but with more natural, and more delightful, flavors.


  • 1 10 oz. can rotel, tomatoes and green chilies, or use freshly chopped veggies (ratio of 3:1 tomatoes to chilies)

  • 2 T butter

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • ¼ cup onion, chopped

  • 1 13 oz. can evaporated milk

  • Spices: ¼ t cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, ½ t salt and ¼ t chili powder, if desired

  • 2 cups shredded cheese, primarily sharp cheddar, but can include Monterey or pepper jack as well

  • 1 t corn starch, dissolved in 1 T hot water

  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

  • Serve with tortilla chips & veggies (bell peppers, celery, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers)


  1. Heat butter in medium saucepan and saute garlic and onion

  2. Pour in milk and spices, bring to a boil

  3. Fold in cheese and stir allowing it to melt and combine

  4. To thicken, pour in dissolved corn starch mix and continue to stir. Add 1-2 T of milk if dip is too thick

  5. Sprinkle in cilantro

  6. Pour into bowl and serve dip hot.

  7. Reheat extra dip on stove or is microwave, stirring in additional milk to keep correct consistently. 1-2 T at a time

Note: I am very particular about my tortilla chips- don't waste this dip on a flimsy, tasteless chip. I often buy freshly made chips at a local restaurant or market and heating them up in the oven before serving, adding salt and paprika. Or even better, make your own at home from corn tortillas.


bottom of page