Homemade Queso Dip is cheesy, spicy, and velvety smooth. It's simple to make and perfect for easy entertaining! Get out of the kitchen and join the party, serving up this flavorful make-ahead dip that everyone loves!
First Published: June 21, 2017... Last Updated: February 22, 2020
What are your goals for your family when it comes to snacking? For me, I can sum it up in two words: SMART SNACKING!
Of course, my family (including hubby!) is not as interested in the SMART part. Go figure. They are definitely interested in SNACKING, but I think the adjective they would pick in place of SMART would be TASTY.
It can be challenging to find snacks that are both SMART and TASTY. There are many snacks out there that are tasty, but a lot of them are not all that smart.
Queso dip needs to be cheesy, creamy, and most of all delicious. I knew I needed to create something with LOTS of flavor, so that I could hide a veggie in there and notch up the smartness of this snack even further.
Queso Dip that is tasty AND guilt-free!
Cauliflower is one of my go-to veggies that I like to fold into recipes to bump up the nutritional value. So that became my starting point.
I pureed it until it was smooth, and then added lots of flavor. Cheese, garlic, and jalapeños but shhhh..... don't tell! The kids had no idea they were getting a burst of vitamins and minerals as they were chowing down! 😋
No junk food here! Just SMART SNACKING (maybe even bordering on GENIUS SNACKING! Haha!)
You can adjust the spiciness of this dip by varying the amount of jalapenos you use.
Serving a bunch of 10 year olds at a birthday party? Dial it down by skipping the jalapenos altogether. Preparing for a book club meeting or a poker night for grownups? Dial it up by adding some extra jalapenos.
However, don’t overdo it! Keep in mind that you can always add more spice, but once it is in there it can't be removed.
🥘 Ingredients for Queso Dip
What do you need to make queso dip?
Not the typical ingredients for queso dip, I know once you give this a try it will quickly become your go-to dip for party time!
- cauliflower, garlic, jalapeño pepper, tomato, and optional cilantro - delicious and guilt-free, this is the most flavorful dip!
- milk, pepper jack cheese, and Parmesan - add creamy cheesiness to bring everything together!
- salt and pepper for seasoning
Can I make queso dip ahead of time?
Yes, you can assemble the ingredients ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve. Heat it until it's hot and bubbly prior to serving.
How long does it last?
It will last about three to five days refrigerated.
Can I freeze the leftovers?
In my experience, cauliflower doesn't freeze well. Maybe better said, it doesn't thaw well. The dip will become a bit watery and separate. Gobble up these leftovers and enjoy this guilt-free snack!
What is the best cheese for queso?
My go-to choice here for this dip is pepper jack cheese and Parmesan. Can you substitute other cheeses? You could certainly substitute cheddar, but the reason I prefer pepper jack is because of the extra spices in that cheese.
More bang for your buck!
🧂 Suggested Dippers
What are the best dippers for queso?
Why, tortilla chips of course, BUT there are lots of tasty dippers you can use with this dip!
- raw vegetables - cauliflower, carrots, celery, broccoli florets or green onions.
- baked potatoes wedges - SO good! I am nuts about this recipe for baked dill fries - they would make a great dipper!
- baked eggplant fries - upscale and tasty these will WOW your guests!
- pretzel bites - these are fantastic and I doubt if you'll have any leftovers!
- Place the cauliflower florets in a microwaveable bowl.
- Microwave the cauliflower florets until they are very tender.
- Drain and transfer to a food processor or blender. Add the garlic, milk, salt, and pepper.
- Process until smooth.
- Place the cauliflower mixture, cheese, jalapeño pepper, and tomato in a skillet.
- Heat and stir until the cheeses are melted and the mixture is bubbly.
A large cast iron skillet is perfect to cook this dip in. It can go from stove-top to table and looks great! Just be sure to tie a dishtowel around the handle to keep guests from touching it.
The skillet holds heat well and will keep your dip warm while everyone scoops it up!
🥗 More Suggested Party Recipes
Need more dips?
Need more finger-food?
Every great party needs lots of choices to round-out the buffet. Having a variety of bites and snacks ensures you'll have something for everyone.
Plan on five appetizers per person to ensure you have plenty of food for your get together. Serving both hot and cold snacks will keep you out of the kitchen, hovering over the stove and oven. Here are some recipes to consider!
- Ham and Cheese Sliders - always a great choice for game day!
- Pressed Italian Sandwich - packed full of flavor, this sandwich is made the day before for ultimate flavor!
- Pear Quesadillas - super easy recipe using canned pears and pepper jack cheese!
QUESO DIP FOR SMART SNACKING
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📋 Recipe Card
Homemade Queso Dip
- 10-12 ounces cauliflower florets (about 3 cups, you can use frozen if you wish)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons butter (for optional step)
- 1 cup diced onion (for optional step)
- 8 ounces pepper jack cheese (shredded)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (plus a little extra for garnish, if desired)
- 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno pepper (jarred slices)
- 1/4 cup diced tomato (you can used canned, just drain it thoroughly)
- Chopped cilantro for garnish (if desired)
- Place the cauliflower florets in a microwaveable bowl, add about 2 tablespoons water, cover with plastic wrap (leaving a little space uncovered for steam to vent), and microwave 4-5 minutes until the cauliflower is very tender. (May need more time if you are starting with frozen florets.)
- Drain the cauliflower and transfer to a food processor or blender (be careful, it will be very hot!). Add the garlic, milk, salt, and pepper. Process until well-combined and completely smooth.
- OPTIONAL STEP (this can be skipped if you are in a hurry or don't have an onion): In a large skillet, melt the butter, then add the onion and cook until translucent. You can use frozen diced onion if you like. Then add the rest of the ingredients in the next step and continue.
- Place the cauliflower mixture in a large skillet, then add the pepper jack cheese, Parmesan cheese, jalapeno pepper, and tomato. Heat and stir until the cheeses are melted and the mixture is hot and bubbly.
- Garnish with additional tomato, cilantro, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
- Fresh cauliflower is best, but frozen can also be used in a pinch.
- No fresh garlic on hand? Use jarred.
- The quality of the cheese makes a difference! I like a nice, zesty pepper jack. Some pepper jacks are really mild and when I use those cheeses I don't think the result is as tasty.
- If you use canned diced tomato in place of fresh, drain it well before adding.
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