What Is Queso and What Kind of Cheese Goes in It?

I love cheese—it’s right there in my writer’s bio if you don’t believe me. Cheese of basically any variety is a delicious and satisfying snack. What could be better? Well, what if we added heat to the cheese and scooped it up with salty tortilla chips. Sounds like heaven, no? Fortunately, other people have had this brainwave too and created queso. But what is queso? What’s it made of? Why am I not eating it right now? Let’s take a look.

What is queso?

Literally Spanish for “cheese,” as in, a quesadilla—queso typically refers to a hot cheese dip that is frequently eaten with tortilla chips. Mexican and Tex Mex restaurants often feature it on their appetizer menu, having figured out that many people enjoy eating straight cheese before, during, and after a meal. 

What is in queso?

If you’re wondering what is queso made of, you needn’t look much further than the name. It’s mostly cheese. Beyond that, there is usually tomato, onion, and jalapeños or chiles for some added heat. Add in evaporated milk and cornstarch for thickening, and viola! You’ve got queso. Pretty simple for how delicious it is.

What kind of cheese is queso?

There’s actually not one type of cheese that is always used in queso. A classic Texas recipe would use Velveeta, but if that’s not your jam, there are many other cheeses you can use. Queso fresco is a popular Mexican cheese that is often used, and many recipes will call for American cheese and/or pepper jack, though I’ve even heard tell of mozzarella making an appearance in queso recipes. As long as it melts, it’s a contender. 

best queso

Best Store Bought Queso

What’s the best store bought queso? We tasted a bunch of the top brands on the market to find the best premade queso for your dipping pleasure.

What is queso fundido?

Queso fundido is just like queso—a bowl of melted cheese—with one crucial addition: crumbled chorizo. Chorizo, if you’re unaware, is a spiced sausage. When you put these ingredients together, you’ve got queso fundido, a more toothsome and meaty version of classic queso. 

Is queso gluten free?

Queso can be made gluten free, for sure, and there’s nothing inherently gluten-y about cheese, onions, or peppers. Some queso recipes, however, do use flour as a thickener, which is certainly not gluten free. As ever, be sure to double check if you’re trying to avoid gluten. 

Is queso keto?

In general, cheese is a good option for those on a keto diet because it’s high in protein and fat and low in carbs. The same goes for queso, although not every queso recipe is guaranteed to be keto-friendly; some types of queso use flour or cornstarch to thicken them, and those would not be considered keto-friendly ingredients.

Is queso spicy?

As with salsa, there’s a range of spice-levels available for queso. It’s possible to buy or make very mild queso that doesn’t have any more heat than a block of cheese. It’s also possible to get super spicy queso that can melt your taste buds off. Be sure to check the ingredients and read the label beforehand to get a sense of how spicy your dip is about to be. 

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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