Chili Con Queso

A small white bowl of chile con queso on a plate with some tortilla chips next to it.
Lisa Fain

In Texas, whipping up a bowl of the cheesy dip known as Chili Con Queso can be as simple as melting a block of everyone's favorite shelf stable "cheese food" (read: Velveeta) with a can of Ro*Tel diced tomatoes with green chiles. But things weren't quite so easy for Lisa Fain, AKA The Homesick Texan when she moved to Manhattan. Unable to locate the tomatoes that give this party favorite its distinct zing, she took it upon herself to make over this Texan dip.

Taking a cue from the cheese dips of Mexico, where real cheeses were used instead of "cheese food," Fain came up with this blend of cheddar and jack studded with fresh tomatoes and chiles. Melted with a buttery roux and a bit of sour cream for both tang and smoothness, Fain's Chili Con Queso is just as creamy as the original with the added brightness of fresh vegetables and cilantro and big, cheesy flavor.

From The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain. Text and photographs copyright © 2011 Lisa Fain. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

Recipe Details

Chili Con Queso

Active 10 mins
Total 10 mins
Serves 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 2 serrano chiles, seeds and stems removed, diced

  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeds and stems removed, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes

  • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese (12 ounces)

  • 3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (12 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • Salt, to taste

  • Tortilla chips, for serving


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Add the onions, serrano chiles, and jalapeño and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Whisk the flour into the pan and cook for about 30 seconds.

  2. Pour the milk into the pan and, while whisking, cook until the sauce is thick, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and tomatoes.

  3. Turn the heat down to low, and 1/4 cup at a time, slowly stir in the grated cheese until it’s completely melted. Repeat until all the cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese has been added. Stir in the sour cream and add salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
589 Calories
47g Fat
13g Carbs
30g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 589
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 47g 60%
Saturated Fat 27g 134%
Cholesterol 132mg 44%
Sodium 1002mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 11mg 53%
Calcium 917mg 71%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 352mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)