Zesty Cheddar & Sour Cream Queso is made with cheddar cheese and flavored with garlic, jalapeños, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro for a delicious dip or decadent topping for your favorite Mexican food.
No, really. It's one of my favorite things ever. Who needs lobster tails and foie gras? Give this girl a bowl of queso and a stack of flour tortillas and I am one happy camper.
While queso is abundantly available at every Tex-Mex restaurant across the state, there are as many variations of it as there are stars at night. (Are big and bright -- CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP! Wait...where was I?)
Many people believe that in order to make queso at home, it must involve a block of Velveeta and a can of Rotel. And while those ingredients indeed result in totally tasty queso -- of which I have ingested gallons over the course of my life -- sometimes it's nice to make queso with real cheese instead. Besides, have you heard about the current Velveeta shortage? We all must learn how to make proper, natural cheese queso in light of the Velveeta shortage.
Instead of Velveeta, this recipe relies on cheddar that's been melted into a roux-based cream sauce. And in lieu of adding Rotel, the cheesy goodness is then flavored with fresh minced garlic, jalapeños, and tomatoes, before a nice dollop of sour cream is stirred in and cilantro and chunks of avocado are scattered on top.
Please believe me, friends...the few minutes of effort required to whip up this recipe will be rewarded ten-fold when this queso graces a chip and hits your tongue. Every component of it is yummy, but my favorite addition is probably the avocado. Have you ever tried mixing guacamole into queso? Ambrosia, I tell you. I could go on and on about how much I adore queso, but I'm pretty sure I've already made my point.
As with just about every recipe that I post, make this one your own by adjusting the ingredients to your tastes. Regardless of how you tweak it, this queso and a bowl of fresh salsa will be a perfect addition to your Super Bowl party menu in a few weeks. It will inject extra fiesta into your Cinco de Mayo come May. But honestly? It will be quickly devoured no matter when you decide to make it.
Cheddar & Sour Cream Queso Recipe
Cheddar & Sour Cream Queso
- 2 ½ tablespoons butter, DIVIDED
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 small cloves garlic, finely minced
- Jalapeño, seeds and membranes removed and finely minced
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- ½ cup sour cream
- up to ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro, to taste
- 1 avocado, diced
- In a medium pot, melt ½ tablespoon butter over low heat. Add minced garlic and jalapeño and saute for a minute or until starting to soften and garlic is starting to turn golden. Add tomatoes to pot and cook a minute or two more. Remove garlic/jalapeño/tomato mixture with a spoon and set aside.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the pot and melt. Whisk in flour and stir continuously for a couple of minutes as roux bubbles and turns golden brown. Gradually whisk in cream, pausing between additions to make sure that lumps are smoothing out. While continuously stirring, bring mixture to a low simmer and cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened.
- Remove pot from heat. Add ½ cup grated cheese to cream mixture and stir until completely melted. Repeat with the remaining cheese, adding ½ cup at a time and making sure it is totally melted before adding the next ½ cup. Add salt, garlic/jalapeño/tomato mixture, and sour cream. Stir until well incorporated. Taste and add additional salt, if desired.
- Transfer queso to a serving bowl and top with as much cilantro and avocado as you prefer. You may stir it in or leave it on top as a garnish (I stir some in and pile the rest on top, plus a few extra diced tomatoes for color).
- With seeds and membranes removed, one jalapeño should not be spicy at all. If you like spicier queso, add additional jalapenos or leave the seeds and membranes intact before dicing. You can also decrease/increase the garlic to your taste, toss in some diced green chiles, add more cilantro or leave it out altogether...it's up to you!
- If you don't cook your roux long enough, you may be able to taste the flour in the final queso.
- If your pan is too hot or still over the burner when you add the cheese, the cheese may end up clumping. Similarly, if you try to add too much cheese all at once, it will probably end up separating and clumping. Add no more than ½ cup at a time and stir until it is completely melted before adding the next half cup.