White Spinach Queso

White Spinach Queso is a creamy, addictive, effortless dip made with four simple ingredients: cream cheese, Monterey Jack, salsa verde, & fresh chopped spinach!

White Spinach Queso with text overlay.


 

If you've known me for any length of time at all, you probably know that queso is one of my favorite foods on earth. Now I realize that queso simply means cheese in Spanish, and that the "queso" I'm referring to is often called "queso dip" in other parts o' the country.  But at any rate, if I say QUESO and you envision a melted bowl of cheesy goodness -- perfect for copiously dipping up with crispy tortilla chips -- well then, mi amigo, we are on the same page. And you are going to totally appreciate today's White Spinach Queso recipe!

White Queso being melted and mixed in a pot.

The Inspiration

Back when I was a young whippersnapper attending Texas A&M, I had a free summer between finishing college coursework in the spring and student teaching in the fall. So, like any good Aggie, I decided to move in with my Longhorn friend in Austin for the summer and work as a waitress at a little Tex-Mex joint downtown called El Arroyo.

El Arroyo was known back then -- and is still known today -- for its tongue-in-cheek quotes (I suppose they'd be called "memes" now?) on the marquee sign out front. And after working there, I can tell you that the waitstaff works hard to come up with those little witticisms every day. But I can also tell you that my favorite thing about working at El Arroyo wasn't the famous sign...it was the White Spinach Queso.

Baby spinach in a bowl.

Why in the world would you ruin a good white queso recipe by adding spinach??? you may be asking yourself right about now. Fair question. All I can tell you is that not only does it work, but it's downright delicious.

My version of White Spinach Queso is admittedly different than El Arroyo's, but I actually think it's even better (shhhhhh!). It starts with just FOUR simple ingredients and it's ready to enjoy in a matter of minutes. It's creamy, it's zippy, it's lick-the-bowl good. I'm pretty sure you're going to love it, should you be wise enough to take my advice and give it a go.

Chopped spinach being added to pot of white queso.

How to Make It

The base of this recipe is a combination of cream cheese and Monterey Jack. Those two cheeses are melted and stirred together along with one other crucial ingredient: salsa verde. This is where the queso gets its flavor and peppery kick, with only as much effort as required to open a jar and dump it in.

Once the queso is creamy and smooth, the final step is mixing in (guess what?) a shower of chopped fresh spinach. I recommend using tender baby spinach leaves, which will quickly soften in the warm dip. However, they will also still retain a slight "bite," which I think is what gives this White Queso recipe such a nice texture.

 Stirring in the spinach.

And it's as simple as that, y'all! You can make this recipe in a pot on the stove, or in the microwave, if you like. Then just transfer it to a small slow cooker to keep it warm for serving at a gathering. That being said, I served ours out of a regular ol', unheated bowl. I can assure you that it was gone before there was even a need to keep it warm -- ha.

I like to garnish this dip with a little extra spinach, just to let everyone know what's in it. I've actually found that doing so sometimes (conveniently) deters small children from even trying the dip...WHICH MEANS THERE'S MORE FOR ME. Win!

Aerial view of White Queso in a bowl with a chip.

White Spinach Queso is a perfect dip for parties, as gameday grub, or as a yummy appetizer preceding a Mexican food feast.

It will tantalize your tastebuds and warm your soul.

And if it momentarily transports you back to a summer in your life when you couldn't contort your face to make a wrinkle if you tried and your biggest worry was if your butterfly hair clips complemented your Steve Madden stretchy slides...welllll, all the better. 😉

Dip on a chip.

Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment

  • I chopped my spinach into long, thin strips, almost like a chiffonade of basil. If you leave the pieces too big, the queso may be difficult to scoop up with chips.
  • If you have homemade salsa verde on hand, by all means, use it! But if, like me, you decide to buy a jar, just be sure to look for one with all-natural ingredients. I like a nice roasted salsa verde when I can find one. And remember that the heat level of your salsa verde is going to dictate the spiciness of your queso.
  • I recommend avoiding fat-free cream cheese for this recipe, as it's less likely to melt smoothly.
  • Feel free to swap out the Monterey Jack for pepper jack for even more kick!
White Queso recipe with spinach on top.

More Fiesta-Friendly Dips

White Spinach Queso in a bowl.

White Spinach Queso

White Spinach Queso is a creamy, addictive, effortless dip made with four simple ingredients: cream cheese, Monterey Jack, salsa verde, & fresh chopped spinach!
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12 (About 4 cups)
Calories: 117kcal
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Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cut into large chunks
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar salsa verde
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¾ cup chopped baby spinach
  • Tortilla chips, for dipping

Instructions

  • Combine the cream cheese and salsa verde in a small pot set over medium heat. Cook, whisking regularly, until completely melted and smooth. Whisk in the shredded Monterey Jack, ½ cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Season with garlic salt and pepper, to taste, and mix in the chopped spinach. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Nutrition

Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 481mg | Potassium: 120mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 740IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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7 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Fellow Aggie here who grew up in Austin and El Arroyo was the place to be. Long lines, Great Food and a fun atmosphere. Then Doug English sold the place and although the signs are still witty, the restaurant has never been the same.

    The spinach queso was always my favorite food item on the menu.

    1. 5 stars
      This queso and the restaurant itself was one of my favorite places to go until Doug sold it. Other than the witty signs my desire for nostalgia has failed me every time I’ve gone back.

      Gig ‘Em!

  2. Thank you Samantha!! I agree with you opinion. Therefore I'll use fresh baby spinach. Thanks again.

    1. If you cook it first and drain it really well (squeeze out alllll of the water), I think it should work. It just may turn your queso a bit green overall and give it a more "spinach-y" flavor.

  3. 5 stars
    I was wondering what to make this weekend, and this post came right in time! This was sooooo yummy! We had it over baked potatoes, spaghetti squash, and even broccoli. It was a hit! Thank you!