This simple queso recipe is The Best Queso (Cheese Sauce) I’ve ever made!
You say party, I say nachos.
Party! Nachos! Party! Nachos!
Sorry… When we get to the end of football season, everything tends to come out in chant format.
What I meant to say, was that it would be a shame to have a Super Bowl party and forget the spicy cheese sauce.
You’ve probably tried the 2-ingredient version with one unnamed block of highly processed cheese product and one can of tomatoes and chiles.
I’m not knocking either of these products, or the queso they make.
I’m just saying… You can do better.
This my friends, is The Best Queso Cheese Sauce I’ve ever made.
Start with fresh onions, garlic and jalapeños, sautéed until soft, then add creamy half & half, smoky chipotle peppers, and three fabulous cheeses, including smoked cheddar to add a huge punch of flavor.
The reason so many people stick with said processed 2-ingredient cheese sauce is that it’s nice and smooth.
However, if you know how to thicken your queso and use quality cheeses (without fillers) you can create the best cheese sauces you’ve ever tried.
We’re using cornstarch, not flour, and the thickening agent. It can be tricky to know when to choose cornstarch and when to choose flour. But the general rule of thumb is that if you plan to cook something a long time, use flour, and if you need your thickening agent to act quickly, use cornstarch.
Flour produces a much better flavor over time, but must be cooked quite a bit to ensure your recipe is smooth, not gritty.
In this queso, there are so many bold ingredients to add flavor, we don’t need to rely on the flour to build flavor, so cornstarch is the answer for a very smooth creamy consistency.
It’s also important to mention, that block cheese, shredded at home, produces a much better texture than pre-shredded cheese covered in additives to ward off clumping.
Once you’ve scalded the half & half (also important for texture) keep the heat down and be patient as you slowly stir in the fresh shredded cheese. You’ll be amazed and how rich, creamy, and zesty, this smoky homemade cheese sauce is.
Pour The Best Queso Cheese Sauce over tortilla chips, fries, broccoli, burgers, yourself…
Just kidding, let’s stick to food.
Pour it over all things food, and you will be in cheese-lovers paradise.
The Best Queso (Cheese Sauce)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
- 2 chipotle chiles, diced (canned in adobo sauce)
- 1 1/2 cups half & half or evaporated milk
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 ounce cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened
- 2 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 8 ounce smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 ounce sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Place a medium pot over medium heat. Add the butter, shallots, garlic and jalapeño. Saute for 3-4 minutes to soften, then add the half & half and chipotle peppers.
- Whisk in the cornstarch. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer, so the half & half can scald (not necessary with evaporated milk) then lower the temperature to medium-low. Then stir in the cream cheese and mustard.
- Slowly start adding the shredded cheese. Stir and add by the handful, until the sauce comes together. If you prefer your cheese sauce a little thinner, add an extra splash of half & half. Serve immediately, or keep warm in a slow cooker or fondue pot.
NOTE: If you don't like smoky flavor, use all sharp cheddar.