5 Ingredient Smoked Queso - NO VELVEETA! (2023)

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Published: » Modified: » By: Kylie » This post may contain affiliate links. » 3 Comments

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This super simple one-pan smoked queso dip *might* be the best appetizer of the summer season. It's loaded with smoky flavor, plenty of ooey gooey cheese, and seasoned tomatoes for a delicious snack that's perfect for a backyard barbecue!

5 Ingredient Smoked Queso - NO VELVEETA! (1)

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You Will Love This

  • If you're looking for something different to serve alongside the tortilla chips at your next backyard barbecue, you need this smoked queso dip recipe! It's so quick and easy - made with just a handful of ingredients - and the smoker imparts the most delicious flavor throughout the dip with minimal work from you!
  • If you loved this recipe, be sure to check out my easy crockpot queso, smoked mac and cheese, or cheesy gordita crunch recipe!
5 Ingredient Smoked Queso - NO VELVEETA! (2)

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Monterey Jack Cheese - Monterey Jack is my favorite mild, melty cheese for this smoked cheese dip. It melts beautifully and it takes on the smoky flavor in a really nice way. Most smoked queso dips are made with Velveeta cheese, but it's just not necessary! This queso dip is just as creamy as those made with Velveeta, but there's no "processed cheese product" in sight!
  • Cream Cheese - Stick with full-fat cream cheese for this recipe. It's going to give you the best flavor and texture.
  • Fire-Roasted Rotel Tomatoes - If you can't find fire-roasted Rotel tomatoes you can use regular Rotel tomatoes or fire-roasted diced tomatoes instead. Rotel tomatoes have a signature spice and flavor that adds a certain zing to this smoked cheese dip. You could also sub with your favorite salsa.
  • Heavy Cream - Heavy cream will give you the best flavor and texture for this smoked queso recipe. Half and half or whole milk will work in a pinch but the texture will be much thinner so I suggest using about half the recommended amount initially and adding more as needed.

Instructions

Add ingredients to alarge cast iron skillet. Place on the pellet grill (like a Z Grill) and smoke for 20 minutes.

5 Ingredient Smoked Queso - NO VELVEETA! (3)

Stir to combine ingredients and turn the temperature to 225 degrees. Smoke for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so.

5 Ingredient Smoked Queso - NO VELVEETA! (4)

Season to taste with salt, serve with tortilla chips, and enjoy!

5 Ingredient Smoked Queso - NO VELVEETA! (5)

Tips

  • Shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese from the grocery store is coated in cellulose to prevent it from clumping, but that also prevents it from melting well. For the best texture, buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself.
  • Start with ¾ of a cup of heavy cream and add more as needed. I typically use an entire cup of heavy cream (especially if I'm adding in extras like beef, jalapenos, or spices) but feel free to add more or less depending on how thick or thin you prefer your cheese sauce.
  • If you're not a big fan of large pieces of tomato in your queso, add the entire contents of the can of Rotel tomatoes to a food processor and pulse until the tomatoes and chilies are well minced. Then add them to the queso!
  • Salt moderately throughout the cooking process. The ingredient list in this recipe is short and sweet and since it's not made with processed cheese product, AKA Velveeta, it's also not loaded with unnecessary sodium and preservatives. That means that you'll need to salt the dish moderately in order to boost the flavors of the entire dish. Don't worry - for as bad of a reputation as salt has, adding a few large pinches of salt to an entire cast iron skillet of cheese dip isn't going to do any harm. As with all things, moderation is key!
  • If you prefer just a slightly smoky flavor, skip the initial 20-minute smoke and just cook the dip at 225 degrees for 2 hours.
  • If you don't have a large cast-iron skillet you could make this cheese dip in a 9x13 disposable aluminum pan or another grill-safe baking dish.

Are you new to smoking?

Looking for an affordable smoker?
Not sure which wood pellet grill is best for your needs?

Click here to check out my full review of my favorite Z Grill wood pellet smoker! I'll share with you everything I love about this grill and why you'll want to add it to your backyard space right now!

Variations

Feel free to add any of your favorites to this queso dip. It's super versatile! Just remember that the cheese dip is going to be cooking low and slow so anything that you add to the dip needs to be fully cooked beforehand.

  • pork carnitas
  • taco meat
  • ground beef
  • breakfast sausage
  • pork sausage
  • taco seasoning
  • chili powder
  • pickled jalapenos
  • canned diced green chilies
  • chorizo sausage
  • black beans
  • leftover chili
  • diced bell pepper, onion, or other veggies
  • black olives
5 Ingredient Smoked Queso - NO VELVEETA! (6)

Cheeses to Use

I prefer Monterey Jack for this dip, but you could switch it up with any of your favorite melty cheeses. Some others that would work include:

  • Pepper Jack cheese
  • Gouda cheese
  • White American cheese
  • Mexican melting cheese (Queso Asadero)
  • cheddar cheese

Choosing Wood Pellets

  • For this easy cheese dip, I like to use a mild wood like apple, oak, maple, or cherry.
  • Woods like hickory or mesquite are generally used when smoking meats because the meat can handle that stronger smoke flavor.
  • If I'm looking for a stronger flavor I will sometimes mix apple or oak with hickory wood pellets to add a little something extra.
  • If you're undecided, I highly recommend checking out this articleas it talks a lot more in-depth about what types of wood to use and why.
5 Ingredient Smoked Queso - NO VELVEETA! (7)

FAQ

Can you reheat smoked queso?

Yes! This smoked queso dip recipe reheats beautifully on the stove or in the microwave. You could reheat it in the smoker itself as well but I don't recommend it as it will take a long time because it's cooking at such a low heat and it will add more smoky flavor to the cheese dip which will likely overwhelm it.

How do you thin out smoked queso?

My favorite way to thin out smoked queso is with a splash or two of heavy cream. That is the best way to loosen it up while still keeping it creamy. Be sure to season to taste again after adding more cream.

What temp should I smoke queso at?

225 is the best temperature to smoke queso. That allows you to cook it slowly which maximizes the smoky flavor and keep the temperature low which keeps it smooth and creamy and prevents the cheese sauce from getting grainy.

Make-Ahead, Storage, and Reheating

  • Make-Ahead: This creamy cheese dip is best enjoyed fresh off the smoker, however, it can be made ahead of time and it reheats beautifully and retains that delicious flavor well.
  • Storage:Store leftover queso in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat cheese dip in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Stir frequently until warmed through. You could also zap it in the microwave in 30-60 second increments until warmed through. Be sure to season to taste with salt before serving.

More Easy Appetizer Recipes

  • Smoked Cream Cheese
  • 10 Minute Smoked Salmon Dip
  • 15 Minute Air Fryer Tater Tots
  • The Best Burger Sauce Ever

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Smoked Queso

5 Ingredient Smoked Queso - NO VELVEETA! (12)

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★★★★★5 from 1 reviews

This super simple one-pan smoked queso dip *might* be the best appetizer of the summer season. It's loaded with smoky flavor, plenty of ooey gooey cheese, and seasoned tomatoes for a delicious snack that's perfect for a backyard barbecue!

  • Author: Kylie
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Pellet Grill
  • Cuisine: Mexican/American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

UnitsScale

  • 16 oz. Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
  • (2) 10 oz. can fire-roasted Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
  • ¾ cup heavy cream + more as needed
  • a couple large pinches of Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Turn pellet grill to smoke.
  2. Add ingredients to a large cast iron skillet.
  3. Place on the grill and let it smoke for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir to combine ingredients and turn the temperature to 225 degrees.
  5. Cook for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so.
  6. Season to taste with salt, serve with tortilla chips, and enjoy!

Notes

  • Shred your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese from the grocery store is coated in cellulose to prevent it from clumping, but that also prevents it from melting well. For the best texture, buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself.
  • Start with ¾ of a cup of heavy cream and add more as needed. I typically use an entire cup of heavy cream (especially if I'm adding in extras like beef, jalapenos, or spices) but feel free to add more or less depending on how thick or thin you prefer your cheese sauce.
  • If you're not a big fan of large pieces of tomato in your queso, add the entire contents of the can of Rotel tomatoes to a food processor and pulse until the tomatoes and chilies are well minced. Then add them to the queso!
  • Salt moderately throughout the cooking process. The ingredient list in this recipe is short and sweet and since it's not made with processed cheese product, AKA Velveeta, it's also not loaded with unnecessary sodium and preservatives. That means that you'll need to salt the dish moderately in order to boost the flavors of the entire dish. Don't worry - for as bad of a reputation as salt has, adding a few large pinches of salt to an entire cast iron skillet of cheese dip isn't going to do any harm. As with all things, moderation is key!
  • If you prefer just a slightly smoky flavor, skip the initial 20-minute smoke and just cook the dip at 225 degrees for 2 hours.
  • If you don't have a large cast-iron skillet you could make this cheese dip in a 9x13 disposable aluminum pan or another grill-safe baking dish.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 241
  • Sugar: 2.4 g
  • Sodium: 290.5 mg
  • Fat: 20.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 12.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.3 g
  • Fiber: 0.6 g
  • Protein: 11 g
  • Cholesterol: 61.2 mg

Keywords: smoked queso dip, smoked queso recipe, smoked queso dip recipe, smoked cheese dip

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Michael

    What is the smoker temp of the initial 20 minutes?

    Reply

    • Kylie

      My smoker has a "smoke" setting that doesn't give me an option to choose a temp, but it usually hovers around 150-180 degrees or so. Hope that helps!

      Reply

  2. Luke

    WOW! I could not believe how creamy this dip was and how much delicious smoky flavor it had. Another great recipe!

    Reply

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