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Slow-Cooker Queso

Slow-Cooker Queso
Casey Barber

Chef notes

Real deal queso is a party dip like no other. It’s gooey, salty, warm and has been known to go all too fast at just about any gathering, be it a party to watch the game or just a Sunday hang. This recipe opts for real shredded cheese like Monterey Jack, Colby Jack or a shredded Mexican blend rather than that plastic-y cheese product that so often makes its way into this dip. The result is something that’s even cheesier and more decadent. We can assure you that you’ll never look back on your old recipes.

There are two reasons making queso in a slow cooker is superior. First: You don’t need to babysit it as it cooks. After sautéing your aromatics and adding the cheese, cream cheese and milk, you simply cover the slow cooker and let the queso do its thing for an hour and a half. When you return, your dip will be ready and waiting. Plus, the slow cooker acts as a vessel to keep your party dip warm all night long. Just set it to the warm function and give the dip a stir occasionally if it starts to thicken and form a “skin” on top.

No slow cooker? No problem! Our stovetop queso recipe is just as easy and just as ooey, gooey and delicious. No matter what, though, serve your queso with plenty of chips for dipping. Raw veggies like carrot sticks and bell pepper strips are a nice addition, too. This is a dip that can do no wrong.


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tomato, cored and finely diced
  • 3 cups shredded cheese, such as Monterey Jack, Colby Jack or shredded Mexican blend
  • 1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, 2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup milk, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)
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Set a slow cooker to sauté. Add the oil and heat until it shimmers, then add the onion, garlic, jalapeño pepper and salt. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to soften and the vegetables are fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute more.


Add the shredded cheese, cream cheese and milk to the slow cooker and stir to combine all the ingredients. Close the slow cooker and cook on low for 1½ hours.


Stir well and add more milk, 2 tablespoons at a time, if needed. 


To serve, garnish with chopped cilantro. The queso can be kept warm in the slow cooker — stir periodically if the dip starts to thicken.