My wife’s love language is queso, I think. Well, that and acts of service. But, mostly queso. While there are many versions of queso and various cheese dips I’ve made over the years, I’ve been hesitant to work on a microwaved queso recipe for one reason.
Velveeta and Rotel.
But, I decided to finally tackle the beast and I think I came out in pretty good shape.
If you are a queso lover or just need a fast game-day appetizer, read on and learn how to make Tex-Mex queso easy and fast in your microwave!
My Velveeta and Rotel Relationship
I have a long history with Velveeta and Rotel because it’s one of my wife’s favorite things. And what’s not to love? Add some cheese and canned tomatoes to a bowl and microwave and boom: QUESO.
It’s food engineering at its best.
But, the recipe writer in me wanted to try to tackle a version of microwaved queso that improved a bit on the classic.
My Requirements for a good Microwave Queso
I had some strict checkboxes I had to be able to cross off for this recipe or what’s the point, right?
First, I wanted to have a microwave queso that allowed for different cheeses, at least somewhat. The base of this recipe just has to be something very melty – American cheese – but it’s a flexible enough recipe that you can add other cheeses as well like sharp cheddar or pepperjack.
Second, I wanted it to be gluten-free and not involve a roux. Some queso recipes (like this easy beef queso dip) use a roux as a thickener. This has plusses and minuses, but I wanted to avoid it in this case since cooking a roux in the microwave doesn’t work great.
Third, the recipe had to stay liquid even after some time on the table. This can be tricky even for the best queso recipes and the classic Velveeta version usually fails this actually. You’ll have to pop it back in the microwave if you don’t eat it quickly.
I think I checked ALL these boxes for this microwave queso recipe!
- Microwave fan? Try my delicious Microwaved Breakfast Burrito!
Ingredients for Microwaved Queso
You need just a few easy ingredients to make this recipe:
- Evaporated Milk. This is the base of the queso. Just be sure not to use sweetened condensed milk!
- Green Chiles. These add some excellent flavor and a little extra liquid to the queso. You can use spicy or mild.
- American cheese. You can disagree with me in the comments but there’s just nothing like American cheese for queso.
- Cheddar Cheese. I like to add some sharp cheddar for a more complex flavor. You could add any cheese you like that melts well.
- Cornstarch. Instead of a roux, I used cornstarch for the thickener. A little goes a long way here but it works perfectly.
- Spices. You can customize this to your liking. I like a little cumin and chili powder.
- Cilantro. Garnishing the queso with cilantro kicks up the flavor a notch!
Crunch Time Tip
When it comes to American cheese, get fresh sliced American cheese from your deli. It makes a BIG difference. Using the single slices wrapped in plastic will not be the same thing.
How much cheese do you need?
My base recipe for this microwaved queso is a half-batch of the recipe. It uses half a can of evaporated milk as a base, about 3/4 of a cup or 6 ounces.
For that amount of dairy, you’ll need about 12 ounces of total cheese.
To make sure the texture is right, use at least 8 ounces of American cheese for the queso and then you can use any cheese you like for the extra 4 ounces.
Instructions for making microwave queso
This is a pretty easy recipe, as you might imagine. The one trick to making it work well is to chop up your cheese into cubes (or grate it) and mix the cheese with the cornstarch. This will make sure the cornstarch is evenly mixed into the queso and you won’t have any clumps.
Next, add all your other ingredients to a large microwave-safe bowl including the milk, green chiles, and spices.
Microwave the bowl for two minutes and it will be very hot – steaming hot.
Then add in all the American cheese (8 ounces). Stir that well and microwave for another minute.
Then add in any remaining cheese you’d like and microwave for another minute.
Stir together and check to make sure all the cheese is melted. Season the queso with salt and pepper and you can microwave it in 30-second bursts if the cheese isn’t completely melted.
Finishing the Microwaved Queso
Once the queso is completely smooth and seasoned well, you can garnish it with some cilantro (optional) and serve it with chips!
It’s so creamy and delicious! Any queso lover will be happy with it.
Can you make this on the stovetop?
If you don’t want to make this in the microwave, or if you want to make a double-batch of the queso for a party, it’s fine to make it on the stovetop!
Heat the milk over low heat and add-in the green chiles and spices. Once it is steaming hot, slowly mix in the cheeses until they are melted and then serve. It’ll take probably 10-15 minutes to finish the queso this way.
This queso does quite well at room temperature for up to 30 minutes. Even if it is cooled off, you can still dip a chip in it!
You can also reheat the queso easily by stirring in a little milk and microwaving it again in 30-second bursts.
The substitution options for this queso are many!
- While I like American cheese as the base, you can use white or yellow American and up to four ounces of any cheese you like.
- For a spicier queso, add chopped jalapenos or a few dashes of hot sauce.
- Once the queso is done, mix in other add-ins like black beans, ground taco meat, or chorizo!
If you try this microwave queso, I think you’ll agree that it’s worth the work, especially considering how little work it involves!
Microwave Queso Recipe
- 6 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 4-ounce can green chiles
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces American cheese, chopped or grated
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
- Cilantro, garnish
- Tortilla chips, for serving
- Grate or chop the cheeses and toss with cornstarch.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, add evaporated milk, green chiles, and spices. Microwave on high for two minutes.
- Stir in 8 ounces of cheese mixture and microwave for 1 minute more. Stir to melt cheese.
- Stir in remaining batch of cheese and microave for another 1 minute. Stir to make sure cheese is melted.
- Transfer queso to serving bowl and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.