This recipe is written in partnership with Milk. Love what's real.
You know what “hangry” is, right? It’s irritation or anger brought on by intense hunger.
Been there? We have, too. So our team is always putting our heads together to come up with great snack ideas that the whole family will love come game or movie night. Enter: Queso Blanco.
VIDEO! Queso Blanco
What Is Queso Blanco?
Queso Blanco is essentially a gussied up version of a white cheese dip. It's one of those unicorn recipes: filling, inexpensive, and easy to prepare.
It's made with real dairy milk which provides nine essential nutrients including high-quality protein; it's a great snack for the whole family, and even more kid-friendly if you have older kiddos who fancy themselves chefs. With little to no effort, they can test out their cooking chops by whipping up a batch.
How Do You Make It?
Real milk is the star of the show here: It's thickened with a simple roux (a mixture of flour and melted butter) to create a sauce, which is then flavored with white American cheese and a variety of spices.
It's really easy to make, but to avoid curdling, whisk in the shredded American cheese off the heat, or over very low heat.
TIP! In the event that your dip does curdle slightly, whisk a tablespoon or two of real milk into the warm dip to smooth it out again.
What Kind of Cheese is Best?
White American cheese is the go-to for creating a smooth dip that holds up to extended warming times without the fear of curdling.
Avoid pre-shredded, packaged cheese if you can. Using cheese that you grate yourself eliminates the added starches in which most pre-shredded cheeses are coated. Those starches are great in preventing clumping in the bag, but they also make it difficult to achieve a smooth queso blanco.
TIP! If you aren’t able to find blocks of white American cheese in your dairy section, head on over to the deli and ask them to cut a chunk for you.
What Should I Serve With Queso Blanco?
Serve your queso blanco with a topping of fresh pico de gallo, and scoop it up with your favorite tortilla chips, pretzel bites, or pita chips. And of course, a glass of real milk!
Also, what makes this dip even more appealing is the fact that you can use it in any number of other recipes. Queso blanco with chips is, of course, the classic snack food, but stirring cooked taco meat into it creates a chili con queso. Serve this dip over fries, steamed broccoli, or even grilled chicken for a jazzed up side or a more substantial meal.
How Do I Reheat My Queso?
If you have leftovers, be sure to store them in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
The queso blanco may be reheated with a splash of milk on the stove over medium-low heat, or in 30 second bursts in the microwave until warmed through.
- For the dip:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups real whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Pinch ground black pepper
- 10 ounces (about 4 cups) shredded white American cheese
- 1 tablespoon diced canned green chiles or jalapeños (optional)
- To garnish:
- Fresh pico de gallo
- Chopped cilantro
- Sliced jalapeño peppers
Make the roux:
In a 3-quart saucepan (preferably one with sloping sides) melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is completely melted, sprinkle the flour over it and whisk the two together until a very loose paste forms. Cook the roux for 1 minute.
Make a béchamel sauce:
Pour the milk into the roux in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Adding the milk to the roux slowly helps avoid clumps.
Add the spices
Once all of the milk has been whisked into the pot, add the cumin, garlic, salt, onion powder, and black pepper. Whisk the spices in completely while bringing the milk up to a simmer.
Thicken the sauce
Whisk the milk sauce frequently until small bubbles appear on the surface. This should take 3-5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the milk sauce should thicken to the consistency of a bisque or soup.
Gradually whisk in the shredded cheese
Once the milk sauce has thickened, decrease the heat to the lowest setting. Whisk in the shredded cheese a heavy pinch at a time, adding the next batch of cheese only when the previous batch has melted completely.
Stir in the chiles
Once all of the cheese has been whisked in, add the diced green chiles to the queso blanco. Taste the sauce, adding more salt if needed.
Adjust the consistency:
When first prepared, the sauce will be slightly thin. This is to allow the queso to thicken properly as it cools. If you find your queso is too thick, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency.
Keep warm over very low heat:
If you plan to serve the queso blanco over the span of a couple of hours, keep the dip warm over very low heat. Stir every 10 minutes to keep it smooth. If the top of the dip starts to firm up, simply stir to replenish its creamy consistency.
Serve with pita or chips,
and a glass of real milk!