Will the real chili con queso please stand up

I am not a food snob, but when something is supposed to have cheese in it, then I expect real cheese. However many times I have had chili con queso it has been made with Velveeta, which is processed cheese product, but it isn’t cheese. I know it is because of convenience that people just grab a packet of Velveeta from the shelves (it doesn’t even need to be refrigerated), a tin of tomatoes and chiles and mix it together, but real chili con queso doesn’t take that much longer to make, and it tastes so much better.

Real chili con queso

Real chili con queso

Rant over. Chili con queso is more of a Tex-Mex dish than a Mexican one, though the name is Spanish, i.e. chile with cheese. It was probably inspired by Queso Flameado from Northern Mexico, which is melted cheese with chorizo and served flambéed.

Once you’ve tried chili con queso made from real cheese, you won’t ever want to eat that other stuff again. Experiment with different types of real cheeses for different flavours, as well as hotter chilies if you prefer. Even try adding some cooked Mexican chorizo for a more authentic taste.

Chili con queso ingredients

Chili con queso ingredients


  • 2 jalapeños, roasted, skinned, de-seeded and finely diced
  • half a red onion, finely diced
  • 2 large firm tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and finely diced
  • 5 cups (560g) of Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • quarter of a pint (150ml) of heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp of Crema Mexicana or Crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp of tequila (I used Reposado tequila)
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil


Add the oil to a medium hot pan and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the cream and the Crème fraîche to the pan. Add a little of the cheese at a time, while stirring the sauce. Once all the cheese has been added and has melted, then add the tomatoes,  jalapeños and the tequila. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

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