Queso dip, for the uninitiated (welcome to the fold!) is a smooth, cheesy sauce designed for chip-dipping and ladling over fries. And, most importantly for us, it's the scene-stealer at any backyard bash. We're making this creamy dip in the slow cooker and utilizing a few choice ingredients to ensure it tastes just like the neon nacho cheese sauce you enjoyed on chips at the movie theaters of your youth.
So if you're looking to infuse your Fourth of July menu with a dose of nostalgia, be sure to invite this slow-cooker queso dip to the party.
Embrace the Neon Cheese
The use of Velveeta cheese in this recipe is going to raise some eyebrows, but here's the thing: Because Velveeta is a shelf-stable cheese product, it can sit in the slow cooker for several hours without getting grainy, gloopy, or separating. It is also so creamy on its own that it only needs a little milk and the heat of the slow cooker to transform it into dip. You won't find Velveeta in the cheese cooler at the supermarket — look for it near the canned Parmesan in the pasta aisle.
Top Your Nachos
This queso recipe only requires three ingredients. Up the nacho-ante by picking out three to four extra toppings for guests to dress up their chips and cheese dip with. While the dip can be thrown together the day of the party, fix up your toppings the day before and stash them, covered, in a serving dish in the fridge.
A Few Ways to Top Your Nachos
- Canned black beans
- Chopped fresh tomato
- Chopped cilantro or chives
- Crumbled cooked bacon
- Chopped red onion
- Sliced black olives
- Chopped bell or poblano peppers
A Junior High Fourth of July Party
We're celebrating the 4th of July with a big dose of junior high nostalgia, fulfilling the longing for the foods that transport us back to a holiday filled with cannonball competitions at the pool, fireworks after sunset, and more hot dogs and ice cream than you can imagine.
Almost everything on this menu, from the slow-cooker queso to the muffin-tin ice cream cakes, can be prepared days in advance, finished off before the party starts, and requires almost no tending once guests arrive.
Slow-Cooker Queso Dip
1 pound Velveeta, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 to 2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank's Red Hot or Cholula
Tortilla chips, for serving
Place the Velveeta, milk, and hot sauce in a 1 1/2-quart or larger slow cooker. Cover and cook on the LOW setting until the Velveeta is completely melted, about 1 hour.
Whisk until smooth, then turn the slow-cooker setting to WARM if your slow cooker has that setting. If your slow cooker doesn't have a warm setting, leave on LOW uncovered to keep the dip warm without burning. Serve warm with tortilla chips and toppings.
- Stovetop option: Place all the ingredients in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the Velveeta is completely melted and the dip is smooth and warmed through.
- Storage: Store leftover dip in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat in the slow cooker or on the stovetop over low heat until pourable.
- Food styling by Barrett Washburne