FRONT BURNER: Taco Queso Dip makes a great Super Bowl meal

Taco Queso Dip

(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)
Taco Queso Dip (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

Like millions of Americans, I will be watching Super Bowl LIV this Sunday. I will also tune in for Puppy Bowl XIV and Kitten Bowl VII. I'll watch the football broadcast for the commercials. The other two will be for all the fuzzy, furry, oh-my-goodness cuteness. And like millions of Americans, I will indulge in a variety of snack foods.

Super Bowl Sunday is a relationship milestone of sorts for my husband and me. Our second second date was attending a Super Bowl party. Yes, second second date. (Long story short: We dated briefly, realized the timing wasn't right and a few years later, when the timing was right, we started dating again and married three years later.) And we've watched the broadcast together every year since.

But back to the food. Over the years our game day menus have included a variety of dishes, but always cheese dip.


Some years we keep it simple: Velveeta, Ro-Tel, ancho chile powder and cumin. Other years, we might have something smooth and creamy with white American cheese, jalapenos and roasted tomatillos. Sometimes we add beans or meat or both and call it a meal.

We recently tried this recipe from Serious Eats.

For the video that accompanies this story, I made the dip with the lesser amount of salsa, but the dip was lacking something and after adding more salt, cumin, ancho chile and even a bit of lime juice, Joe and I decided what it needed was more tomato. So we stirred about a cup of salsa into the finished dip. And that did the trick.

Taco Queso Dip

½ pound Monterey Jack cheese

½ pound sharp cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil

¼ cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 to 2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced, plus some rings for garnish

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon chile powder, or to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ pound lean ground beef (I used 85% lean)

¼ to 1 ¼ cups salsa

1 (5-ounce) cans evaporated milk, divided use

2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish

Finely grated zest and juice from 1 lime

Kosher salt

Tortilla chips, for serving

Shred the cheeses into a large bowl. Add the cornstarch and toss to evenly coat. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned around the edges. Add the jalapeno, garlic, chile powder, cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon or spatula, until no longer pink. Stir in salsa, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in half of the evaporated milk, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any fond, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the cheese. Cook, stirring constantly until cheese is melted and smooth, adding as much of the remaining evaporated milk as needed to create desired consistency. Stir in the cilantro and lime zest. Season to taste with salt and more cumin and chile powder, if needed. Transfer to a bowl, garnish with sliced jalapeno and cilantro (if desired) and serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Recipe adapted from Joshua Bousel via

Nutrition information: Each of 8 servings (using all of the salsa and all of the evaporated milk; without chips) contains approximately 340 calories, 21 g protein, 26 g fat, 10 g carbohydrate, 88 mg cholesterol, 778 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.

Nutrition information is based on data from

Food on 01/29/2020

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