Smoked Queso With Real Cheese

5 from 8 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links.

Easy smoked queso, is a tastier version of queso. Made with real cheese and a huge crown pleaser. Pair this with tortilla chips, pretzels or drizzle over a hot dog, you will love this authentic smoked cheese dip.

Melty cheese in a cast iron pan with jalapeño and a pretzel dipped in it.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!

Why Make This Smoked Queso

This queso goes above and beyond your typical queso. It’s made on the smoker and infused with delicious one of a kind smoked flavor. It pairs great with Guinness beer, whisky and so much more. This queso will blow your guests away, it’s addictive and there is no fake cheese (Velveeta) it’s made with real cheese, real Ingredients you can feel better about indulging on.

If you don’t have a smoker, I have included oven directions AND tips to help create a smoky flavor. This recipe does take a little love and patience if you are using a smoker. We like to throw some meat on the smoker so we are also making a meal (like chicken or ribs) in addition to this wonderful queso. Also try my Cream Cheese Corn Dip for another great game day appetizer.

Ingredients Needed

Quedo Ingredients on a counter.
  • Monterey Jack Cheese. This is a mild cheese that melts wonderfully. We use this in place of the Velveeta to give us the creamy base of the queso. I buy it in a block because it’s cheaper, however if you can grab shredded monterey jack, that skips a step and helps make this recipe cook more quickly. (Use smoked Monterey Jack if using an oven)
  • Sharp Cheddar. This gives the nice sharp flavor to the queso. I love strong cheee flavors and it blends great with the Monterey. Use orange or white cheddar. White cheddar is my favorite since it makes this queso look nice. Use shredded or a block of it. (Use smoked Cheddar if using the oven version)
  • Rotel Tomatoes. Rotel is the brand and they are chopped tomatoes with chilies in them, so many queso recipes use this. These kick up the flavor, add some heat and color. You can find this in the canned tomato aisle. A store brand will also work if you want to save some money.
  • Canned Green Chiles. This is to really kick up the flavor! This is found in the international section.
  • Half & Half. This helps combine the cheese and makes it more melty, easier to dip. You can use heavy cream as well.
  • Cream Cheese. This is to hold everything together and another ingredient to help marry the cheese together.
  • Paprika & Salt. Smoked paprika will be best!
  • Liquid Smoke. Only if using the oven for smoked queso flavor.

Steps To Make

This smoked queso is very easy to make, it really only involves some patience for it to cook properly on the smoker. You will need to also be available to stir it up every so often.

Cast iron with all ingredients piled in.

Step One. Turn pellet grill to smoker on. Prepare cheese by shredding or chopping into cubes, this will help it to cook a bit faster. Drain some of the liquid from the Rotel tomatoes before adding to cast iron (about half of the liquid, do not drain all, it flavors the queso). Add ingredients to tinfoil pan or medium cast iron.

Step Two. Place on the grill and let it smoke for 20 minutes or more if you want extra smoke flavor. Set smoker temp to 225º. Check on the smoked queso every 30 minutes and stir as needed. If you need a little more half and half, add 1/4 at a time as the cooking process proceeds.

Step Three. Cook for 2 hours, just be sure to check on it and stir! Feel free to add a little more salt to the mix as needed. Once it’s finished, carefully pull off the smoker, place on a hot pad and top with cilantro and chopped jalapeños if using.

Step Four. Serve with tortilla chips, sliced veggies or pretzels!

Smoked queso with jalapeño  on top and a spoon.

Oven Instructions

Step One. Preheat oven to 375º. Prepare cheese by shredding or chopping into cubes, this will help it to cook a bit faster. Drain some of the liquid from the Rotel tomatoes before adding to cast iron or oven safe dish (about half of the liquid, do not drain all, it flavors the queso). Add ingredients to tinfoil pan or medium cast iron. Add the liquid smoke over everything.

Step Two. Cover the baking dish with tin foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove form the oven, stir and add 1/4 cup of milk if needed and depending on how thick/thin you like your queso.

Step Three. Place back in the oven remove tinfoil, cook for another 20 and then pull out of the oven and serve!

Queso in a cast iron with a hand dipping a pretzel.

Tips & FAQ’s

Do I need a smoker to make smoked queso?

You do not need a smoker for this smoked queso, although I recommend it for the ultimate smoky queso, I have included easy oven baked instructions, just be sure to grab smoked cheeses if you can.

What cheese can I use?

You can use a few verities of cheeses for this recipe. Cheddar is my favorite but you can also mix in pepper jack or Mozzarella if you want a more mild queso. You can also use gouda in place of the cheddar!

Is this queso spicy?

I do not find it very spicy, I would say it is mild/medium heat. Just be sure to use mild chiles and Rotel tomatoes if you want it mild!

Recipe Pairings

This smoked queso is great with pretzels and tortilla chips and you can also make my Oven Baked Jalapeño Poppers with it, the two pair great together. Air Fryer Garlic Bread is another great app to pair with this queso!

Recipe Variations

Cheese. Use Monterey pepper jack cheese in place of plain Monterey if you want. Gouda, havarti cheese make a great cheddar sub if you want more sharp flavors.

Rotel Tomatoes. You can use regular diced canned tomatoes, but it won’t have the Mexican flare of flavors. Just be sure to use green chilies if you can.

Cream Cheese. You can use lite cream cheese if you want to cut some calories here, you can also use 2% milk instead of half & half if you want to cut a few calories there as well.

Smoker. If you don’t have a smoker, no problem! I have baking instructions for you. I recommend using liquid smoke and buying pre “smoked” cheese’s for this recipe to give you the smoke flavors without the smoker.

Make Ahead & Storage Tips

If you want to make this ahead, I recommend getting all the ingredients together in the dish and refrigerating until you are ready to serve, cooking/smoking before serving. You can also pre-make this and warm it up on the grill, it tastes great however you may have a little more chunky consistency. Another way to reheat this dish if you pre make/pre smoke, put it into the crockpot on low heat and add 1/4 cup of milk.

Storage Tips. I typically store leftovers in a tupperware or a heavy duty ziplock bag. You can refrigerate this for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months!

Other Great Appetizers To Try

If you loved this recipe let me know! Also, follow me on Instagram & Pinterest for even more fun recipes to make you feel good from the inside out. Thanks for being here.

Smoked Queso in a black cast iron with jalapeños on top.
5 from 8 votes

Smoked Queso

Easy smoked Queso, is a tastier version of queso. Made with real cheese and a huge crown pleaser. 
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Servings: 8 people

Equipment

  • cast iron skillet or grill safe dish

Ingredients 

  • 8 oz monterey jack cheese, *see notes
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar, *see notes
  • cup cream cheese
  • 2 -10 oz cans Rotel Tomatoes With Chilies
  • 1 -4 oz can green chilies
  • ½ cup half & half or heavy whipping cream , *see notes
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke, *only if baking, omit if smoking on smoker

Optional Toppings

  • 1 sliced jalapeño
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Instructions 

  • Turn pellet grill to smoker on. Prepare cheese by shredding or chopping into cubes, this will help it to cook a bit faster. Drain some of the liquid from the Rotel tomatoes before adding to cast iron (about half of the liquid, do not drain all, it flavors the queso). Add ingredients to tinfoil pan or medium cast iron.
  • Place on the grill and let it smoke for 20 minutes or more if you want extra smoke flavor. Set smoker temp to 225º. Check on the smoked queso every 30 minutes and stir as needed. If you need a little more half and half, add 1/4 at a time as the cooking process proceeds. 
  • Cook for 2 hours, just be sure to check on it and stir! Feel free to add a little more salt to the mix as needed. Once it's finished, carefully pull off the smoker, place on a hot pad and top with cilantro and chopped jalapeños if using. 
  • Serve with tortilla chips, sliced veggies or pretzels! 

Oven Baked Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375º. Prepare cheese by shredding or chopping into cubes, this will help it to cook a bit faster. Drain some of the liquid from the Rotel tomatoes before adding to cast iron or oven safe dish (about half of the liquid, do not drain all, it flavors the queso). Add ingredients to tinfoil pan or medium cast iron. Add the liquid smoke over everything. 
  • Cover the baking dish with tin foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove form the oven, stir and add 1/4 cup of milk if needed and depending on how thick/thin you like your queso. 
  • Turn oven down to 350º. Place back in the oven remove tinfoil, cook for another 20 and then pull out of the oven and serve! 

Notes

This makes about 6-8ish cups of cheese dip
*if you are making this recipe in the oven, look for smoked cheddar/gouda and smoked Monterey jack cheese. 
*use light cream cheese if you want to cut some calories
*use 1 or 2% milk to make this dish a little lighter
*serve with sliced veggies to cut some calories with this dish 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 442mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 0.05g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 617IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 429mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Bailey
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 242
Keyword: Smoker Recipe
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

About Bailey


You may also like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




7 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    May be the best queso I’ve ever had. It’s so easy to prepare and the smoker adds the perfect flavor!

  2. 5 stars
    I had my husband make this for us today and it was SO GOOD!! one of the best queso dip I’ve ever had, bravo!

  3. 5 stars
    This was really great. Made it for a barbecue and it was gone in 10 minutes.

  4. My queso came out very grainy. I use Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack instead of cheddar ( I thought this would actually help b/c Monterey Jack seems to melt better than cheddar). Any suggestions?

    1. I would try to add the milk in small increments in the future! Sometimes it can get grainy if the temp is too high and milk insn’t incorporated slower. So sorry! I hope you still enjoyed it.

  5. 5 stars
    this was SOOOO good and it came out so creamy and perfect. My guests loved it.

  6. 5 stars
    This was great made it for a party today and everyone loved it