Move over, choriqueso. There’s a new cheese dip in town, and it’s smoked queso dip. This creamy smoked cheese dip recipe, served with air fryer tortilla chips, is perfect for game day, camping or holiday bash.
More dip recipes, to serve alongside chips and queso: Cowboy Candy, 4-ingredient guacamole, refried bean dip, and Pico de Gallo.
This smoked queso recipe is an amped up version of basic queso; it’s loaded with Velveeta, cheddar or pepper jack cheese, Rotel, meat and jalapenos and is infused with a hit of smoky flavor.
This ain’t Chili’s skillet queso, y’all. Fire up your smoker and let’s get cooking! Don’t forget to grab a Michelada or Mango Michelada while you’re at it.
Only 7 queso ingredients, more or less, are required to make smoky cheese dip. This skillet queso is highly adaptable so dress it up how you like. Don’t like it spicy? Omit the jalapeno. Love cheese? Make it a 3 cheese queso by throwing in a block of cream cheese.
- Velveeta Cheese
- Cheddar or Pepper Jack Cheese
- Meat (Sausage, Chorizo or Ground Beef)
- White Onion
- Optional: Evaporated Milk
As mentioned, this is a highly customizable cheese dip, so adjust to your personal preference. Pretty much any ingredient found in our Caldo de Queso would work. If you look at the pictures in this post, you’ll notice there are 3 different variations. We go where our mood takes us!
Pickled Red Onions
Pickled Banana Peppers
Instant Pot Black Beans
Leftover Smoked Tri Tip
Cayenne or Chili Pepper
Smoked Queso Dip Recipe
Smoked queso recipes pair well with our favorite Mexican recipes. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
Chips and Queso
While nothing beats chips and queso, in our opinion, there are some other “dipper” options to consider:
- Potato Chips
- Pretzel Bites
- Pita Chips
- Pork Rinds
- Baguette (or other sliced bread)
- Fresh Vegetables – Carrots and Bell Peppers
Smoked Cheese Dip Variations
Queso Dip With Meat
As photographed, this Velveeta cheese dip includes Jimmy Dean sausage. You can replace it with ground beef or chorizo, or ADD either of those so it will be even “meatier”. Ground beef is less flavorful however, which is why we stick with sausage or chorizo.
Rotel and Velveeta
As written, this is a smoked rotel dip as we use two full cans in the dish. Some folks don’t care for canned tomatoes; we get it. Instead of using canned tomatoes, use diced tomatoes, like Roma or grape tomatoes.
3 Cheese Queso
For extra cheesy goodness, throw in an extra block of your favorite cheese or even leftover smoked cheese. We always use pepper jack cheese or cheddar cheese, when making rotel cheese dip, but smoked gouda and Monterey jack are great choices. Mozzarella and provolone are also great melting cheeses that would work.
Cream Cheese Queso
When making Velveeta queso dip, one of my favorite variations is to add a block of cream cheese. I mean Rotel dip with cream cheese is a match made in queso heaven.
Meat Church Smoked Queso
If you’re a Meat Church fan, add two tablespoons of their Holy Voodoo or Holy Cow Seasoning. Talk about taking this Velveeta sausage dip up a notch!
How to Make Smoked Queso Dip
Making smoked queso is one of the easiest smoker recipes to master. You can use a smoker, gas grill or charcoal grill to make this queso dip. Consult the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full instructions. Here’s a quick overview:
- Gas Grill – To make this smoked queso on the grill with propane, you’ll cook it at 225° on the top grill rack. Create smoke by using a smoker box filled with wood chips/chunks. Or you can omit the smoke all-together if you’re not into a delicious smoky flavor.
- Charcoal – To make cheese dip on the grill with charcoal, pre-heat the coals and dump them off to one side to create two cooking zones. Open the vents, as needed, to maintain the temperate at 225° F. Create smoke by placing wood chunks directly on the pre-heated coals, right before cooking.
- Pellet/Electric Smoker (Traeger Queso) – To make queso on the smoker, pre-heat your smoker to 225°. Follow the manufacture’s instructions to get an even smoke.
- Energy Source – The smoked queso dip will be on the heat for hours so make sure you stock up on your selected energy source: charcoal, pellets, propane, gas, etc.
- Smoking Wood (Only Needed If Smoking) – Chunks, chips or pellets.
- Cast Iron Skillet – Use a cast iron skillet, instead of a foil pan, to make this queso dip recipe if you prefer. You only need one or the other.
- Disposable Aluminum Foil Pan – Use a disposable aluminum pan, if you don’t have a cast iron pan, when making queso dip.
- Smoker Box – You’ll need one to impart the delicious smoky flavor if using a gas grill. We’ve used this one from Amazon in the past. This isn’t necessary if you prefer to make grilled queso dip vs smoked queso dip.
- The meat must be browned and chopped before adding it with the other ingredients. If not, too much grease will be added to the mix.
- This queso dip recipe is on the thicker side. If you like thinner smoked queso dip, add evaporated milk. Start with 1/2 cup and work your way up until your desired consistency is reached. You can add it at any time.
- For a lighter smoky flavor, only smoke the queso for 30 minutes or so vs the full 1-2 hours.
- You must shred the cheese! Do not buy pre-shredded cheese as it’s coated in cellulose, which prevents it from melting. Bust out your cheese grater and get to shredding.
- Make sure to stir! Stir the smoked queso dip every 15-20 minutes to ensure the cheese melts and the bottom doesn’t burn if there’s a flare up.
- Smoked cheese dip thickens up very quickly. To avoid this, transfer the cooked smoked queso dip to a slow cooker set to warm immediately after removing from the smoker.
- Can you freeze queso? Due to the use of dairy, we do not recommend freezing.
This creamy smoked queso dip appetizer recipe is perfect for game day, camping or any party.
Servings: 8 servings
- 32 oz Velveeta Cheese, Cubed
- 8 oz Pepper Jack or Cheddar Cheese
- 1 lb Sausage, Chorizo or Ground Beef, Cooked and Chopped (*Note 1)
- 2 10 oz Rotel, Any Flavor (*Note 2)
- 1/2 cup Diced White Onion
- 2 Jalapeños, Finely Diced (*Note 3)
- 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
- Evaporated Milk (For A Thinner Consistency) (*Note 4)
Pre-heat the smoker/grill to 250°F (medium-low). Add wood right before cooking.
Add all the ingredients to a skillet or disposable aluminum foil pan (size 9 x 13). Set aside.
GRILL: Place the skillet on the top rack of the grill and close the lid (do not put it directly on the grill grates). Check it after 15 minute to stir. If it’s too hot, turn off one of the burners. If the cheese hasn’t started to melt, increase the heat slightly. Stir every 15 minutes until the cheese is fully melted. Final cook time: 45-60 minutes.SMOKER: Place the skillet on the indirect side of the grill and close the lid. Check it after 15 minutes and stir to combine. Stir every 15-20 minutes, cooking for a minimum of one hour up to two hours.
OPTIONAL: After cooking, add 1/2 cup of evaporated milk to thin out the consistency. Add more until your desired consistency is achieved.
OPTIONAL: Immediately transfer to a slow cooker, set to warm, to keep the best consistency.
Note 2 – Feel free to replace with 3-4 fresh diced tomatoes.
Note 3 – Omit if spicy isn’t your thing. No replacement is needed.
Note 4 – This queso dip recipe is on the thicker side. If you like thinner smoked queso dip, add evaporated milk. Start with 1/2 cup and work your way up until your desired consistency is reached.
Calories: 536kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 2330mg | Potassium: 583mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1412IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 872mg | Iron: 1mg