Feisty Chile con Carne Queso Dip is the perfect, addicting snack for parties. It’s cheesy, spicy, and full of taco-ey beef goodness. The dip reheats well without breaking and will stay smooth and delicious.
Holiday party season has arrived, and with it, the delicious party and snack foods we all crave but try valiantly not to eat. Until now. The pants with the elastic waistbands emerge from the deepest, darkest recesses of our closets as we set out to do our best power eating.
I kid—but only a little. Precisely because I tend to throw my self-imposed healthy eating habits to the wind at this time of year, I’m religious with my workouts to compensate for this infrequent gluttony. (I write a bit about how I stay fit despite all of this yummy food here.)
What better reward for working out hard and being healthy all year than gooey, cheesy deliciousness? And that brings my to my current obsession…
Feisty Chile con Carne Queso Dip
I am happy to inform you that no preternaturally orange block of process cheese food was involved in the making of this recipe. Instead, Feisty Chile con Carne Queso Dip is made with just a few simple ingredients: 2 types of cheeses, a bit of cornstarch, evaporated milk, meat, tomatoes, chiles, and spices. I do incorporate a little good-quality American cheese into the sauce because its emulsifiers help cheese sauces stay silky smooth. But the rest is extra-sharp cheddar cheese, baby!
I use ground beef for the “carne” part of the sauce, although I have also cut it with some Mexican chorizo: also delicious. I use my own quick spice blend to give the meat that nice, smoky spiciness. Purely for presentation purposes, I like to keep the meat separate and serve it on top of the dip, but you’re welcome to mix it in if that’s your preference.
I love Hatch roasted chiles for Feisty Chile con Carne Queso Dip, but you can use any spicy roasted green chile—just don’t go for jalapeños: they will likely make your sauce too spicy. I also add in some diced tomatoes. Sure, you could opt for a can of RoTel (a premade mix of tomatoes and chiles), but I like having more control over the level of heat and spice in my sauces and dips—particularly salt.
For an extra kick, I like to add a tablespoon of juice from jarred jalapeños to the sauce. I top the finished sauce with the meat mixture and garnish with chopped jarred jalapeños, scallions, cilantro (I put this on the side, since some people are haters), and a sprinkling of grated cotija cheese.
Serve Feisty Chile con Carne Queso Dip in a chafing dish or keep on very low heat, although the dip will likely disappear before you have to worry about it getting cold. You’ll want to have plenty of sturdy chips on hand. Since my first time making the Feisty Chile con Carne Queso dip was for just me and the hubster, I served it in little individual ramekins (as in the picture) and froze the rest. I’ll let you know if it freezes well, since I plan to pull it out this weekend!
Although Feisty Chile con Carne Queso Dip is my new favorite party snack (my recipe appears after the roundup!), I’ll also be serving this selection of greatest hits at the various parties I’m attending or hosting:
My favorite party snacks: a roundup for the holidays!
Sweet Zingy Asian Meatballs: the perfect make-and-take snack for potlucks. Make the meatballs and sauce in advance, then put everything into your crockpot and you’re good to go!
Perfect Loaded Nachos: a football party classic in my house. I serve them buffet-style, letting guests load up their own bowls. The rich cheese sauce stays smooth and silky. Leftover meat, sauce, and condiments are absolutely fantastic on baked potatoes!
Slow-Cooker Sticky Chicken Wings: These crockpot sticky chicken wings are juicy and delicious, finished with a sweet, spicy, tangy sauce. Perfect holiday and sports party fare!
Pico de Gallo: a lighter, healthier choice for party dips. The fresh, zippy flavor, will keep your guests coming back for more!
Phil’s Taco Dip: the perfect traveler to bring to potluck parties! Creamy, cheesy, addicting flavor that’s great for loading up on tortilla chips.
Cheesy Picante Quesadillas: slice these up pizza style! A great party snack to make with leftover rotisserie chicken.
And now, without further ado, I’ll leave you with my Feisty Chile con Carne Queso recipe. I hope it’s a hit at your next party. Happy Holidays!
I’m linking my Feisty Chile con Carne Queso Dip recipe/snack roundup with:
Feisty Chile con Carne dip is the perfect, addicting snack for parties. It’s cheesy, spicy, and full of taco-ey beef goodness. The dip reheats well without breaking and will stay smooth and delicious.
- 3 cups American cheese, shredded*
- 5 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded*
- 24 oz evaporated milk (2 12-oz. cans, divided**)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp juice from jarred jalapeños (or hot sauce)
- 15 oz canned petite diced tomatoes, well drained
- 8 oz (2 cans) roasted green chiles, well drained
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 lb ground beef***
- 2 tbsp ancho chili powder
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- cilantro, chopped
- scallions, thinly sliced (green parts only)
- cotija cheese, grated
- hot sauce
- jarred or fresh jalapeños, chopped
- 2 bags sturdy (restaurant style) tortilla chips
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef. Brown the meat, breaking it up into small chunks with a wooden spoon and turning occasionally, until all traces of pink are gone, about 8–10 minutes.
Drain the meat. Return to the skillet and place over medium-low heat. Mix in the spices and simmer until fragrant, 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Toss the cheeses with the cornstarch in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Mix in 2 cups of the evaporated milk along with the jalapeño juice or hot sauce (if using). Place the saucepan over low heat. Use a whisk to stir constantly for 5 minutes, or until the cheese sauce has smoothed out and thickened (it will look clumpy at first).
Mix in the tomatoes and chiles. Check the consistency of the sauce: if it's too thick, add additional evaporated milk (slowly! add a tablespoon at a time) until the mix reaches your preferred consistency.
To serve, add the sauce to a chafing dish over lowest possible heat. Scoop the meat on top of the sauce at the center of the dish. Garnish with desired toppings and set out tortilla chips for guests to serve themselves.
*Do not, under any circumstances, use bagged, pre-shredded cheese. Bagged cheeses contain starch to prevent clumping and it's impossible to adjust the recipe for the amount of added starch. Long story short: it will ruin your sauce.
**Reserve the extra evaporated milk in case you need to thin out leftover dip. To reheat, microwave on 50% power, stirring every minute, until hot.
***You can reduce the amount of ground beef and make up the difference with Mexican chorizo.