Healthy Queso Dip – Slender Kitchen

This healthy queso dip tastes amazing with chips or smothered on your favorite burrito. It has all the flavor and none of the guilt! Make this dip with sharp cheddar and jalapenos…you won’t regret it. Jump to Recipe


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The ultimate lightened-up queso dip that’s made with real ingredients (no Velveeta here) and tons of flavor. This healthier cheese dip is the perfect addition to any football or party spread. 

Few things are as satisfying as a spicy, cheesy queso dip. I enjoy all kinds of snacks like carrots dipped in skinny ranch, raw vegetables with hummus, and baked chips dipped in salsa. However, as much as I love those things, I just can’t resist queso.

Are you the same way? Literally, I have to save points for it every weekend because someone inevitably brings queso, and I have to eat it whether it is delicious and homemade or out of a jar.

My favorite kind of queso is homemade, has no beans or meat, and has lots of spice. So naturally, this recipe mirrors that. However, you could easily saute some hamburger meat to start the recipe or throw in some beans. Make it however you like it.

I adapted this recipe from one that was passed around between friends, adding lots more spice. If you don’t want it quite as spicy, eliminate the jalapeno.

Key Ingredients For Healthy Queso Dip

Don’t be intimidated by this long list of ingredients. Each thing on it is essential and plays an important part in making this a rich, creamy queso that is good for you too.

  • Cheddar Cheese: For the strongest flavor, use reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese. You could also swap it for pepper jack for even more spice.
  • Diced Tomatoes With Green Chiles: Use a can of your favorite tomatoes with green chiles. They come in hot and mild spice levels. Normally I like to use Rotel tomatoes but any brand will work.
  • Garlic and onion: Don’t try to replace fresh garlic with garlic powder. It won’t have nearly the same flavor as sauteed minced garlic cloves. Any type of onion will taste delicious – red onion has the most pungent flavor of all the varieties.
  • Peppers: I used both jalapeno and poblano peppers. If you want it extra spicy, add a little bit of habanero!
  • Chicken Broth: Use low-sodium chicken broth to help maintain a healthy amount of salt since this recipe tends to be quite salty.
  • Milk: I used skim milk, but you can replace it with unsweetened, non-flavored almond milk or coconut milk. Reduced-fat milk and whole milk will also work and create even creamier queso.
  • Cornstarch: You only need a little bit – this thickens the queso.
  • Cilantro: Do you think cilantro tastes like soap? Replace it with fresh parsley or leave it out entirely.
  • Lime Juice: You only need a little bit in this queso, so I just squirt some from fresh lime. This is optional but adds a nice brightness to the dip.
  • Spices: The best spices for the queso are salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. You could also use homemade taco seasoning.

What To Serve With Queso

The first thing that comes to mind when you think queso is chips! Make these baked tortilla chips or baked tostadas to serve alongside this yummy queso for an appetizer everyone loves. Usually, I throw some raw carrots, bell peppers, and cauliflower florets on the side as well.

Queso is pretty much a straightforward party food or snack. So, if you are going to be serving it at your next party, I suggest making some turkey pinwheels to go with it. They are easy for guests to pick up and packed with gut-healthy ingredients.

To go along with the Tex-Mex theme, you can also set out some corn salsa and some sweet and tangy mango salsa too! Dips and salsas are always popular at parties.

Love chipotle queso? Then consider serving this with some Chicken Burrito Bowls or Easy Chicken Soft Tacos.

Recipe Tips And Ideas For Low-Fat Queso

Follow these tips to make sure that this dip turns out creamy every single time!

  • Whisk a bit of the milk and cornstarch together before adding them to the saucepan. This way, the cornstarch will thicken the milk – which makes this a very creamy cheese dip.
  • When you add the milk to the pan, be very careful and cook it at a low temperature, stirring constantly. Do not let the milk scald/burn, or else it will ruin the flavor of the dip.
  • Make it as spicy or as mild as you like it! This dip can be fully customized.
  • If you can’t find diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Rotel tomatoes), then consider adding some canned diced green chilies to the dip. Just drain them first.
  • For more Tex Mex flavor, swap in some taco seasoning for the cumin, ancho chili powder, salt, and pepper.
  • For a heartier dip, add in some canned black beans or pinto beans. You could also cook some ground turkey or beef to add. 

Lightened up cheddar queso dip in a bowl with two hands holding it and tortilla chips.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions I frequently get asked about by some readers…

How do you make a mild queso?

If you follow my recipe as-is, your queso will have a bit of a kick to it! I like things on the spicier side. To make it milder, leave out the jalapeno peppers and use mild canned diced tomatoes.

If you want it extra-mild (with almost no heat at all), leave out both jalapeno and poblano peppers and only use canned tomatoes without green chiles. This version is popular with kids.

Can you make this in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can make this in a slow cooker – but don’t let it cook for very long. If you cook this queso too long, it will cook down, resulting in an extra-thick texture.

To make it in the slow cooker, mix all the ingredients and set it on low for 1-3 hours. Do not use the high-temperature setting.

How do you store leftover queso?

Store leftover queso in a mason jar with a lid that screws on nice and tight. It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

The texture might change – it could begin to harden. If it does, just scoop it into a saucepan and heat it up. It will melt back down very quickly.

What are some healthy things to dip into queso?

I like to make baked tortilla chips. My recipe for oven-baked chips is in the printable recipe card below – all you need is some corn tortillas and an oven.

Tex mex healthy queso dip made with tomatoes, jalapenos, cheddar cheese, and spices in a bowl with cilantro.

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