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Smoked Queso Dip

Updated: Jun 3

A buffalo chicken pizza with one slice pulled away

If you don't like queso, we can't be friends. I'm not kidding. What is not to love? It is so comforting and decadent and paired with perfectly crispy and salta tortilla chips.... chef's kiss

There is a restaurant in our neighborhood had that amazing queso. It's a tex-mex style barbecue joint that has incredible smoked meats and deliciously wonderful tacos with homemade tortillas. Anytime we go, no matter what else we're getting, I always have to get the queso. It is familiar but also so unique. I couldn't figure out what made it so special until one day I was inspired by some videos on Instagram to try SMOKING queso dip. The result was... revolutionary (in the world of my home-cooked foods).

This queso takes some time (1 hour), but it's worth it. The time comes from the low temp in the first half hour so that you get the smoke flavor imparted into the ingredients. After that, you crank up the heat a bit to get the cheese really hot and gooey. It's worth the wait, I promise you, and worth it for the unparalleled smoked flavor.

Now, if you don't have a smoker, you certainly can do this in the oven. It will still be wildly delicious, but it will definitely miss the smoke flavor. I have never tried to add a drop or two of liquid smoke, but if you're feeling adventurous, go for it.

Make this smoked queso for your next party, taco night, or just a Saturday afternoon when you're feeling cheesy. You will fall in love and I take no responsibility if you get addicted.

Smoked Queso Dip
Makes ~ 4 Cups
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour

**This recipe may include affiliate links for which I may be paid a commission for purchases made through the link.**

Click the file below to download and print the recipe

Smoked Queso Dip
Download PDF • 116KB

I recommend reading the recipe all the way through, including the recipe notes at the bottom, before you start cooking.


  • 1 lb. Velveeta cheese (cut into 1" cubes)

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef

  • 3 tsp. chili powder

  • 1 tsp. cumin

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder

  • 1/4 tsp. chipotle powder (optional)

  • 1 10 oz. can Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chiles)

  • 1/3 C. sour cream

Special equipment:

To get the true essence of this recipe, you will need a smoker. I use a Traeger, which is an electric smoker. You can also use a traditional wood smoker. If you don't have a smoker, you can make this in the oven instead, but you will miss the smoke flavor.

For easy clean-up, you can use a disposable 8x8 or 9x9 metal pan OR use a skillet that is heat safe on a smoker. I use a 2.25 quarter Le Creuset braiser.


  1. Preheat your smoker to 225°

  2. Meanwhile, cook the ground beef on the stove, breaking up to crumble it until it is cooked through. Drain off the excess grease if needed.

  3. To the pan with the beef, add the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and chipotle powder (if using). Also add about 2 tablespoons of water. Over medium-low heat, stir the seasoning and water around to complete coat the beef. Continue to cook until the water has mostly absorbed or evaporated, 2-4 minutes.

  4. If you're using a different pan to smoke your dip in, transfer the spiced beef mixture to the the new pan. Add the cubed Velveeta cheese and Rotel to the pan as well. No need to stir yet.

  5. Place the pan in the preheated smoker and allow to smoke with the lid on for 30 minutes.

  6. After 30 minutes, stir the dip and turn the heat up to 350°. Add the sour cream and stir again. Continue to cook for an additional 20-30 minutes until the cheese is hot and fully melted.

  7. Remove from the smoker, give a good stir and serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

*Recipe notes + Variations*

Certainly feel free to use ground chicken or turkey instead of beef.

You can make this in the oven if you don't have a smoker by cooking at 350° the entire time. Cook for 20 minutes, stir in the sour cream, then cook an additional 10-20 minutes until the cheese if fully melted and hot. You will miss the smoked flavor, but it will still be delicious. You can try adding a drop or two of liquid smoke, but note I have never tested that.

If you're using a traditional smoker, it will take a bit longer to make this since it will take time to increase the heat for the second half of cooking. If you prefer, you can cook it at the same temperature the whole time, but it will likely take closer to 1.5 hours to get fully melted.

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