Slow cooker chile con queso is the best possible party food
January 29th, 2014
12:45 PM ET
Share this on:

America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

Chile con queso has fallen on hard times; often it’s just Ro‐tel diced tomatoes and chiles mixed with Velveeta, microwaved, and stirred. We wanted to keep the simplicity but ditch the plasticky flavor and waxy texture.

We started with a base of chicken broth, cream cheese, and cornstarch to help stabilize the cheese and prevent it from breaking. For the cheeses, we chose Monterey Jack for its great flavor and American cheese for its superior meltability. We kept the classic Ro‐tel tomatoes but bumped up their flavor even more with garlic and canned chipotle chile.

Ro-tel tomatoes—a blend of tomatoes, green chiles, and spices—was created by Carl Roettele in Elsa, Texas, in the early 1940s. By the 1950s, Ro-tel tomatoes had become popular in the Lone Star State and beyond. The spicy, tangy tomatoes add just the right flavor to countless regional recipes, such as King Ranch Casserole and Chile con Queso.

We call on Ro-tel tomatoes when we need an extra flavor boost in Southwest- and Texas-inspired recipes. if you can’t find them, you can substitute 1 1/4 cups diced tomatoes plus one minced jalapeño for one 10-ounce can.

Slow-Cooker Chile con Queso
Find this and 200+ other recipes in Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition

Makes about 5 cups
Serves: 8 to 10
Cooking Time: 1 to 2 hours on Low
Slow Cooker Size: 1 1/2 to 7 quarts

1 cup chicken broth
4 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded American cheese
1 (10-ounce) can Ro-tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, drained

If you prefer a mild chili con queso, omit the chipotle. The dip tasted best when made with block cheese that we shredded ourselves; buy a block of American cheese from the deli counter. Preshredded cheese will work, but the dip will be much thicker.

1. Microwave broth, cream cheese, cornstarch, chipotle, garlic, and pepper in large bowl, whisking occasionally, until smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in Monterey Jack and American cheeses until combined.

2a. For a 1 1/2- to 5-quart slow cooker: Transfer mixture to slow cooker, cover, and cook until cheese is melted, 1 to 2 hours on low.

2b. For a 5 1/2- to 7-quart slow cooker: Transfer mixture to 1 1/2‐quart soufflé dish. Set dish in slow cooker and pour water into slow cooker until it reaches about one‐third up sides of dish (about 2 cups water). Cover and cook until cheese is melted, 1 to 2 hours on low. Remove dish from slow cooker.

3. Whisk cheese mixture until smooth, then stir in tomatoes. (Adjust consistency with hot water 2 tablespoons at a time as needed. Dip can be held on warm or low setting for up to 2 hours.)

More from America's Test Kitchen:
Fill Your Bowl with Chili con Carne
For Bacon Lovers: Pasta with Cauliflower, Bacon, and Bread Crumbs
A Totally New Way to Cook Potatoes? You Bet

Make these delicious things for the Super Bowl:
Slow cooker chicken wings
Homemade tortilla chips
Salsa bowl
Pizza dip
Other dips including guacamole, artichoke dip and pimento cheese

Posted by:
Filed under: America's Test Kitchen • Content Partner • Dip • Staples • Super Bowl • Tailgating

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. lol

    "the best possible party food" if your party consists of people with no taste or sophistication and you would like to trim your cheese budget.
    Also, the Test Kitchen must be funded by ConAgra. I don't like recipes that call for a specific brand name of an item.

    March 4, 2014 at 9:00 am |
  2. Walker

    Wasn't bad, just needed a LOT more garlic and spices (I didn't use chipotle as I dislike it, used chopped jalapeños). Just needed more kick, but a lot fresher than the velveta version.

    February 2, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
  3. asianlifegoddess

    Reblogged this on lifeprotocolsblog and commented:
    From America's Test Kitchen.

    January 30, 2014 at 4:06 am |
  4. Thinking things through

    I guess the American cheese is better than the Velveeta, but hey... I'd prefer Edam, Fontina or just a mild/moderate cheddar. Another option would be to visit a Hispanic-centered grocery and pick up one of their quesos, if such a place is available in your area. I also don't see the point in the corn starch and would leave that out. And find some canned tomatoes that don't have added sugars - if you need to, dice them yourself, and buy the green chilies separately.

    Notes from Thinking things through Test Kitchen. (Mind you, America's Test Kitchen does have some perfect recipes, but this one isn't up there.)

    January 29, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
    • ncnarrator

      The cornstarch usually acts as a stabilizer of sorts when you're melting the cheeses to keep them from separating and clumping up to make that weird curdled look you get sometimes. I've never used the microwave to melt my cheeses though, so I'm not sure if you would need it there or not! I do know that I've skipped it in some recipes with no issue, and skipped it in other recipes only to have a nasty mess.

      February 1, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
  5. Cabot

    Shredded.American.cheese? Why?

    January 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
| Part of