Food in Jars’ From-Scratch Queso

We’re hard-pressed to think of a party snack more crowd-pleasing than queso dip and chips — it’s kind of like deconstructed nachos! But, have you seen that processed stuff in the chip aisle in the supermarket? It’s a strange shade of yellow with a tacky consistency and a long list of preservatives on the ingredients list … that’s not what we’re talking about!

Homemade, from-scratch queso is actually quite easy to pull off and infinitely more delicious! We love this recipe from Philly food-blogger Marisa McClellan‘s new cookbook, The Food in Jars Kitchen, which guides you through making a roux, and stirring in shredded cheddar and salsa until it reaches velvety, golden perfection — with no unpronounceable chemicals in sight. For gatherings, McClellan suggests you double the recipe and put the cheese sauce in a small Crock-Pot to keep it warm. Place on the buffet alongside a bowl of chips and invite your guests to dip and enjoy!

From-Scratch Queso

1.5 cups
Prep Time Cook Time Total Time
5 min 10 min 15 min


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup/180 ml whole milk
  • 1 cup/120 g yellow cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup/60 ml chunky tomato salsa, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cilantro, for garnish


  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk to incorporate. Let the butter and flour mixture cook, whisking regularly, until it has browned slightly and becomes slightly puffy after each round of stirring. Add a small amount of milk and whisk to combine. It will thicken rapidly. Continue adding the milk and whisking to combine until all the milk is incorporated.
  2. Add the grated cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat and add salsa and salt and stir until just combined. Serve with a bowl of chips or as part of a taco bar.

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