With the queso simmering in the slow cooker, you have more time for artsy photos.
With the queso simmering in the slow cooker, you have more time for artsy photos.
Photo by Jenny Leigh

Slow-Cooker Queso

High off the success of my husband's crock pot chili, I decided to take the slow-cooker into my own hands and make something for a friend's weekend pool party.

When some people envision uses for their slow-cooker, they often dream about falling-off-the-bone pork shoulder or chicken stew. I just focus on an over-sized batch of melted cheese. Initially I considered trying to make some version of fondue in the crock pot, but after receiving my weekly Pillsbury email, with a recipe for slow-cooker queso, I decided it was a sign from the doughboy God.

Queso was one of a handful of foods I had never heard before crossing the border into Texas (others being frito pie and breakfast tacos). I mean, obviously, I had encountered the Spanish word queso, just unaware that it could referred to a specific type of melted cheese dip. These last six years, I tell you, have been quite an education.

The original Pillsbury recipe (actually penned by blogger Heather Thorning) called for just plain cream cheese, but I opted for a chive and onion flavored variety to add botanical dimension to the dairy. I also reduced the amount of chopped green chiles, so they didn't dominate the flavor profile.

Slow Cooker Queso

  • 1 can (4.5 ounces) chopped green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 package (ounces) onion and chive cream cheese, cubed
  • 10 ounces white American cheese

Combine green chiles and cumin in large saucepan over low heat. Slowly add cream cheese and American cheese. Stir gently and continuously until melted. Transfer mixture into slow-cooker set on low.

The Doughboy wanted me to make cheddar oregano breadsticks to serve with my queso, but I prefer thick tortilla chips. A good call, if I do say so myself, because the plain corn chip allowed the chive flavor to really stand out and provided a mild base that balanced the spices from the peppers. Woo-hoo!

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