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The Best Queso Fundido Dip cooked in Cast Iron

Homemade Queso Fundido

What is Queso Fundido? Queso fundido simply means “melted cheese”, but Mexican-style ‘queso fundido’ is so much more than melted cheese, it’s a flavor explosion in your mouth carried by ooey-gooey melty cheese with pulls that could stretch for miles.

Queso fundido is like eating the topping off a hot pizza made with extra cheese but no sauce or bread. Eating queso fundido often requires a fork to help scoop up all the melty cheezy gooiness onto tortilla chips or into a tortilla.

White cheese stretches and pulls as a tortilla chip is dipped in queso fundido, garnished with sliced jalapeno, chorizo, siced jalapeno, corn, and tomato.

The recipe is simple, yet so delicious; and is fairly customizable too. You can add anything you think would taste good with melty cheese! If you want to create an authentic taste however, your neighborhood abuela will make this dish with chorizo, a very flavorful Mexican sausage, which pairs beautifully with the Melty cheese used for the recipe.

Baked Cheese Appetizer

Queso fundido is the ultimate appetizer and doesn’t need to be baked, as so many internet recipes tell you to do. Sadly queso fundido is not a standard offering at Mexican restaurants and I wonder why(!); chips and salsa or spicy queso cheese dip is served instead. You may ask; “What’s the difference between queso and queso fundido?”

The difference between queso and queso fundido is queso is a ‘sauce’ made with cheese in it that flows and can be drizzled onto nachos or easily scooped with tortilla chips; queso fundido is strait cheese melted over chorizo (and sometimes additional veggies). The melted cheese can be stirred with the chorizo, or stay a separate layer melted on top.

Some recipes, as I mentioned earlier, call for baking the queso fundido in the oven as the final step. Some even say to bake it in a pan surrounded by water to evenly melt the cheese. This is not at all necessary! (Sorry I’m not trying to be rude Goya Foods.)

The shredded cheese melts beautifully over medium heat right on the stovetop if you stir it into the chorizo mixture. It only takes about 2-3 minutes! Let me show you below how simple this recipe is, which just makes it even better!

Queso Fundido Ingredients

Basic queso fundido is simply two ingredients: chorizo and cheese!

What is Chorizo?

Chorizo, a Mexican pork sausage, is easily found in most supermarkets across the United States. Chorizo is a mixture of pork meat, pork fat, paprika (spicy or mild) garlic, salt, and sometimes other seasonings and spices. It is then stuffed into casings and left to cure. It is raw and must be cooked! (unless otherwise labeled).

What Cheese is Queso Fundido made of?

The cheeses best for queso fundido are (in this order): Oaxaca, queso chihuahua, Asadero, Monterey Jack, and Mozzarella. Do not use: Paella, cotija, queso fresco or queso blanco.

How to make Homemade Queso Fundido

Queso fundido is best in a cast-iron skillet because they do such a great job at heat distribution and retention. But they’re not necessary, so don’t be afraid to make this in any skillet, as long as it’s a nonstick skillet.

Looking down on a wooden tabletop where all the ingredients needed to make queso fundido are shown and labeled, including: chorizo, green chile, corn, queso chihuahua and Monterey Jack cheese.
I used a combination of chihuahua and Monterey Jack cheeses for this photoshoot because I was all out of Oaxaca cheese.

Step 1. Cook the chorizo sausage

Looking down into a cast-iron skillet where crumbled chorizo sausage and chopped green chile are cooking.

Place your skillet on medium heat and remove the casings from the chorizo. Crumble the meat by hand as you place it in the skillet. Stir often, until the chorizo is lightly browned, about 6-7 minutes. No additional oil is needed; chorizo is full of pork fat and has plenty of its own ‘oil’.

Next, we’ll saute the additional vegetables in the chorizo ‘oil’. (Fat.)

Step 2. Cook the additional vegetables (if desired)

Looking down into a black cast-iron skillet with cooked corn, choizo, and chopped green chile.

Add in chopped chile pepper. The pepper doesn’t need to be roasted and peeled first, just chop it up like you would a bell pepper and toss it in to cook. Fresh poblano or Anaheim chiles are fantastic. Roasted Hatch green chile is fantastic too, it just won’t require as much cooking time as fresh chile pepper will, so keep that in mind if you decide to use it.

Some folks will also add onion, chopped or sliced jalapeno, corn, mushrooms, garlic, and/or cilantro. I keep mine easy and just add fresh chopped Hatch green chile and corn. Simple and delicious!

Step 3. Add the shredded cheese

This is my favorite part! Adding in all the delicious melty ooey-gooey cheese! But Wait! Before you do this, remove a couple of spoonfuls of chorizo mixture and set aside. You may also want to spoon out excess oil to help your queso fundido from being too oily. I forgot to do this step for my picture and you can see how oily it is. (I don’t really care though, it’s delicious.)

Turn the heat down to low and stir the cheese around gently to melt it and incorporate the chorizo mixture. When it’s fully melted, top with the chorizo mixture you removed a couple of minutes ago as a garnish.

You can serve this amazing dish right now, or add a few additional garnishes of your choice- diced tomato, fresh cilantro, or a sprinkling of cotija cheese will make it look extra pretty and add additional flavor dimensions. But whatever you decide, serve it quickly- it’s best nice and hot!

A closeup of a skillet prepared with queso fundido topped with garnishes of cooked chorizo, fresh cilantro, corn, chopped tomato, sliced avocado, a lime wedge, and sprinkled with cotija cheese. A fresh tomato and green chiles can be seen in the background.

What to serve with Queso Fundido

  • tortilla chips (dip them in, or pour baked Queso Fundido over a plateful for awesome nachos!!)
  • cooked corn tortillas
  • cooked flour tortillas
  • taco shells
  • Pepitas (fried potatoes)
  • Fried green chiles
  • garnishes like fresh cilantro, sliced limes, avocado, chopped tomato
  • salsa
  • fruity drinks, like Margaritas or Coconut-lime Mocktail

I am absolutely IN LOVE with this recipe. I’ve made it twice now in the last three days and I’m enjoying the leftovers right now.

I am a bit embarrassed to say I just discovered this recipe. In all my years living in New Mexico, I had never heard of it, or come across it. I’m the kind of person who loves pizza because of the melty cheesy topping. If you’re like me then you will LOVE queso fundido too. Give it a try, you won’t regret it!

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The Best Queso Fundido Dip in Cast Iron


  • Author: Emily
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Description

Crispy sauteed Chorizo sausage, chopped mild poblano pepper, and sweet corn are topped with the meltiest most delicious Mexican cheese creating an ooey-gooey masterpiece of Mexican flavors. 

This recipe is made for an 8″ cast iron skillet. If you have a 10 or 12″ skillet, there is room to double this recipe.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 link of Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed
  • 1/2 fresh poblano pepper, chopped small
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 10 ounces (about 1 and 1/2 cups) shredded Oaxaca, chihuahua, or Monterey Jack cheese (or a mixture of them)
  • tortilla chips or tortillas (flour or corn)
  • Garnishes like chopped tomato, fresh cilantro, chopped avocado, sliced jalapenos, and cotija cheese.

Instructions

  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet (or other nonstick skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo. Cook until it just begins to turn brown in spots, breaking it apart as you cook it, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the chopped poblano pepper and the corn to the chorizo. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the corn and pepper are spotty brown and the chorizo is mostly browned about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Remove approximately 3 large spoonfuls of the mixture and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove excess oil from the skillet.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and add the cheese, stirring constantly until fully melted, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Place the chorizo mixture you set aside in the center of the queso fundido as a garnish. If you wish, add more garnishes such as sliced jalapeno, diced tomato, and cotija cheese to the fundido and serve immediately with tortilla chips or tortillas.

Notes

To reheat leftover queso fundido, set the skillet on a stovetop burner over low heat and place a cover over the top. After 5 minutes, stir it around or flip it over and continue to cook over low heat covered, checking it every 5 minutes, or until its melty again.

Once you make queso fundido the first time you will want to make it again and again. Feel free to customize it to your liking by adding diced onion, sliced mushrooms, roasted green chile, or minced garlic to your fundido.

For me, the chorizo adds the perfect amount of flavor and I don’t feel the need to add any garlic or seasonings but you can add anything you like. It’s so simple and quick to make it’s easy to try new things in it.

Recipe based on this one by Saul Montiel.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Category: cook
  • Method: saute
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: approximately 1/3 cup

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