Small batch queso for two people is the perfect way to make a reasonable amount of queso. Plus, it’s queso without velveeta or processed American cheese. Everything comes together on the stove in just 20 minutes!

Bowl of queso with multi color tortilla chips surrounding it on plate.

If you want to make a regular-sized recipe for queso and eat all 6-8 servings by yourself, I strongly encourage this. I highly recommend doing this at least once a year while watching the Super Bowl. It’s an annual tradition in our house—the crockpot runs all day to keep the queso warm.

But, if you want to be slightly more responsible and eat queso more frequently, I’m sharing a small batch of queso recipe for two people today. Think of this as your weekend queso—a quick little cheese dip made without Velveeta to start Friday night off on the right note.

I love this small batch queso without velveeta for many reasons. First, it’s made without processed cheese. I don’t have anything against Velveeta or American cheese, but I don’t keep it in my house! I actually love processed so much that I have a velveeta fudge recipe on this site, hah!

Second, I love that this queso is made completely on the stove top—no roasting of vegetables in the oven. We get the same flavors with a quick saute in butter, I promise. Third, this queso recipe can be reheated as many times as you need in the microwave. It won’t seize, burn or otherwise become ruined.

Tortilla chip being dipped into queso with cilantro and pepper garnish.

It’s a versatile queso dip that hugs tortilla chips perfectly. You’re very welcome. And if you love cheesy sauce that hugs everything it touches, make my chicken spaghetti recipe next, promise me!

Ingredients for queso without velveeta:

onion: Half of one small yellow onion, finely diced.
half and half: This is the base of our cheese dip.
extra sharp cheddar cheese: Buy a block and grate it yourself. Bagged, shredded cheese has a coating on it that impedes melting.
Monterey Jack cheese: Same rule applies–buy a block and grate it fresh for best results.
garlic: Two cloves of garlic, minced.
butter: Just one tablespoon for sautéing the vegetables.
flour: A few teaspoons of flour to thicken the sauce.
cream cheese: We’re melting a small amount of cream cheese into the final dish to help it become even creamier and coat each chip that’s dipped.
jalapeño or serrano pepper: Use one jalapeño or one serrano pepper, finely diced. Remove the seeds and membranes for less heat; leave them in for some spice!
tortilla chips:  I use a mix of white corn and blue corn tortilla chips.
optional: cilantro, pico de gallo, extra serranos: I love serving this small batch queso with a scoop of pico de gallo, and garnishing it with cilantro. My husband likes extra serranos to amp up the spice even more.

Ingredients for queso on a table: cheese, onion, cream, butter, and serranos.

How to make a small batch queso:

1. First, add the butter to a small sauce pan (I’m using this 2-quart saucepan, and it’s the perfect size for cooking for two). Add the diced onion and cook until the onions are translucent and just starting to turn brown on the edges. Stir in the garlic and jalapeño peppers.
Pan of onions and peppers cooking in butter.

2. Once the vegetables are soft, add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Then, stream in the half and half. Stir and lower the heat to low.

Cheese melting into milk sauce in a saucepan.

3. To make the queso, slowly add handfuls of cheese while stirring over low heat. Add the cheese in very small amounts while stirring. This is the key to making queso without velveeta–the cheese must be added slowly and stirred until melted before adding more.

Plate of chips and queso.

4. Serve the queso with tortilla chips, and garnish with cilantro, extra jalapeños and pico de gallo, if desired.

I don’t mean to brag, but I am a Texan, so this queso is perfect, in my not-so-humble opinion. My Texan recipes are pretty stellar, as evident by my ground beef for tacos. This queso without velveeta can be reheated in the microwave as many times as you need. The stability of the cream cheese makes it thick and easily reheated, making it perfect for your small Super Bowl party on the couch this year.

Yield: 2

Queso Recipe without Velveeta

Bowl of queso with multi color tortilla chips surrounding it on plate.

Small batch queso recipe for two, made without Velveeta.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 cup half and half, plus extra for thinning
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For serving: tortilla chips, cilantro, pico de gallo, extra serranos

Instructions

  1. In a 2-quart sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the finely diced onion and cook until the onion translucent and starting to brown on the edges, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Next, stir in the garlic and jalapeño (or serrano) and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the flour, and whisk while cooking for 1 minute.
  5. Slowly pour the half and half into the pan, and then lower the heat to LOW. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, until the mixture starts to thicken.
  6. Slowly add half of the cheddar, and then stir until melted. Add the remaining cheddar, and stir again until melted. Repeat with the Monterey Jack.
  7. Finally, add the cream cheese in several pieces, and stir until melted.
  8. Add the salt and pepper, and taste. Add a splash more half and half if you think it's too thick; add more salt if you think it needs it, etc.
  9. Serve the queso dip with tortilla chips, and garnish with pico de gallo, cilantro, and extra peppers, if desired.
  10. Queso reheats in the microwave as many times as you need.

Notes

extra sharp cheddar cheese: Buy a block and grate it yourself. Bagged, shredded cheese has a coating on it that impedes melting.
Monterey Jack cheese: Same rule applies--buy a block and grate it fresh for best results.
cream cheese: We're melting a small amount of cream cheese into the final dish to help it become even creamier and coat each chip that's dipped. Have it at room temperature to help it melt.
jalapeño or serrano pepper: Use one jalapeño or one serrano pepper, finely diced. Remove the seeds and membranes for less heat; leave them in for some spice!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 454Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 1042mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 13g

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