When it comes to choosing an appetizer, I love a good melty cheese because they are always a hit with a crowd! This Queso Fundido is the holy grail of appetizers, it won’t last more than 10 minutes once it’s served!
I really wish I had a cool Queso Fundido fondue set. Not just any old fondue set though.
The kind with a charcoal brick underneath and space for a moat of homemade tortilla chips surrounding the bottom. Actually, one of the few kitchen appliances I do not own is a fondue set (hint, hint… hubby).
To make do (please note sarcastic tone) I use a cast iron pan to make all of my fundidos. First world problems, I know!
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Queso Fundido Recipe
Only trick: EAT IT FAST! A hot skillet will hold heat longer than other cooking vessels like a pie plate, but not as long as a fondue set with fire (or charcoal) to keep it warm and bubbly. Some folks like to use a small slow cooker, but I find the cheese overcooks and gets all gross after a bit.
This Queso Fundido stood no chance against a group of 5 40-year-old men playing wiffle ball in the street. I spooned out a little bit for myself before presenting the goods. A clean cast iron skillet was returned minutes later. You would never have known there was cheese in this thing, that is how clean it was.
Now is that point where people are reading wondering when I am going to explain “fundido”, unless you have had the pleasure of its company before. Queso fundido is a melted cheese dip.
Not only fun to say… FUNDIDO… it also means “molten” or “melted” in Spanish.
Do you see that Mrs. Maseros? I remember my Spanish from 12th grade! It is similar to a queso recipe, but contains no milk or cream to make it liquidy.
Fundidos are simple recipes of melted cheese. Basically you load all of your ingredients into a regular baking dish or skillet and cook. I prefer using the oven, but some people use the stovetop. If you do, just use a skillet over medium heat, anything higher will separate the cheese and burn.
Queso Fundido Ingredients
- Vegetable oil – You will use this to sauté the veggies that will be the base of this delicious appetizer.
- Shredded cheese – I used a blend of pepper jack cheese and cheddar cheese. Other good options would be monterey jack cheese or even chihuahua cheeses or Mexican cheeses if you can find them. Pre shredded, bagged cheese is great, but typically tossed in a special blend of powders to help it not clump together in the bag. This inhibits you from getting really melty, gooey cheese.
- Flour – We mix the flour with the shredded cheese. Flour is used to help thicken the cheese mixture, making it dippable and not just a cheese sauce.
- White onion – I prefer using white onion rather than red onion. Mostly because the flavor is a little more mild.
- Peppadews – Peppadews can be found in the Olive Bar section of your grocery store. They are generally already pitted and marinated in olive oil. Drain and pat dry before using.
- Cilantro – Fresh cilantro is used in lots of Mexican food. It adds a little extra flavor, but we also use it as a garnish to add some color.
- Jalapeno – Jalapenos are sautéed with the rest of the veggies to add a little spice. Be sure to remove the seeds if you don’t want it to be too hot.
- Chili powder – This gets added to the veggies to give them some real Mexican flavor. For some spice you could even add some red pepper flakes too.
- Lime – To finish off this authentic queso fundido, we squeeze fresh lime juice right on top of the cheese. It provides a sharper flavor and balances everything out well.
- Tortilla chips – There is nothing more satisfying than dipping a crispy tortilla chip into molten cheese. I even have a recipe for homemade tortilla chips if you’re interested.
How to Make Queso Fundido
- Saute veggies. Heat medium cast iron skillet over high heat and then add vegetable oil. Add the onion, peppadews, cilantro, jalapeno and chili powder. Stir until vegetables are soft.
- Combine cheese and flour. Toss cheese and flour together in a small bowl.
- Prepare oven. Preheat broiler and place oven shelf about 4-5 inches away from heating mechanism.
- Add cheese. Add cheese and flour mixture directly to the cast iron skillet. Arrange in an even layer and attempt to stir into vegetables. It might get a little stringy and clump, at which point, just leave it alone.
- Broil. Place under broiler for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted, brown and bubbly.
- Finish. Remove and top with the juice of one fresh lime and 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy your Queso Fundido con Verduras!
You can add a small amount of beer, but it will make it less cheesy and more liquidy. Not the worst thing in the world, right?
Other ways to customize your queso fundido recipe is to add chopped serrano chiles, poblano chiles, chopped onions or scallions (or green onions,) garlic, bell peppers and to use a variety of ooey gooey cheeses. Some of my favorites are oaxaca cheese, monterey jack or cheddar. You can even fold in salsa.
Storage and Freezing
You can reheat fundido if you have any leftovers. Simply reheat the way you heated the first time. As with any straight melted cheese, I highly recommend against using the microwave. Skillet, fondue pot and slow cooker are your best bets. You might also want to add a little liquid, like beer or vegetable stock.
You can store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Instead of an airtight container, leave the dip in the skillet and cover tightly with aluminum foil. You can’t really freeze this recipe- it will just be a brick of frozen cheese. I prefer mine to be fresh and since it is an easy recipe, that isn’t tough to do.
More appetizer recipes:
- Heat medium cast iron skillet over high heat. When hot, add vegetable oil.
- While cast iron skillet and oil are heating, toss cheese and flour together in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
- When oil has heated add diced white onion, diced peppadews, 1/2 cup cilantro, diced jalapeno and chili powder. Stir for approximately 5 minutes, or until vegetables or soft. Remove from heat.
- Preheat broiler and place oven shelf 4-5 inches away from heating mechanism.
- Add cheese and flour mixture directly to the cast iron skillet. Arrange in an even layer and attempt to stir into vegetables. It might get a little stringy and clump, at which point, just leave it alone.
- Place under broiler for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted, brown and bubbly.
- Remove and top with the juice of one fresh lime and 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy your Queso Fundido con Verduras!