Moe’s Southwest Grill Queso Recipe 

There are few dips more universally lauded than queso, and Moe’s Southwest Grill has put an addicting spin on theirs that always has people coming back for more. 

Moe’s specializes in Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine, and though burritos, nachos, and quesadillas are heavy hitters on their menu, queso is the main attraction

This queso is a variation of queso blanco, boasts 3 different kinds of cheese, and is enhanced with chopped green chiles and jalapeños to give it an extra hit of flavor. 

Best of all, it is remarkably simple to replicate at home and comes together in minutes, so next time you’re in the mood for chips and queso or want to be the hero of a dinner party, look no further! 

How to make Moe’s Southwest Grill Queso

The backbone of Moe’s queso is white American cheese, which can be found at the deli counter of your local grocer. This cheese is the binding agent of the queso, and as such cannot be substituted. 

In addition to the white American cheese, the queso is rounded out with Monterey jack cheese and white cheddar then finished off with chopped green chiles, jalapeños, and pickled jalapeno juice for tang and spice. 

The cheese is melted down with milk and butter and comes together in a double-boiler to prevent burning. 

If you don’t have a double-boiler, don’t worry! A makeshift one is easily achieved by placing a mixing bowl on top of a saucepan (you want a snug fit) filled with two inches of steamy but not boiling water.

The heat from the steamy water gently warms the bottom of the mixing bowl and encourages even melting, resulting in silky smooth queso without any burned bits sticking to the pan.

Ingredients:

(12-15 servings)

  • 16oz white American cheese, cubed or shredded (if using slices, they should be torn)
  • 3oz Monterey Jack cheese, grated 
  • 2oz white cheddar, grated
  • 3 tbsp butter 
  • 2/3 cup milk plus more if needed 
  • 8oz canned green chiles such as hatch, drained and roughly chopped 
  • 4 pickled jalapeño slices, roughly chopped 
  • 1-2 tbsp jalapeño brine (more or less depending on preference) 
  • ½ tsp kosher salt 
  • ½ tsp ground cumin  

Instructions:

Step 1:

Fill a saucepan with 2 inches of water, and set over medium heat. Once the water is hot and steamy but not boiling, place a mixing bowl over the top of the saucepan. 

The surface of the water and the base of the mixing bowl should not touch, as the steam and interior heat will naturally warm the bowl. 

When the bottom of the mixing bowl is hot to the touch (about 45 seconds), add in the butter and milk and stir until the butter is melted and the milk is hot. 

Step 2:

Add the American cheese to the hot milk and butter mixture. Using a whisk or spatula, stir constantly until all of the cheese has melted and fully incorporated into the milk. 

Add in the Monterey Jack and white cheddar cheese, and stir continuously until all the cheese is melted and the queso is silky smooth

At this point, if the queso is too thick, add ¼ cup of milk at a time to thin until you’ve reached your desired consistency. 

Step 3:

Stir in the chopped green chiles, jalapeños, jalapeño brine, salt, and cumin. Whisk to incorporate the brine and spices and evenly distribute the chiles and jalapeñosTaste and adjust for spices if necessary. 

Serve immediately with tortilla chips and enjoy! 

Ingredients substitutions 

The best thing about queso is that it doesn’t employ a one-size-fits-all approach, and swapping out cheese and chiles without compromising on flavor and texture is remarkably easy.

Moe’s has put a wonderful spin on the classic cheese dip, and their milk and white American cheese mixture provides an excellent base for various cheese combinations

Using hard, aged cheeses is not recommended as they don’t melt evenly, but otherwise, the world is your oyster! 

1. Colby Cheese 

Colby is an excellent substitute for cheddar and works wonderfully in this recipe. 

It’s slightly less sharp than cheddar, melts beautifully, and has a lingering sweetness that helps tame some of the heat given off by the chiles and jalapeños. 

2. Taleggio 

Though it may not sound like a cheese you’d put in queso, taleggio is an excellent choice, especially if you want an elevated cheese dip

Taleggio is a soft Italian cheese that is sweet, grassy, and slightly sour. The rind doesn’t melt and needs to be removed before the cheese is added to the queso base. 

Taleggio will take slightly longer to melt than other cheeses, but once melted it adds an intoxicating richness to the queso that will have everyone coming back for more. 

3. Fontina 

Fontina is the darling of the cheese sauce world and for good reason; it has remarkable melting properties and a wonderful, pungent flavor.

Swapping out cheddar or Monterey Jack for fontina is super easy, but like many higher-end kinds of cheese, take care to choose a soft fontina, as the aged varieties don’t melt as seamlessly

4. Roasted Poblano Peppers 

Poblano peppers are delicious Mexican chili peppers that work beautifully as a substitute for green chiles. Poblanos are on the mild side and are often roasted to make them pliable. 

They are deliciously canned, but if you’re feeling adventurous, roasting them fresh adds a whole new dimension to the queso. 

Simply roast them whole at 375°F/191°C until the skin is completely charred, then place them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. 

After 30 minutes, slough off the blistered skin then cut open the poblano and remove the seeds. Roughly chop and you’re good to go!

5. Serrano Peppers 

If you’re a heat chaser, serrano peppers are an excellent substitute for jalapeños and are just as easy to come by. 

Serranos are roughly 5x spicier than jalapeños, so if you want spicier queso, but don’t want to overdo it with the heat, try cutting the quantity by half.  But if you love spicy foods, go all in! 

What to serve with Moe’s Southwest Grill Queso

Starting a meal with a piping hot bowl of queso and fresh tortilla chips is a must when dining at Tex-Mex establishments, but don’t miss out on the pure joy of adding queso to your main dish

The deeply beautiful flavors of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine make queso sing and there are so many amazing dishes to which you can add queso! Here are a few of our favorites.

Fajitas

Being presented with a sizzling tray of fajitas and the requisite accouterments is incredibly satisfying in and of itself and the queso will take an already incredible dish to the next level

Simply add a spoonful of queso to the base of the tortilla to anchor the meat, or drizzle it on top to punctuate your fajita creation with some cheesy goodness.

Tacos 

Tacos may be a perfect food and are excellent for experimenting with flavors and textures. Next time you’re concocting the perfect taco bite, throw some queso into the mix; you won’t be disappointed! 

Burritos and Burrito Bowls 

Burritos and burrito bowls are staples in Tex-Mex restaurants and for good reason; they have it all. Spice, texture, and flavor are piled into burritos and there is always room for more! 

Adding queso to this amazing dish creates even more dimension no matter how you incorporate it. Whether it’s added to the burrito, drizzled over a bowl, or dunked like a sauce, you can’t go wrong!

How to reheat Moe’s Southwest Grill Queso

Reheating queso is incredibly easy and can be done in a few ways. 

How to reheat Moe’s Southwest Grill Queso on the stove

To reheat on the stove, build a double-boiler and place it over medium heat. Gently heat the queso in the warmed mixing bowl, stirring frequently until warmed through

How to reheat Moe’s Southwest Grill Queso in the microwave

To reheat in the microwave, transfer the queso to a microwave-safe container and cover it with a damp paper towel. Heat on high for 1 minute, stirring once. Repeat until warmed through. 

How to store Moe’s Southwest Grill Queso

It’s a rare occasion when a bowl of queso isn’t completely demolished, but if you find yourself with leftovers it is a cinch to store. 

Store in the fridge

To store the queso in the fridge, make sure it has cooled completely, then cover it tightly with a lid. It will stay good in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Store in the freezer 

If you have extra queso and want to store it for later use, it freezes very well. Make sure the queso has cooled completely before storing it in the freezer

Once cooled, cover tightly in a freezer-safe container for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge 1 day before use. 

moe's southwest grill queso recipe

Moe’s Southwest Grill Queso Recipe 

There are few dips more universally loved than queso and the version put out by Moe’s Southwest Grill has garnered a cult following. A variation of queso blanco with the perfect amount of spice, Moe’s queso is easy to replicate at home and a bonafide crowd pleaser! 
4.80 from 44 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican, Tex-Mex
Servings 15 servings
Calories 460 kcal
Equipment
  • double boiler
  • mixing bowl
  • saucepan
  • whisk
Ingredients
  
  • 16 oz white American cheese cubed or shredded (if using slices, they should be torn)
  • 3 oz Monterey Jack cheese grated
  • 2 oz white cheddar grated
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cups milk (plus more if needed)
  • 8 oz canned green chiles such as hatch drained and roughly chopped 
  • 4 slices pickled jalapeño roughly chopped 
  • 1-2 tbsp jalapeño brine (more or less depending on preference) 
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
Instructions
 
  • Fill a saucepan with 2 inches of water, and set over medium heat. Once the water is hot and steamy but not boiling, place a mixing bowl over the top of the saucepan. 
    The surface of the water and the base of the mixing bowl should not touch, as the steam and interior heat will naturally warm the bowl. 
    When the bottom of the mixing bowl is hot to the touch (about 45 seconds), add in the butter and milk and stir until the butter is melted and the milk is hot. 
  • Add the American cheese to the hot milk and butter mixture. Using a whisk or spatula, stir constantly until all of the cheese has melted and fully incorporated into the milk. 
    Add in the Monterey Jack and white cheddar cheese, and stir continuously until all the cheese is melted and the queso is silky smooth
    At this point, if the queso is too thick, add ¼ cup of milk at a time to thin until you’ve reached your desired consistency. 
  • Stir in the chopped green chiles, jalapeños, jalapeño brine, salt, and cumin. Whisk to incorporate the brine and spices and evenly distribute the chiles and jalapeños. Taste and adjust for spices if necessary. 
    Serve immediately with tortilla chips and enjoy! 
Nutrition
Calories: 460kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 18gFat: 39gSaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 1760mgSugar: 2g
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