Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Q is for Qdoba Queso

Growing up, my family spent Sunday afternoons in the fall watching the Kansas City Chiefs football games on tv and eating Rotel dip, which my family to this day calls "hot dip." It was a Midwestern thing at the time, but now, hot cheese dip is everywhere (only we have to call it "queso" now).

My mother made hot dip in a double boiler, so the cheese wouldn't scorch, and she served it with ridgy potato chips (still my preferred method of eating hot dip) and - another new thing - taco flavored Doritos.

My daughter is a huge fan of cheese dip of any kind, and she would eat it with a spoon if we let her (and has done so, when she was younger and before we caught her). One of her favorite cheese dips is the one at Qdoba. There's a Qdoba about a half mile from the lake house, and sometimes, she and I walk there and eat cheese dip without telling anyone else in the family....

I found this on Pinterest and knew it was meant for me to try it:

The recipe called for shredded Monterey Jack, cheddar and American cheese, plus heavy cream (can you hear your arteries clogging just READING that?!). It also included roasted poblano peppers, chopped, canned tomatoes, and a little garlic. 

Oh, and you have to cook it in the crock pot for two hours.

I almost, ALMOST skipped this step and cooked it in the microwave instead, but that wouldn't be true to the Challenge, so I didn't, and then I read that cooking it low and slow in the crock pot keeps the cheddar cheese from getting weird and grainy, so I'm glad I didn't try a short cut.

I also confess that I looked long and hard for already prepared roasted poblano peppers, because I didn't want to have to roast them myself, but I couldn't and had to and they were slimy and gross as expected but chopped up into the cheese dip, they were fine.

Since I have a pretty big crock pot (5 quarts, if you will recall from "F is for [Black] Forest"), I feared there would only be a little puddle of dip in the bottom of it, so I doubled the recipe and hoped it didn't suck and we would be stuck with several quarts of the stuff. 

All the ingredients, dumped into the crock pot.

Hmm. Looks pretty good....

To make a fair comparison to the REAL Qdoba queso, I, of course, had to bring home an order of it.

Finally, it was time for the taste test:

On the left, Qdoba queso; on
the right, the challenger.

The knock off LOOKED like the Qdoba queso. It had the same mouth feel.

But they didn't taste quite the same. They were CLOSE, but, as my husband said, there was an additional depth to the Qdoba queso that we could not identify. The Qdoba queso also had a kick to it that mine did not.

So was it a fail? Not at all! The knock off was delicious, and hot sauce or jalapenos could be added to it to give it a little more kick. My husband even went so far as to say he liked the knock off better than the Qdoba queso, although he blanched a bit when I shared with him that it had a pint of cream in it.

Yeah, you're probably going to want to make this.


  1. This looks absolutely wonderful and my mouth is watering just looking at it. I'll have to make the knock off since we can't get Qdoba Queso here in Delhi.

    1. It was really good, and all that cream helped make it slide right out of the pan without sticking! :D

  2. Awesome!! I remember that Rotell dip made with velveeta and chili that came in a tube! This looks fantastic! Even with the cream!

    1. It was really good, but I wish I could figure out what that extra flavor was that was in the Qdoba dip!

  3. I always wonder when someone says it has some depth of flavor. Does that just mean it has an additional flavor that the other one does not? What does depth mean in that context? I'm not a Mexican food fan so I don't think I'll be trying this one but I do have to say it looks pretty authentic in the picture. Zoe

    1. There was a complexity to the flavors in the Qdoba dip (and I am keeping in mind that it's just a fast food, so not TONS of complexity). You might not have thought about it if you weren't comparing it to a dip that fell a little short (even though it was delish in its own right). And yeah, it looked like the real thing, without a doubt.

  4. My daughter would LOVE that dip. I'm going to have to give it a try. Weekends In Maine

  5. Queso is of course staple restaurant fare where we live, and no office potluck is complete without it. Looking at your results, I'd be willing to try this recipe in my small crockpot at home. I have no doubt Papa Bear would gobble it up along with a bag of tortilla chips! :-)

    1. I have a really small crock pot that MIGHT have been big enough to hold the dip undoubled, but I didn't want to try it and get it dirty in case it didn't, because the crock part doesn't lift out and it's a pain to clean it. Plus it would have taken forever for it to melt - it's really better for holding something already cooked.