Chili’s Skillet Queso

Chili’s Skillet Queso has been on the menu at Chili’s for years. Don’t miss this easy appetizer. While there are only two ingredients in the dip, it isn’t short on flavor.

skillet chili con queso and tortilla chips

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If you have never cooked before, I promise this is a recipe that you can prepare. You can make this one quickly and easily. No one will be able to tell that this queso didn’t come from Chili’s restaurant.

If you are looking for a hot appetizer that is sure to please, say, “cheese.” Everyone likes a cheesy dip, and if you throw in some ground beef, you have got yourself something truly special. This Chili’s Skillet Queso recipe has been a popular starter at the chain’s restaurants for years just because it’s so delicious. But Chili’s queso dip is sure to become a favorite in your home because it is incredibly easy to make! Try whipping up a pot of Chili’s queso the next time you have to feed a crowd!

It Takes Two

Simplicity is the best, and this recipe is just about as simple as it can get. There are only two ingredients: Velveeta cheese and Hormel No-Bean Chili. Yep, that is it. From these humble ingredients, greatness is achievable, so don’t screw things up by trying to get all fancy.

Sure, you could slave over a hot stove for hours and spend ten times as much money to make your Bean-less chili and cheese sauce, but you wouldn’t end up with something as tried-and-true as this skillet queso recipe. Instead, trust tradition and go with a block of yellow cheese and a red can. You won’t regret it.

First, Let’s Get the Difficult Stuff Out of the Way

When the most complicated part of a recipe is melting cheese, you know that even your teens or kitchen-phobic spouse can handle it on their own. Yet, inept cooks have a history of messing up when it comes to boiling water, so here are a few tricks you may want to pass along.

  1. Cut the block of cheese up into small cubes. Doing this will let the cheese melt quicker, more evenly and help avoid any scorching.
  2. Don’t melt the cheese alone. Combine the cubed cheese with the Hormel chili in a large enough saucepan for the mixture only to reach halfway up the sides. Place the saucepan over low heat.
  3. Stir continuously. That means stir from the moment the pan goes on the heat until you take it off, keep that mixture moving. Alternate between a circular and a figure-eight stirring pattern to ensure the ingredients in the center of the pot doesn’t burn.
  4. Take the saucepan off the heat once the cheese melts and the chili is hot. Stir a few more times once you take off the heat.

Tips for Serving and Reheating Chili’s Queso Dip

  • Smooth things out. Some people like the dip a little on the chunky side, but those who don’t can blend it. The best way to get a smooth consistency is by using a stick blender directly in the pot. While it is possible to use a regular blender to puree the dip in batches, things will get a bit messy.
  • This is much more than just a dip. Use this recipe the same way you would use any sauce. You can top a plate of fries or a baked potato. Throw in pasta shells for a meaty mac and cheese. Pour it on top of a hamburger or hotdog, or even spread it on toasted bread for an instant grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Store covered in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat by cutting the congealed dip into cubes and heating over low heat on the stovetop. Alternatively, you can warm it in the microwave.

Watch us make Chili’s Skillet Queso on YouTube!

Ingredients

You only need two simple ingredients to make this delicious chili con queso:

  • Velveeta cheese
  • Canned chili without beans

I personally stock up on canned chili right before the Super Bowl. Some people like to use canned chili with beans, but this is entirely a personal preference.

How to Make Chili’s Skillet Queso

Simply heat the ingredients together in a skillet or saucepan over low heat until the cheese has melted, stirring often.

cooking homemade Chili's skillet queso in a pan

For the most accurate texture, you should puree the cooked dip in a blender.

Would you rather make it in a slow cooker? Check out this Crock Pot Queso recipe.

How to Serve Chili’s Skillet Queso

  • Pour the queso dip into a warmed cast iron skillet or bowl.
  • You can also pour it into a slow cooker set on low heat to keep it warm.
  • Serve with tortilla chips and salsa.
overhead view of homemade Chili's skillet queso and tortilla chips

Love Chilis? Try these copycat recipes!

Favorite Appetizer Recipes

Check out more of my easy appetizer recipes and the best copycat recipes for casual dining restaurants here on CopyKat!

skillet chili con queso and tortilla chips

Chili’s Skillet Queso

Chili's Skillet Queso is an easy to make appetizer perfect for any party.
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chili’s Skillet Queso, Chilis Recipes, Skillet Queso
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 247kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Velveeta cheese
  • 30 ounces Hormel No-Bean Chili

Instructions

  • Heat the ingredients together in a skillet or saucepan over low heat until melted, stirring often.
  • For the most accurate texture, you should puree the cooked dip in a blender.

Video

Notes

Serve with heated corn tortilla chips. If you want to serve this just like Chili’s, serve the queso in a warmed cast-iron skillet.
You can also use canned chili with beans.

Nutrition

Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 1569mg | Potassium: 520mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 981IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 467mg | Iron: 3mg

Thanks to fellow viewer Steve for the inspiration for this recipe.

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. David

    I worked for Chili’s for 7 years. Most of that in the late 70’s and early 80’s. We NEVER had Velveeta in a Chili’s kitchen nor did we have Hormel chili. Chili’s remarkable Chili used to be made in a in a commercial stainless pot that was big enough for a grown man to jump in. Back then we Blanched burger and fries, (look up blanched fries). Anyhoo, at the end of the night any blanched burgers went into the chili pot. Soooo, as the chili aged it got meatier. Just to rant, Chilis used to have the best fajitas on the planet. They were made on the Broiler,…Not the flat top. Back then everything was made with seasoning by the prep. Today everything is proprietary and Chili’s has a pizza oven to make most of their food. Brinker would be rolling in his grave. I guess money talks. My family enjoys they old style recipes because I made them.

  2. Mak

    I hope sometime you could invest time to figure out how Jim’s restaurant chile recipe or Jim’s frontier chile recipe is here in San Antonio Tx cause it is so good. The link that goes with my last comment has nothing to do with me and i hope you can remove it due to copy right laws. but JIms is a awesome place to eat and their chile is amazing.

  3. Mak

    I hope sometime you could invest time to figure out how Jim’s restaurant chile recipe or Jim’s frontier chile recipe is here in San Antonio Tx cause it is so good.

  4. Mandie

    Here in Oklahoma, it does have beans. It looks like Velveeta cheese mixed with Ranch Style Beans. That is also what it tastes like to me. I am sitting here with a bowl of it.

  5. DON

    I just called the Chilli’s that I go to here in Coral Springs Florida and I was told that BOTH beans and ground beef are in the Skillet Queso. Hopefully that will settle the dispute 🙂

  6. CAS

    Their is beans in the dip at Chili’s because when me and my husband ordered some it had beans in it. The one time went their before it had no beans only the meat.cheese,ect so I am not sure if someone is making it wrong at Chili’s by adding beans in it.

  7. Oryx

    Please change the recipe for this.

    As written, this tastes NOTHING like Chili’s Chili Queso Dip. I even went so far as to add a package of chili seasoning, chili powder, cumin, salt/pepper etc and it still tasted nothing like it. Per the post below mine, using Wolf Brand Chili is the closest thing without adding any other ingredients.

    I stumbled onto another Chili’s Queso copycat recipe that claims to be per another former Chili’s employee which uses Hormel, as follows:

    16-ounce box Velveeta Cheese

    1 c. milk

    2 teaspoons paprika

    ½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper

    15-ounce can Hormel Chili (No Beans)

    4 tsp. chili powder

    1 tablespoon lime juice

    ½ tsp. ground cumin

    I have not tried that recipe, but I can vouch for the Wolf Brand chili version. Very similar.

    • Stephanie Manley

      Thanks for your comment. I will keep your suggestion in mind. I have often found that people who claim to work for a restaurant, haven’t. But I will give your suggestion a try.

      Thanks for your input.
      Stephanie

    • Michael Wilson

      You need to use Wolf not Hormels!….I don’t use the cumin, it’s like using Cilantro, only cilantro is the fresh leaves of cumin…cumin is the ground seeds of flowered Cilantro..G/F is allergic to it and their family resturants do not use cilantro or cumin, comino, which is the same thing…comes from Cilantro Plant…but they much be doing something right as they have one Mexican Resturant that is 103 years old….Something else…You can use Sharp and Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, w/ the Canned milk…but, you need to heat it on low and use a roux…to thicken it….

      • Rick Hernandez

        Cumin seeds are derived from a plant that is related to the parsley family like coriander aka cilantro but cilantro seeds are cylindrical where cumin are elongated seeds and the flavor is much different in both the leaves and seeds.

  8. missy

    I used canned no bean chilli, I didn’t have velveta (I really don’t like the stuff) so I added 3 hand fulls of fancy shredded cheddar and 1/2 cup of milk stirred and let bubble a bit. It was very yummy!

  9. Lmmcnic

    Ok I improvised and made it at home. My boyfriend who loves the chilis quest tried it and said it was the best…. Here is my version:

    1 large 32 oz velveta cheese brick
    2 cans wolf’s brand no bean chili
    1 hamburger patty (about a half lb.) (pre browned on the stove or precooked in the microwave)
    2-3 tablespoons chili powde (to taste)
    1/4 cup to 1/2 cup milk or Half-and-half (depending on how creamy u want it)

    Melt all your ingredients in the crockpot for 2 hours. Stir nd add more chili powder or milk based on your taste preference. Enjoy!

    • Foodlover

      I agree. It’s controversial. not “controverseyal”. I couldn’t even understand what she was saying at first. Glad someone felt the same way.

  10. Austin_Native

    I’M A FORMER CHILI’S EMPLOYEE
    … and got the following recipe from the cooks before I left. I believe your amount of chili may be off and you’re missing an ingredient. Oh, and there are NO beans in the chili folks. 🙂 Try the following … and enjoy:

    two (2) pound block Kraft Velveeta Cheese
    one (1) small can Wolf Brand Chili (15oz +/-)
    1/2 cup of milk (microwaved) … add a little more if queso is still too thick.

  11. Hollowoakfarm

    Concerning Chili’s skillet queso……..tried all these recipes, and more……nothing really taste quite the same….but one night I inadvertantly (did I mispell?) stumbled upon one that’s very close….when I had nothing I needed in the pantry…of course.

    I browned one pound of hamburger in a cast iron skillet, added 1 package of chili seasoning and one can of tomatoe soup(yep, that’s right) then I added a jar of the store bought cheese queso ….it was a little thick so I put a little water in the queso jar and shook it , then added it to the skillet…….it’s very close!

  12. Lindsey

    The Chili’s Skillet Queso doesn’t have beans in it. A friend of mine used to work there, and Chili’s Skillet Queso actually comes to the restaurants frozen!

    • Stephanie

      That’s why I recommend the no bean chili 😉 Now, here in Texas, that is a very serious topic of discussion, beans or no beans in the chili.

      • Heri Meza

        Contrary to popular belief Texan cowboys did actually put beans in their chili. When it was made and packaged back home it did not contain beans. It was a compact, high-calorie food meant to fuel you on the range (like pemmican) where every pound you carried counted. Once they made camp, chili con carne was reconstituted on a fire with water and any other food stuffs you had on you at the time. Most of the time this included beans because they were available at every trading post and general store, were relatively light when dried and kept for a long time. Most Texans that get worked up about beans in their chili are just food snobs who have never worked a day on the range or in the mountains away from modern conveniences.

      • Stephanie

        Amen to your comment.
        I don’t understand why some folks in Texas get very excited about beans in chili. Many years of my childhood were in the Midwest and we always put beans in our chili. It wasn’t until I came down to Texas that I realized some folks get up in arms about their chili. I am totally going to use your argument for beans in chili next time someone says that Texas chili has no beans it it. Thank you!!

      • Amy

        4 stars
        I’m from the South but not from Texas. Now I live in New England. I’m neither region is chili ever made without beans! However, the Joy of Cooking recipe says they’re optional, which I thought was weird because I’d never seen or had a no-bean chili before!

  13. Teresa Purvis

    We just had Chili’s queso dip last night and it definitely has beans in it, didn’t see any beef. So the canned chili without beans isn’t correct. I think this may be made with the Velveeta cheese and a can of refried beans and maybe some spices.

    • Robyn

      The Skillet Queso is one of our favorite dishes at Chili’s. For the last 10 plus years we have been eating it, it has never had beans. I always suspected the use a picadillo type beef that breaks into chunks into the cheese sauce. There use to be a brand of chili called Gephardt Chili ( discontinued) and that type of chili is what it taste like that is combined with the Velveeta. Fascinating that you had beans in yours. It could be a regional thing. I ate once in Tennessee at Texas Road House and ordered Chili, it came with beans, in Florida and Texas they don’t serve chili with beans at that chain.

  14. Kim

    Just had this dip at Chili’s and it was so good I came home and searched for the recipe- this looks like the closest, except the dip at the restaurant had some beans in it…

    • Paintedlovefarm

      it does not have beans in it a chilis we asked.. it’s so dang good i thought it did but they corrected me and told me it did not.

  15. Monica

    I made this dip for a party my fiance and I threw. I made a double batch and not even an hour into the party it was gone. I ended up making a run to the store mid party to make another double batch. This stuff is for sure a party hit.

  16. Drew

    Try changing the ratio of ingredients to 1 lb Velveeta & 2 cans chili. I think you will find this a closer match to Chili’s Skillet Queso.

  17. Tracy

    We went to Chili’s about a month ago and we loved this cheese dip!! We wondered how we could make it. I was soooo glad that on Thanksgiving Day I was looking for cheese dip recipes and came across your site. We made this and it was a hit!!! We will definatley be using this site more as I have added it to my favorites!!!! Thanks a bunch!!

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