Monterey’s Little Mexico Queso is unique, packed full of cheese, green chilies, celery, and onion. It offers so much more than ordinary queso, you can’t pass this one by!
I don’t think anyone should go into a Tex Mex restaurant and pass on the queso dip. Monterey’s Tex Mex is a chain and it looks like they have changed their name to Monterey’s Little Mexico. Whatever the restaurant’s name, there are few things that I enjoy more than Monterey’s Tex Mex Queso.
This is wonderfully mild queso that is tasty with tortilla chips or even spread on a crisp corn tortilla as a side dish. This queso dip is delicious, and the onions and celery add a nice touch.
What does Queso mean?
Queso is the Spanish word for cheese. However, you get more than cheese when you see this gooey and spicy delight on the menu at a Tex-Mex restaurant.
Queso is the shortened form of chile con queso, which translates to chile with cheese. This Tex-Mex appetizer is a cheese dip recipe, but it should not be restricted to just dipping; it also goes well over burritos, fajitas, nachos, tacos, and even grilled chicken.
Type of Cheese to Make Queso
I had forever been stumped on finding the right cheese to make the cheese dip recipe that is familiar in so many Tex Mex restaurants. In this queso dip recipe, we use American Cheese. Not Cheddar, not Monterey Jack, but the good-melting American cheese that you can buy in the deli at your local grocery store.
With American cheese, you get a cheese that melts quickly and can be reheated easily.
Tex-Mex Queso Recipe Ingredients
Here’s a list of what you need:
- Yellow onion
- Large green chili peppers such as Anaheim or hatch chile peppers
- American cheese
Anaheim or Hatch Peppers
Anaheim peppers (or California peppers) are called chile verde del norte in Mexico since they belong to the northern part of the country. Anaheim is also one of the most common chile peppers in the southwestern United States.
These long, vividly green chiles have been cultivated in California to be milder, in order not to overwhelm the tastebuds of the norteamericanos. However, although these green chiles are some of the mildest you can find, they can still vary in the level of heat they add to a dish.
Hatch peppers are very similar in appearance to Anaheim peppers, but they are much, much hotter. These premium green chiles are grown in the small town of Hatch, New Mexico.
Every Labor Day weekend, there is a Hatch Valley Chile Festival when approximately 30,000 people descend on the little town to buy and eat these delicious hot peppers.
How to Make Tex-Mex Queso
- Saute the chopped onion, thinly sliced celery, and diced peppers with butter in pan over medium heat.
- Add American cheese and milk.
- Reduce the heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the cheese is melted.
Get more queso recipes!
Here are some more copycat queso recipes for you:
Favorite Mexican Recipes
- Chile Verde Pork
- Chili Relleno Casserole Recipe
- Chipotle Rice Recipe
- Huevos Rancheros
- Mexican Barbacoa
- Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
- Taco Bell Nacho Fries
- Taco Bowl
Let me know what is your favorite dish served in Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants. I love hearing what my readers like to eat.
Check out more of my easy dip recipes and the best Mexican food recipes here on CopyKat!
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Monterey Little Mexico Tex-Mex Queso
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
- 2 large green chili peppers such as Anaheim or hatch peppers, diced fine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound American cheese
- 1/3 cup milk
- Place the chopped onion, thinly sliced celery, and diced peppers in a sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add two tablespoons of butter and sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add American cheese and milk.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the cheese is melted.
Monterrey House Queso had pimentos in it and no milk. Only water.
I don’t remember this dip having pimentos in it, perhaps the chain changed the recipe as they began to shutter and close locations. I happen to live near one, and I have sampled this recipe a few times over the past 15 years, and this is the recipe as it is served in Humble, Texas.
The original Monterey House recipe did not have pimentos. Only one actual restaurant serving the original recipe is in Beaumont, the original owner is still running it, actually his daughter. Many locations changed the recipe when he sold out back in the late 80’s and 90’s. The Humble location opened in the mid 70’s but changed ownership in the 90’s. Had many a Sunday evening meal there 70’s 80’s with my grandmother. This recipe is close. I’ve been trying to reverse engineer the original full recipe for 40 years, I keep emailing the original owner, but he still won’t let it out.
I’ll have to try the Beaumont location sometime, thank you for that info!
Lee you may think you are an authority but the original did have pimentos. You do know pimentos are just peppers right? So keep talking about your reverse engineering until the cows come home. As for me I’ll keep making my authentic version which is exactly like it always was thanks to our neighbor who worked at the Monterey House off Little York in Houston back in the ‘70s. I trust the person who made the actual queso and not someone who just ate there and pretends to be an expert.
Bill, sounds like you had a rough evening. I tried the recipe in 1990’s, 2000’s, and 2010’s. I admit I haven’t been back since covid. Many restaurants change or modify recipes over the years. I appreciate the version you tried was different. I would have liked to have tried the recipe with pimentos. I am sure the flavor was different. Thank you for dropping by and sharing your experience. I think it is a shame there aren’t too many of these restaurants left.
Made it and it is right on point with Monterey House Queso . Thank you !
I HAVE NOW LIVED IN SOUTHERN CA FOR 6 YRS AND CAN NOT FINE A MEXICAN RESTAURANT THAT HAS QUESO DIP ON THE MENU. I THINK IT’S PROBABLY NOT A MEXICAN DISH BUT IF THE CUSTOMERS WANT IT…..?
Who doesn’t love queso?
It is a Tex Mex dish, there is a difference between real Mexican food and Tex Mex. I prefer Tex Mex myself. 😁
Here’s how I’ve modified this recipe through the years. 13 oz of water . Two and a half pounds of American bulk cheese. the cheese cannot have calcium added . I use the bulk sliced American cheese from Sam’s Costco Orlando lakes if you’re lucky to get that. Vegetables. One cup of pureed green bell pepper one cup of pureed celery. Onion 1 and 1/2 to 1 and 3/4 of white onion . A quarter cup of jar jalapenos must be Jarred in order for this to work. Use liquid measurements. Put that all in a pot and get it to a rolling boil. Once it is at a rolling boil for a couple minutes start adding the cheese. The taste that everybody is looking for you cannot ever get because is the name of the cheese used originally in it I cannot remember to save me but I have never been able to find it. if you make this exact recipe with pepper jack cheese to get a lovely presentation cheese that will clean to the product made and look beautiful
HELP!!! I’m having a hard time finding fresh hatch or anaheim chilies. Will canned work? Will diced canned work and if so how much (i.e. 1/4th cup)?
Yes, they will work ok, just add them in when you are melting the cheese.
Hatch chilies can usually be found in mid to late summer till maybe early October. Guess you could buy on Amazon any time. They seem to have a secret source.
My stores in Texas carry the brand “Hatch”. https://www.hatchchileco.com/
I made this to the letter, and it is perfect. It’s as close as you can get to Monterrey’s cheese and the family was ecstatic. I used the fresh sliced Boar’s Head American cheese from the deli and diced up fresh Anaheim peppers, along with the yellow onion and chopped celery. Perfection! I’m so happy, as I hate the velveeta version of chile con Queso.
I once asked what kind of cheese they used the woman told us they use Land O Lakes cheese. I have found it at the deli counter at walmart in like the big blocks. It tastes pretty close
I think the Land O Lakes brand of American cheese melts better than any other brand.
Yes! I worked at a Monterrey’s Tex Mex for 6 years. It was definitely Land O Lakes cheese.
I’m sure I’m overthinking this, but does it matter which land o lakes american cheese? When googling it, I see white or yellow or 2% or cheddar american….I could always trial n error but I’m just trying to get as close to original as possible
Yellow American cheese is what was used.
Montereys, is a favorite and since we moved away itis one of the things we miss the most. so my comments on this recipe is, Its very close.