This Instant Pot Queso Dip is loaded with tons of cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, and a ton of flavor. It is made in just minutes with a pressure cooker for an impressive and crowd-pleasing appetizer.

We love to make this Easy Instant Pot Queso Dip Recipe at our house, but we have to make it sparingly because can eat it all in one sitting. It reheats really well, so it is also great to make in advance for a Sunday Game Day party or for a quick dinner or weeknight appetizer.

A red bowl filled with instant pot queso with chips and a wooden spoon.
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Ingredients Needed

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to make this Instant Pot queso recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Salted Butter
  • Red Onion, diced
  • Jalapeño, Seeded and Diced – You can also use canned green chiles.
  • Tomatoes – Either 3/4 Cup of Diced, Fresh Tomatoes or a Can of Rotel, Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, or just regular Diced tomatoes. The quantity of tomatoes is more of a personal decision.
  • Cheese – I like to use Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Cabot Extra Sharp White Cheddar or Seriously Sharp Cheddar are my favorites. Do not use bagged or pre-shredded cheese, as it will be difficult to melt. Freshly grated real cheese is highly preferred. You can also use a mix of cheddar and white American Cheese if you want to make the cheese more of a cheese sauce.
  • Cumin – You can leave this out if you are like my dad and hate cumin. We love cumin, and I think it adds to the flavor!
  • Paprika – If you have smoked paprika, that is also a great flavor.
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Cream Cheese  – Half a normal-sized block of cream cheese.
  • Heavy Cream – I like queso to be thick, so I don’t use a ton of cream. If you like your queso to be runny, add a lot of cream.
  • A Bag of Tortilla Chips for Serving
The ingredients in instant pot queso, laid out and labeled.

Why Use an Instant Pot?

Using an Instant Pot, this cheesy queso dip is ready in just a few minutes! Cooking all the ingredients together in a pressure cooker saves a ton of time, increases the flavors, and gives the dip an amazing velvety texture.

How to Make Instant Pot Queso

Press the Saute button on your Instant Pot, then melt the butter. (Pictures 1 – 2)

Once melted, add diced red onion, diced jalapeños, and tomatoes and, using the Sauté function, cook until the red onions are mostly translucent. (Picture 3 – 4)

Add the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper next and mix everything together. (Pictures 5 – 6)

A collage of images showing the process of making queso in an Instant Pot, steps 1 - 5.

Place the cream cheese on top of the vegetables but do not stir, then cancel the Saute setting. (Picture 7 – 8)

Put the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the vent is pointed to Sealing. (Picture 9)

Set it to Manual Mode or Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 1 minute. (It will cook in the time it takes to come to pressure.) (Picture 10)

A collage of images showing the process of making queso in an Instant Pot, steps 6 - 10.

When the cooking cycle is finished, do a controlled release of the pressure to be sure that you don’t spray cheese everywhere. You can do this by releasing the pressure in short spurts until you can confidently leave the vent open with only steam coming out. (Picture 11)

Now stir everything together – the vegetables should be really soft, and the cream cheese should be melted enough to stir. (Pictures 12 – 13)

Now add shredded cheddar cheese and stir until it is melted. If the cheese is difficult to melt, set the Instant Pot to Keep Warm mode to expedite the process. (Picture 14)

Once the cheese is melted, add heavy cream until it is your desired thickness. (We like thick queso, so I add around ½ a cup. To make the queso pourable and thin, add ¾ cup or more if desired.) (Picture 15)

A collage of images showing the process of making queso in an Instant Pot, steps 11 - 15.

Allow the queso to sit for a few minutes to cool, then serve it with your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy! Garnish with diced jalapeños and fresh cilantro if desired.

A collage of three images showing cheddar cheese melting into queso.

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🙋‍♀️ Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of cheese is used in Instant Pot queso?

This queso recipe uses cream cheese and cheddar cheese. (We like to use Cabot Cheddar cheese.)

Is queso spicy?

Queso can be as spicy as you want. If you don’t like spice, leave out the jalapeño. If you like spice, keep some of the membrane of the jalapeño or add another!

Can you heat up nacho cheese in an instant pot?

Yes! Set the Instant Pot to the Keep Warm function and cover it with a lid, then stir until melted.

A red bowl filled with instant pot queso with chips and a wooden spoon.

Storage and Reheating

How to Store It

Once cooled, queso can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

How to Reheat Leftover Queso

Reheat cold queso slowly over low heat. I like to use my Instant Pot on Keep Warm setting or in a small slow cooker and stir as it heats. This is a great party dip to serve in a small crockpot!

Three process images for melting queso in an Instant Pot.

Helpful Tips

  • To make this queso dip really thin, you can add up to one cup of heavy cream and to make a white queso dip, substitute some of the cheddar cheese for white American cheese.
  • If your cheese is difficult to melt – Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar is our favorite, but it melts slowly – you can set your Instant Pot to Keep Warm mode to expedite the process.
  • Using really sharp cheddar (if you like sharp cheese) will really boost the flavor of this queso. If you use a block of Kraft cheese, the flavor will be much milder.
A chip dipped in queso held over a red bowl.

Ways to Serve Queso

Queso is most commonly served as a restaurant appetizer with a big basket of chips and homemade salsa. (If my husband would allow it, I would probably eat it for a full meal – but he likes to remind me that I studied nutrition and should know better.)

This cheesy dip is also delicious:

  • Drizzled onto burrito bowls, tacos, and nachos for a Game Day spread with pico de gallo, mango avocado salsa, guacamole, and sour cream on the side.
  • Poured over chicken breasts with a side of Spanish rice.
  • Poured over steamed veggies, french fries, or baked potatoes.
  • Poured over crispy tortilla chips and ground beef cooked with taco seasoning for a tastier version of those cafeteria-style nachos from our middle school days.

More Instant Pot Recipes

Have You Tried This Recipe?

Please rate it and leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you think!

A chip dipped in queso held over a red bowl.

Instant Pot Queso Dip

5 from 4 votes
Instant Pot Creamy Queso Dip is loaded with real cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, and SO MUCH flavor. It is made in just minutes with a pressure cooker for an impressive and crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Author: Kari
Servings: 12
Prep: 12 minutes
Cook: 1 minute
Total: 13 minutes

Ingredients  

  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced more if you like a little heat
  • ¾ cup diced tomatoes I used tomatoes from my garden – you can also use a can of Rotel, Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, or just regular Diced tomatoes. The quantity of tomatoes is more of a personal decision.
  • 2 teaspoons cumin You can leave this out if you are like my dad and hate cumin – we love it and I think it adds to the flavor!
  • 1 teaspoon paprika If you have smoked paprika, that is also a great flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (half a normal block)
  • 4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded We like to use white cheddar.
  • ½ – ¾ cup heavy cream I like queso to be thick, so I don't use a ton of cream. If you like your queso to be runny, add a lot of cream.

Queso Dip Garnish

  • tortilla chips
  • fresh cilantro
  • jalapeños

Instructions 

  • Press the Saute button on your Instant Pot, then melt the butter.
    ¼ cup salted butter
  • Once melted, add diced red onion, jalapeño, and tomatoes and cook until the red onions are mostly translucent.
    ½ cup diced red onion, 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced, ¾ cup diced tomatoes
  • Add the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper next and mix everything together.
    2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Place the cream cheese on top of the vegetables but do not stir, then cancel the Saute setting.
    4 ounces cream cheese
  • Put the lid on your Instant Pot and make sure the vent is pointed to Sealing.
  • Set it to Manual Mode or Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 1 minute. (It will cook in the time it takes to come to pressure.)
  • When the cooking cycle is finished, do a controlled release of the pressure to be sure that you don't spray cheese everywhere. You can do this by releasing the pressure in short spurts until you can confidently leave the vent open with only steam coming out.
  • Now stir everything together – the vegetables should be really soft and the cream cheese should be melted enough to stir.
  • Now add shredded cheddar cheese and stir until it is melted. (Bagged or pre-shredded cheese will be difficult to melt, so freshly grated is recommended.) If the cheese is difficult to melt, set the Instant Pot to Keep Warm mode to expedite the process.
    4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded, ½ – ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Once the cheese is melted, add heavy cream until it is your desired thickness. (We like thick queso so I add around ½ a cup. To make the queso pourable and thin, add ¾ cup or more if desired.)
  • Allow the queso to sit for a few minutes to cool, then serve it with your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy! Garnish with diced jalapeños and fresh cilantro if desired.
    tortilla chips, fresh cilantro, jalapeños

Notes

The recipe yield is around 12 servings of ⅓ cup. (It will serve more people if each person only has a bite or two at a potluck or party.) Prep time includes the time for the Instant Pot to come to pressure – about 10 minutes.

What can you use queso for?

Queso is most commonly served as a restaurant appetizer with a big basket of chips and homemade salsa. (If my husband would allow it, I would probably eat it for a full meal – but he likes to remind me that I studied nutrition and should know better.)
This cheesy dip is also delicious:
  • Drizzled onto burrito bowls, tacos, and nachos for a Game Day spread with pico de gallo, mango avocado salsa, guacamole, and sour cream on the side.
  • Poured over chicken breasts with a side of Spanish rice.
  • Poured over steamed veggies, french fries, or baked potatoes.
  • Poured over crispy tortilla chips and ground beef cooked with taco seasoning for a tastier version of those cafeteria-style nachos from our middle school days.

How to Store & Reheat Queso

Once cooled, queso can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat slowly over low heat. I like to use my Instant Pot on Keep Warm mode or in a small slow cooker and stir as it heats. This is a great party dip to serve in a small crockpot!

Queso Dip Tips

  • To make this white queso dip really thin, you can add up to one cup of heavy cream and substitute some of the cheddar cheese for white American cheese.
  • If your cheese is difficult to melt – Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar is our favorite, but it melts slowly – you can set your Instant Pot to Keep Warm mode to expedite the process.
  • Using really sharp cheddar (if you like sharp cheese) will really boost the flavor of this queso. If you use a block of Kraft cheese, the flavor will be much milder.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.333cupCalories: 260kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 10gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 498mgPotassium: 105mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 885IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 298mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is approximate and is automatically calculated, so should only be used as a guide.

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Mexican Inspired, Southern
Keyword: instant pot queso, instapot queso
Did you make this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

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Hi, I'm Kari!

I am a newlywed, food blogger, health coach, and mama to a hot mess of a border collie. I love to put a new spin on old family recipes and I try to make as many meals as possible with an Instant Pot.

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