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A chip dipped in queso held over a red bowl.
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5 from 1 vote

Instant Pot Creamy Queso

Instant Pot Queso is loaded with tomatoes, jalapeño, and a ton of flavor. It is made in just minutes with a pressure cooker for an impressive and crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Prep Time12 mins
Cook Time1 min
Total Time13 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Mexican, Southern
Keyword: instant pot queso, instapot queso
Diet: Kid Friendly
Cooking Method: Instant Pot
Servings: 12
Calories: 260kcal

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.

Instructions

  • Press the Saute button on your Instant Pot, then melt the butter.
  • Once melted, add diced red onion, jalapeño, and tomatoes and cook until the red onions are mostly translucent.
  • Add the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper next and mix everything together.
  • Place the cream cheese on top of the vegetables but do not stir, then cancel the Saute setting.
  • 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.
  • 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 queso to sit for a few minutes to cool, then serve with tortilla chips and enjoy! Garnish with jalapeños and cilantro if desired.

Notes

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.
🍳 Serving Suggestions & Uses
What Is Queso Used for?
Queso is most commonly served as a restaurant appetizer with a big basket of chips. (If my husband would allow it, I would probably eat that for a full meal - but he likes to remind me that I studied nutrition and I know better.)
Queso is also delicious:
  • drizzled onto burrito bowls, tacos, and nachos
  • poured over chicken breasts with Spanish rice
  • poured over steamed veggies and baked potatoes
  • poured over chips and taco meat for a tastier version of those cafeteria-style nachos from our middle school days
🥫 Storage/Shelf Life/Reheating
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!
📋 Tips
  • To make this queso really thin, you can add up to one cup of heavy cream.
  • 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. (This will also change the color of your queso.)
🙋‍♂️ Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of cheese is 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 Keep Warm mode and cover, stir until melted.
Why Use an Instant Pot?
With this Instant Pot Queso Recipe, perfectly cheesy queso dip is ready in just a few minutes!
Melting and cooking all the ingredients together in a pressure cooker saves a ton of time and ensures that the dip has perfectly balanced flavors and an amazing texture.
This queso recipe uses a combination of cream cheese, heavy cream, and melted cheddar for a velvety texture!
The diced jalapeños add heat, the cumin adds a lot of flavor, and tomatoes add texture, freshness, and tang to make this the best queso recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.333cup | Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 498mg | Potassium: 105mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 885IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 298mg | Iron: 1mg