Easy Smoked Queso Dip with Crunchy-Sweet Pickled Jalapenos Recipe
Are you seeking an easy pumped-up version of your favorite cheese dip? Here it is! This smoky queso dip is loaded with flavor…..whether made on a smoker OR a charcoal grill. It’s a hit at all kinds of gatherings and parties.
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I think every. single. family. in America is loves with cheese dip. We make it for nearly every occasion and family gathering, and why not?? It’s quick to make and easy to serve. (Plus, all you gotta have on the side is chips!)
Queso cheese dip can be made in a multitude of ways – on the smoker or a charcoal grill, in a pan on the stove or in the oven, in a slow cooker, or even in your Instant Pot set to the sauté setting.
And cheese dip is super versatile – it can be customized to any liking. Don’t like sausage in your queso? Switch out the sausage for ground beef or pulled pork. Or maybe you like vegetarian queso? Skip the meat completely. Switch up your cheese dip game by incorporating assorted cheeses to add depth of flavor. There are no “queso rules” you have to abide by!
What to Love About This Recipe –
- Who doesn’t adore queso dip??
- Who doesn’t love grillin’ and chillin??
- This queso is simple, quick, and fun to make!
What Ingredients Will You Need to Make Smoked Cheese Dip with Pickled Jalapenos?
- Alma Creamery Pepper Cheddar Cheese Curds, or substitute your favorite Pepper Jack cheese
- Velveeta cheese
- Pork sausage, fully cooked
- Diced tomatoes and green chilies
- Dehydrated onion flakes
- Beer, may substitute broth or milk
- pickled jalapenos, pico de gallo or salsa, tortilla chips
- Sliced jalapenos
- White vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Black peppercorns
How to Make Smoked Queso Dip in 3 Easy Steps
- Place all the queso ingredients (except the beer) into a heavy-duty foil pan, then place the pan of queso ingredients onto the preheated smoker.
- Smoke (cook) the queso for 30-40 minutes, stirring gently to help the cheeses melt.
- When the queso is smooth, serve with the pickled jalapenos or other favorite toppings and tortilla chips.
How to Make Pickled Jalapenos in 3 Easy Steps
- Place the sliced jalapenos, garlic cloves and peppercorns into jars.
- Make the brine in a saucepan; pour the hot brine over the jalapenos in the jars.
- When the jalapenos and brine have cooled, cover the jars with lids, placing the jars into the fridge to chill.
Easy Recipe Tips for Making Smoked Queso Dip
- What if I don’t have a smoker? Can I make this queso dip on a grill instead?
- Does it matter what type of pan I use on the smoker when I smoke the queso?
- If I don’t like spicy queso, can I substitute something else for the pepper jack cheese? Can I make this recipe using Velveeta cheese only?
- Is this cheese dip good with ground beef instead of sausage?
Cheese dip is delicious made on a charcoal grill if you don’t own a smoker. The charcoal aroma doesn’t add smokiness (exactly) but it does add it’s own unique flavor to the cheese dip that’s delicious. If you have a propane grill, you can smoke the queso by placing some wood chips into a disposable pan that is then set beside the pan of queso as it cooks.
I use one of two types of pans for smoking queso: a large heavy-duty aluminum pan or a 12″ cast iron skillet. If you opt for the for aluminum, I’d advise doubling up on the pans since they are more sturdy together and will be very full of hot, easily-sloshed cheese dip by the time it is fully smoked and ready to eat. An aluminum pan is nice because it’s disposable (yay!), but I really like how well the cast iron skillet holds in the heat.
If you don’t want the cheese dip to be too spicy, you can omit the pepper jack cheese and substitute a cheddar or cheddar/blend of some sort. Gouda is a delicious addition, as well. Adding this second type of cheese brings good depth of flavor and contrast to the mild flavor of the Velveeta cheese.
Yes, this queso dip can be made with Velveeta cheese (or any processed cheese, no matter the brand) all by itself. The cheese dip won’t be as complex in flavor, but still creamy and enjoyable.
You can use any type of pre-cooked meat in this recipe….cooked sausage, cooked ground beef, ground venison, or ground bison. Smoked queso is also delicious with cooked pulled pork, so don’t forget that option.
Easy Recipe Tips for Making Pickled Jalapenos
- What do I need to know when I’m working with jalapenos?
- If I don’t like spicy, can I pickle a different type of pepper?
- Is there a way to make jalapenos less spicy?
- What is the difference between refrigerator pickled jalapenos (like these) and canned pickled jalapenos?
- How long will pickled jalapenos keep in the fridge?
Anytime you are working with fresh jalapenos, it’s essential to wear food-safe disposable gloves. The jalapeno membranes, seeds, and juice can easily burn fingertips and nail beds and it’s very painful!
If spicy isn’t your game, you can easily substitute Anaheim peppers or Pablano peppers for the jalapenos. When either of these milk peppers are sliced, they don’t come out as perfect rings like jalapenos do, so just be aware of that.
The spicy-ness of jalapenos comes mainly from the seeds and membranes at the center of each pepper. When the seeds and membranes are removed, jalapenos are much more mild in flavor.
These pickled jalapenos are what is called “refrigerator pickled jalapenos” and must be stored in refrigeration because they have not been preserved via a canning process.
Refrigerator pickled jalapenos (like these) will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. They will be vibrant green for quite some time. When they begin losing their color, this is an indication that they will also not be quite as crunchy.
Other Tasty Recipes to Enjoy –
- Hot and Creamy Pizza Dip
- Chili Cheese Tamale Dip
- Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Twisted Mexican Hot Tots
- Mexican Beef and Cheese Sanchiladas
Printable Directions for Making Smoker Cheese Dip with Crunchy-Sweet Pickled Jalapenos
Easy Smoked Queso Dip with Pickled Jalapenos
Easy Smoked Queso Dip
- 1-2 8 oz. pkgs. Alma Creamery Pepper Cheddar cheese curds depending on how spicy you prefer your queso
- 2 lbs. Velveeta cheese cubed
- 2 lbs. pork sausage cooked, crumbled, and fats drained well
- 2 – 10 oz. cans diced tomatoes and green chilies with juices
- 6-8 cloves garlic minced or crushed (1-2 Tbs.)
- 1-2 Tbs. dehydrated onion flakes
- 1/2 cup beer may substitute broth or milk
- Pickled jalapenos, pico de gallo or salsa, and tortilla chips, for serving
Crunchy-Sweet Pickled Jalapeno Peppers
- 10-15 jalapenos (depending on their size) sliced
- 4 whole garlic cloves peeled and smashed slightly
- 1-2 tsp. black peppercorns
- 1 cup white distilled vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs. kosher salt
Make the Smoked Queso
- Preheat the smoker to 350 degrees F.
- Place all ingredients except the beer into a heavy-duty aluminum pan; place the queso onto the center rack of the smoker and close the lid. Smoke the queso for 30-40 minutes (or until the queso reaches the desired amount of smokiness you prefer), gently stirring the queso as it cooks, adding the beer as needed, until the queso reaches a creamy, smooth consistency.
- Serve the queso topped with pickled jalapenos, pico de gallo, and tortilla chips.
Make the Pickled Jalapenos
- This recipe makes two 16 oz. jars of pickled refrigerator pickles.
- Divide the jalapeno slices, garlic cloves, and peppercorns between the two (16 oz.) jars.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, prepare the brine by combining the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt; stir occasionally until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved, approx. 4-5 minutes; remove from the heat. Pour the prepared brine over the jalapenos in each jar; let cool completely to room temperature. Cover the jars with lids, then refrigerate. Pickled jalapenos will keep for up to 3-4 weeks in the fridge.
- Please note: As the pickled jalapenos chill in the fridge, they may mellow and become sweeter. OR, they may become spicier! You can never predict jalapenos. 🙂
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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
From the Land of Kansas is the state trademark program that promotes and celebrates agricultural experiences and products that are grown, raised, produced, or created in Kansas. Visit their website for more information. Our featured guest and member business for this blog post and televised segment on Good Morning KAKEland is Cody Dillon from Alma Creamery, Alma Kansas.
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