No-Velveeta sausage queso is a perfect tailgating or party snack. It comes together in 15 minutes with no processed cheese involved! (scroll down for video)
Don’t get me wrong, I can throw down some Velveeta dip, and I will never deny that nothing (nothing) melts like American cheese (which is why I almost always use it on my burgers). But when cheese is the star of the show, like it is in any queso dip, I want to go big on the flavor, and, of course, I don’t want to use processed cheese food in everything I make.
Sausage queso is a Southern staple for tailgating, birthday parties, or (if you live in my house) a quick snack supper. Here is my method for getting it just perfect with only a few ingredients.
1) Easy on the oil
I just use the drippings from the sausage and don’t add any butter or oil to this recipe. With all that cheese, any more oil and this sausage queso dip would be swimming in orange grease. That’s never a good thing.
2) Make a roux
I learned the hard way when I was a new cook that most cheeses (aside from the aforementioned American) don’t melt well in plain old milk. Stringy city, baby. Tossing shredded cheese into a creamy roux (made simply by mixing flour with the drippings then adding some milk – like we’re making a classic sausage gravy) keeps everything perfectly smooth; that’s how I start all of my cheese sauces these days.
3) Just enough liquid
The milk is enough to get this dip, well, dippable. Any more liquid and it would be runny, which is why I drain my tomatoes well before I add them to the dip.
4) Seasoning is key
You can certainly go for some cayenne, cumin, garlic powder, or onion powder – whatever sounds good to you. For the sausage queso here I kept the seasoning simple – just a sprinkle of salt. The point is, you have to make sure you check the salt level. Sure, there’s salt in the sausage and there’s salt in the cheese, but the milk dilutes it and if you don’t check your seasonings you might end up with an awfully bland dip.
I chose cilantro, but maybe you’re one of those souls who thinks that cilantro tastes like soap. You could use some fresh or pickled jalapeños, chopped green onions or chives, or chopped tomatoes. Even some crumbled queso fresco would be great here. A little garnish goes a long way in adding some color and flavor!
Yield: About 3 cups dip
5 minPrep Time:
10 minCook Time:
15 minTotal Time:
- 8 ounces breakfast sausage
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies, well-drained
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheese - I like a mixture of cheddar and Monterey jack; pepper jack would work well too
- salt, to taste
- garnishes - chopped cilantro, jalapeños, green onions, tomatoes
- tortilla chips, for dipping
- Preheat a 10-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add the sausage to the pan and cook, using a wooden spatula or spoon to break up the sausage, until well browned.
- Turn the heat down to medium. Sprinkle the flour over the sausage and stir to combine. Cook for about one minute. Add the milk and tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
- Add the cheese to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until completely melted and well-incorporated. Salt to taste and serve with desired garnishes and tortilla chips for dipping.