Spicy Queso Blanco Applebee’s Copycat

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Now you can enjoy your favorite Queso Blanco dip at home! One of our favorite Applebee’s copycat recipes, this white cheese dip couldn’t taste better. Spicy queso is loaded with 2 cheeses, fresh herbs, and just enough heat to make your tongue tingle. 

titled: Spicy Queso Blanco Applebee's Copycat


Queso Blanco

Applebee’s Spicy Queso is a Southwestern-inspired creamy white cheese dip to please the palate and leave your taste buds begging for more.

Now, you can enjoy it from the comfort of your home with our easy copycat recipe!

Don’t forget a dollop of fresh pico de gallo in the center — it just adds even more texture to this fabulous hot cheese dip.

Craving more Applebee’s copycat recipes? You can’t go wrong with creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip for game day or a warm bowl of Tomato Basil Soup on a chilly night!

Applebee’s Chicken Wonton Tacos make an incredible appetizer for any get together or game day party!

ingredients to make queso blanco with pico de gallo

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Cheese – We use a combo of white American and Monterey Jack. Both are mild cheeses that melt down nice and smooth, but the combo creates a better flavor.
  • Heavy Cream – This makes everything super creamy, and it won’t scald if the mixture gets too hot. Swap with half and half for a lighter version.
  • Onion – White onion is the best choice, but yellow onion can be used in a pinch.
  • Peppers – Jalapenos are the traditional choice, but canned diced green chiles are a great alternative. Just be sure to drain them really well first.
pouring cream into pot with sauteed onion and jalapeno

Tips for the Best White Cheese Dip

  • Adjust the heat. Use fewer jalapenos for a mild heat, or add more if you prefer your spicy queso even spicier!
  • Include other ingredients. Toss in some cooked chorizo or ground beef for a heartier dip.

    You can also include tomatoes in the dip itself and leave off the pico on top.
  • Bring everything to room temp first. It’s not required, but it will cut down on the melting time and guarantee the smoothest results!
pieces of white cheese in pot with cream, onion, and peppers

Serving Suggestions

Obviously, you need some dippers, and nothing goes better with queso blanco than tortilla chips!

Round out your party table with guacamole and extra pico, and maybe even a 7 layer bean dip.

Hot cheese dip is just as delicious with raw veggies or on all of your Mexican food favorites — tacos, burritos, nachos, and more. It’s even tasty on burgers!

small bowl of cheese dip topped with pico from another bowl

Spicy Queso FAQ

How long does queso blanco last in the fridge?

Any homemade version of this hot cheese dip will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Be sure to store it in an airtight container and avoid reheating it multiple times. Instead, warm just what you plan to eat in the microwave or on the stove.

Jarred versions may last longer — up to 2 weeks — because they contain preservatives.

What is white cheese dip made of?

Ingredients may vary by restaurant and homemade recipe, but queso blanco dip always starts with white American cheese, some sort of milk or cream, and jalapenos.

Our recipe also includes Monterey Jack cheese because it melts down so nicely and has a bolder flavor than American.

Grated onion adds flavor and a little texture, and cilantro brings the Mexican flair. Finally, a dollop of fresh pico in the center brightens the whole dish!

Make Ahead Instructions

If you’re planning for a party, you can add everything to your crock pot and cook on Low for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Once everything is melted, keep it on warm until the guests arrive. Or, serve queso blanco right out of the slow cooker.

close up of white cheese dip in orange ramekin

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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lifting tortilla chip out of queso blanco dip

dipping chip in queso

Spicy Queso Blanco Applebee’s Copycat

Donna Elick
Queso Blanco is one of our favorite Applebee's copycat recipes. This white cheese dip has just enough heat to make your tongue tingle.
5 stars from 4 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mexican
Method Stovetop
Servings 8 makes approximately 2 cups


  • 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil, or other neutral oil
  • 1 small onion, divided
  • 2 – 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded, deveined, and minced (divided)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into chunks
  • 4 ounces white American cheese, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1 Roma tomato, de-seeded and diced


  • Cut onion in half and mince one half. Set aside.
  • Warm oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 2/3 of minced jalapeno and grate 1/2 onion into pan. Stir to coat and cook for 3-5 minutes until tender. Add cream and bring to a bubble. Add cheese a little at a time, stir until cheese is melted. Stir in 1 tablespoon cilantro.
  • To create a simple pico de gallo: Combine chopped onion, tomato, 1/2 tablespoon cilantro, and remaining jalapeno in a bowl.
  • Pour queso blanco into a medium size serving bowl (2 ½ cup or larger). Top with pico de gallo. Serve and enjoy!

Donna’s Notes

Adjust jalapenos according to the heat you would like. For mild heat, add less. For a spicier dip add more.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 233cal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 412mg | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 375mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): spicy queso blanco Applebee's copycat

Originally published November 2013, updated and republished July 2023

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  1. Donna, I'm definitely trying this recipe, I have never had luck making any cheese dips creamy and "dipable" without using Velveeta, Queso Fresca or Queso Blanco.
    Thanks for sharing just in time for the big Saints game this weekend!!

  2. Donna Just started receiving your recipes The are great and I really enjoy them. I also grew up on chips and onion dip but love the Mexican craze like everyone else
    I have a recipe that brings the lowly onion dip to new heights. It never fails to get requests for the recipe so I have started to bring copies whenever I make it. It has real onions and a little kick to it. It is the Barefoot Contessa Pan-fried Onion Dip and I make it just like the recipe – noneed to change a thing Try it for your next party. Bevie

  3. Donna I just found your site! Can't wait to try this one out! On the Border has a really good Queso Blanco Dip too. I'd love to have that recipe! Happy eating!

  4. Donna I just found your site and I can't wait to try all these new recipes. On the Border has an awesome Queso Blanco too. I'd love to have that recipe if you have it??? Happy eating!!!

    1. I am sorry to hear you had problems with this recipe. What brand of cheese did you use? If it was pre-shredded that could be the trouble. Please email me and I am more than happy to go over the recipe with you to see what happened. Also, did you use heavy cream?

    2. gkaske34 the problem could be White Cheddar cheese. It would be stringy…..Try White American Cheese. It is not stringy at all. I believe that would solve your problem. I white American cheese. Yummy Dip.

  5. okay i tried the recipe double batch and monteray jack, and white chedder turned into one gooey clump????

    1. I am guessing from your comment that your trouble comes from doubling the recipe. I would try it in a single batch.

  6. I tried making this in a single serving and it didn't turn out. I was not able to get the heavy cream to blend with the cheese. Do you know what went wrong?

  7. Making this for our Christmas Eve appetizer party! And of course I'll have to try it out before hand 🙂 Happy lunch to be!

  8. I've never had problems blending decent white cheddar — and believe the sharpness would have helped flavor (as compared to white American). Otherwise was O.K with a small bit of salt added. Not as good as Applebee's — though plenty good for playoff football! Will try again with decent white cheddar — extra sharp to boot.

  9. I work at applebees and I can tell you this is an almost spot on recipe except the onion. we just use tomato and jalapenos. also, salad oil instead of coconut but there's not enough of a difference in the outcome. but the white American is what we use. also in our Pico, we use salad oil and vinegar.

  10. Tostitos makes a Queso Blanco dip in a jar, I warm it and mix in the pico de gallos with it, its nearly the same taste (but much faster)

  11. I have not made this yet; but in the past I have grated sharp (or extra sharp) white cheddar so maybe that will help with the "issues" folks are having if they are just cutting into chunks… just a thought!

  12. Hi Donna! I ABSOLUTELY love, love, love your recipes!I hope you and your family have a great weekend planned! From one Arizona transplant to another, remember to remind your readers that if they want to give their queso added fire DO NOT devein the Jalapeños!! As a family who loves Applebee's we can't get enough of their queso, so ask for 2 or 3 extra large ramikins of queso so we can top our burgers or pasta dishes with it! Yu-uh-um!!!

  13. 5 stars
    this recipe was sooo good and easy to make! I love Donna and Chad’s recipes from The Slow Roasted Italian website. The Spicy Queso Blanco was a hit!

  14. 5 stars
    made this Spicy Queso Blanco from Donna’s recipe, and it was a breeze! Added a pinch of garlic powder for extra flavor. Tasted just like the restaurant version. 5 stars!

  15. 5 stars
    This Queso Blanco is out of this world! It’s almost as good as the restaurant version. Thanks to Donna and Chad for this amazing recipe!

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