Monday, March 4, 2013

Spinach Queso

Restaurant-Style Spinach Queso

Most of you know that we recently moved away from Kansas City.  If you have ever moved away from a city where you had lived for a significant amount of time, you will be able to relate to this statement:

I miss our favorite restaurants!!!

Particularly, our favorite Mexican restaurant.  Most of you also know that Mexican ranks in the top three of my favorites and not just any Mexican food, but particularly the spinach queso, commonly referred to as espinaca at our favorite place in KC.

restaurant-style spinach queso

Paul and I had a pretty good standing Friday night “tradition” that consisted of margaritas, cheese dip, salsa and fajitas.  And while we have found a pretty good substitute here, the queso came up just a bit short.

We cook Mexican food at home fairly often too and last week I remembered seeing a post from Shawnda with some queso that looked very similar to my favorite – so I checked it out, made just a couple of tweaks, and here it is.  The next best thing to being in Kansas City at Jose Peppers.  My own homemade Spinach Queso.

I should also mention that it’s soincrediblyeasy.  I would have never imagined how simple this stuff is – dangerously simple, people.  And you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already.  Just grab some white American cheese (from the deli counter) and get going!

Restaurant-Style Spinach Queso

PrintPrint Recipe

Spinach Queso

Yield: 3 cups queso

Total Time: 15 min

A simple at-home recipe for restaurant-style spinach queso dip with white American cheese, pepper jack, onions, jalapeno, tomatoes and spinach!


2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
2 green onions, sliced (green and white)
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
12 ounces white American cheese, cubed
4 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup milk (anything but skim)
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
8 ounces frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and sqeezed of excess water
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and jalapeno with a small pinch of salt. Saute for about 6 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Add the cheeses and the milk stirring constantly until the cheeses are melted.

Add the canned tomatoes, spinach and cilantro and stir well to combine. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with tortilla chips.

Reheat in the microwave or serve in a small slow cooker to keep warm for a longer period of time.

restaurant-style spinach cheese dip


64 Responses to “Spinach Queso”

  1. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — March 4, 2013 @ 7:11 am

    It’s so funny you wrote this post – when I moved away from Boston I was so “homesick” for the dill ranch dressing at my favorite Mexican place there. I now make it at home all the time. 🙂

  2. #
    Audra | The Baker Chick — March 4, 2013 @ 7:18 am

    Oh wow yum. I won’t be in NYC forever- and I’ll miss the restaurants more than anything. The one thing we really don’t have in my neighborhood though is a great Mexican place. Andy would love this queso- I have to try it!

  3. #
    Anne @The Cooking Campaign — March 4, 2013 @ 7:39 am

    I just moved to NJ from Northern NH, and I can say that there aren’t a lot of restaurants that I miss. But, what I do miss is having Sweet Potato Fries served with real Maple Syrup. Apparently it’s not a thing here, and I have seriously considered bringing my own to restaurants here.

  4. #
    Erin | The Law Student's Wife — March 4, 2013 @ 7:56 am

    I know exactly what you are talking about in terms of fave restaurants! I’ve been recreating e a favorite pizza from the Twin Cities ever since I moved to Madison.Your dip looks restaurant-quality for sure!

  5. #
    Jen @ Savory Simple — March 4, 2013 @ 7:58 am

    I totally get it. I lived in Baltimore for 10 years before moving to DC and it was so hard saying goodbye to restaurants I loved. Luckily you’re an amazing cook so you can recreate some of your favorite dishes. This looks wonderful.

  6. #
    Tracey — March 4, 2013 @ 8:03 am

    I *love* Mexican food, but I have to confess I’ve never had spinach queso. I have clearly been missing out!! This sounds absolutely amazing Cassie 🙂

  7. #
    Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama — March 4, 2013 @ 8:16 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about this dip. My husband is a sucker for all cheesy dips…. and I just so happen to have a ton of spinach that needs to get used up (looking a tad wilted)

  8. #
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — March 4, 2013 @ 8:20 am

    This does look so simple! I can’t wait to try it!

  9. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — March 4, 2013 @ 8:25 am

    I am always looking for easy new dips. Love this!

  10. #
    Gerry @ foodness gracious — March 4, 2013 @ 8:32 am

    I love dips, and this has spinach! Popeye would be all over this 🙂

  11. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — March 4, 2013 @ 8:41 am

    Oh how I love QUESO! I’m a sucker for a good dip that goes with veggies or chips!

  12. #
    Kathryn — March 4, 2013 @ 8:43 am

    Love how easy this is but how full of flavour it looks!

  13. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — March 4, 2013 @ 8:49 am


  14. #
    Cookbook Queen — March 4, 2013 @ 8:50 am

    I’m ready to jump right in this stuff!!!

  15. #
    Marly — March 4, 2013 @ 8:58 am

    I know how you feel losing a favorite restaurant like that. Well, you’ll have to let me know if you’re ever back in town and we’ll make sure you get a return trip to Jose’s! Now, in the meantime, you know what I’m thinking? I might just have to make a vegan version of this recipe. You make it look so easy. Love it!

  16. #
    Corinne — March 4, 2013 @ 9:01 am

    Dips are one of my fav’s but even better when I can get some veggies in!

  17. #
    Sweet Sarah — March 4, 2013 @ 9:04 am

    I know *exactly* what you mean! I moved from Texas (Land of Amazing Tex-Mex) to NC (where the term “queso” has many definitions) last August and my boyfriend and I pine for the Mexican food we so conveniently ate while in the Lone Star State. We’ve resorted to making a lot of things from scratch, which has been equally delish – your queso is next! 🙂


  18. #
    Amanda — March 4, 2013 @ 9:07 am

    The things you do girl! I had no idea I was craving this until I opened your blog today! 🙂

  19. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — March 4, 2013 @ 9:41 am

    Well this looks like just about the tastiest thing ever. YUM!

  20. #
    Joanne — March 4, 2013 @ 9:48 am

    I felt the same way when I left Boston!! Which is why i keep trying to find reasons to go back lol 😛

    This queso dip looks amazing. And the spinach TOTALLY makes it health food…am I right?

  21. #
    katie — March 4, 2013 @ 9:55 am

    ummm how did i not know that these two existed together? Must make asap!!!

  22. #
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — March 4, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    OMG! I’m totally loving this queso dip! High-five, friend!

  23. #
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — March 4, 2013 @ 10:08 am

    Cassie, this looks fantastic! We are huge fans of queso and this spinach version sounds perfect!

  24. #
    sarah k @ the pajama chef — March 4, 2013 @ 10:10 am

    i can’t wait to make this!!! yum!

  25. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — March 4, 2013 @ 10:42 am

    When I move to Baltimore from Philadelphia, the one thing I miss the most (besides my mom!) are all of my favorite restaurants. Now when I go visit, I make sure we go out to dinner at least once or twice!! Cassie, this queso looks wonderful! I’m pretty sure queso is my favorite way to eat cheese 🙂

  26. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 4, 2013 @ 11:41 am

    Missing your fave restaurants is the worst! Well, at least it’s forcing you to recreate things at home 🙂 I have been there, soooo many times.

  27. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — March 4, 2013 @ 11:42 am

    What a great dip, I love the spinach addition!

  28. #
    Nicole @ youngbrokeandhungry — March 4, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

    Missing your favorite restaurants are the worse! When I moved from California to Seattle, I had serious mexican food withdrawal. However it did just force me to make it at home and step out of my comfort zone. This queso is just begging for a bag of chips! And since you added spinach it can be considered healthy.

  29. #
    Ashley — March 4, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

    I can totally relate about the restaurants – the worst is leaving the places that you go to every Saturday morning, etc. But I do love recreating things at home : ) This dip sounds awesome!

  30. #
    dixya @ food, pleasure, and health — March 4, 2013 @ 1:00 pm

    this looks dangerously delicious. I am glad you are able to recreate this at the comfort of your new home, new city 🙂

  31. #
    Jennie @themessybakerblog — March 4, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

    I could totally get on board with this dip. Since there’s spinach in this dip, I could categorize it as healthy. Yup, it’s a reach, but I’m taking it. This looks delish!

  32. #
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective — March 4, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

    Mmmmm-mmmmm! What a great snack!

  33. #
    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — March 4, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    Love me some espinaca at JP’s. It’s so fun to make homemade too! 🙂

  34. #
    a farmer in the dell — March 4, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

    I don’t think you have to be homesick for your favorite Mexican food anymore! This looks top notch!

  35. #
    carrian — March 4, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

    I love queso!! I cannot resist it no matter how full I already am. Even if I eat it as an app and then dinner arrives, I STILL eat it!

  36. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — March 4, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

    mmm i love a good bowl of queso dip!!

  37. #
    Baking Serendipity — March 4, 2013 @ 7:11 pm

    There are so many restaurants I miss from Phoenix…you’ve inspired me to start figuring out how to recreate their recipes! This queso looks fantastic!

  38. #
    Natalie — March 4, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

    Looks like there is some fantastic flavour in this dip!

  39. #
    Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet — March 4, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

    Yes, we just moved too and that was the first thing we did was find a good Mexican restaurant. Now it is where we for our Thursday lunch date! This recipe looks great!

  40. #
    Jennifer @ Mother Thyme — March 4, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

    I have a big bag of tortillas that would love to take a dive in this dip! 🙂

  41. #
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — March 4, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

    This looks incredibly tasty. My husband is all about the queso dip…I’m thinking I should make this for him!

  42. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — March 4, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

    My husband and I have also recently been having withdrawals from some of our old favorite spots in Florida. At least we can try to make things at home! I love queso, but have not had it with spinach. This looks so yummy!

  43. #
    Kiran @ — March 5, 2013 @ 12:10 am

    Aaaahh.. I need this in my life. I am living in withdrawal from my oatmeal. Living out of suitcase is no fun 🙁

  44. #
    Reem — March 5, 2013 @ 1:44 am

    I totally followed this statement for a very long time when we moved to ca…. Rather I still miss that restaurant.
    Lovely dip…Yum

  45. #
    Jenny @ BAKE — March 5, 2013 @ 4:05 am

    This dip looks incredible! perfect for parties

  46. #
    Katie | The Hill Country Cook — March 5, 2013 @ 5:15 am

    Holy mother of all things cheese. I can’t. get. enough. queso. Add spinach? BOOM. Protein, or iron, or whatever Popeye was always talking about.

  47. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — March 5, 2013 @ 9:27 am

    That’s definitely the hardest part about moving – the food! That’s why I don’t think I’ll ever move outside of LA! Yeah, I’m a bit of a foodie brat 🙂

    This dip looks amazing, btw. I’m sure I can make an entire meal out of it!

  48. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — March 5, 2013 @ 11:00 am

    Queso makes me weak in the knees.

  49. #
    JulieD — March 5, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

    Ahh this looks amazing, Cassie! I want a whole bowl right now!

  50. #
    Meghan — March 5, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

    This looks like it needs to be made asap! A little spinach queso plus some margaritas sounds amazing!

  51. #
    Tara @ Unsophisticook — March 5, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

    I’ve never had spinach queso, but any kind of queso is welcome on my table!

  52. #
    Caroline @ chocolate & carrots — March 7, 2013 @ 6:24 am

    What a great idea! I love bringing restaurant favorites into the home. 😀 Looks delicious!

  53. #
    nicole @ I am a Honey Bee — March 8, 2013 @ 9:03 am

    looks like it’s to die for!

  54. #
    Vera — March 8, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

    This looks delicious. Cassie, we have some good Mexican restaurants here in Jeff City, too. Our favorite is El Espolon (by Super Gerbes). But if you’re wanting spinach queso, Santa Cruz on the west end of town has it. They also serve it over portabella mushroom enchiladas which I find delicious!

  55. #
    Randy Jeffers — February 1, 2015 @ 6:44 pm

    It didn’t turn out right. The texture was liquidy, and the cheese just clumped up on me. Kind of rubbery.

  56. #
    Tricia — January 29, 2018 @ 3:03 pm

    Fellow KC girl here and yes, Jose Pepper’s espinaca is hard to beat! Jalapeno’s “Jalapeno Dip” comes pretty close, though. I normally just do Velveeta + Rotel for at-home queso, but I’m going to try your recipe this week. I’m excited!


    • Cassie replied: — February 12th, 2018 @ 10:38 am

      I hope you love it! 5 years later I still miss my favorite KC restaurants!


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