Queso Dip With Ground Beef (No Velveeta Needed!)

This super cheesy Queso Dip with Ground Beef is so good! Spicy and savory, it’s a clean-eating dip that can be served with a Mexican dish or alongside your favorite snack!

Overhead view of Queso Dip With Ground Beef in a cast iron skillet, topped with cilantro and diced tomatoes.

We are definitely a queso-loving family.  If queso is on the menu at a restaurant, chances are we will try it. And, if it’s good, chances are pretty darn good we’ll be back again for more.

Because it is one of our fave snacks, I wanted to make a queso dip with ground beef and without Velveeta at home as well.

I know Velveeta is magical and all to many people, but I wanted to be able to totally control what was going into the dip.  So, in order to get a creamy consistency, you have to add a little arrowroot starch and cheese – it’s actually quite simple.  And, to be completely honest, Velveeta kinda scares me a little.  I mean, what IS it, really?  🙂

I also like this queso dip a lot because it combines the best parts of a chile queso with the best of a chile con carne queso (read: I like my chiles AND my ground beef, thanks).  I also like cheese.


If you’re looking for an appetizer to serve for the game or to snack on with the family in front of a movie, I think you’ll really enjoy this.  It takes about 25 minutes to make and stays a great consistency for quite a while – if it lasts that long.

I cook and serve mine in a cast-iron skillet to keep it hotter longer, too. To note, my family likes the spiciness a little lighter than some will. So, if you want your Queso Dip with Ground Beef to be spicier with a kick, double the serrano, jalapeno, and cayenne listed in my recipe.

Your gonna love this dip – I guarantee it. So, sit back, take a family break and enjoy this flavorful snack!

Overhead view of ground beef in a cast iron skillet, cooked and ready to add to Queso Dip With Ground Beef.


This absolutely scrumptious dip can be put together and enjoyed in just 25 minutes. It’s easy and goes with a ton of things. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Cook lean ground beef in a skillet
  2. Remove the beef, keeping the drippings in the skillet
  3. Cook the onions and chilies in the drippings, and then add the spices
  4. Add the onion and chile mixture to a blender along with the milk, cilantro, and diced tomatoes; then puree
  5. Return to the skillet, sprinkle with arrowroot starch, and cook 4-5 minutes until thickened
  6. Add the cheeses, stirring to melt
  7. Add the Greek yogurt, add back the ground beef, heat, and enjoy

Side view of chiles and onions in a skillet, diced and ready to cook for Queso Dip with Ground Beef.


Velveeta is made of milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, preservatives, milk, and fat. There are other ingredients like lactic acid, sodium phosphate, and other additives.

It’s a “prepared cheese product,” and I’m just not big about including that in my healthy dip. That’s why I love this queso dip recipe. It’s clean eating and contains wholesome goodness like plain Greek yogurt and yummy cheese. To thicken it and make it creamy, use arrowroot starch.

Ingredients for Queso Dip With Ground Beef, ready to blend and including tomatoes, chiles, and onions.


This flavorful dip can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days. To reheat:

  • In the microwave, heat for 30-second increments, stirring in between
  • Warm on the stove in a heavy saucepan, stirring frequently
  • Reheat in the oven at 350F, checking often

I reheat mine in a cast-iron skillet, which also holds the heat as you enjoy the dip.

Side by side views of ingredients for Queso Dip With Ground Beef, ready to blend and then, blended.


To make the queso dip vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free, several substitutions can be made. 

  • The ground beef can be eliminated to make a vegetarian dish, and you can either omit entirely or add in mushrooms or tempeh

To make the dish vegan, follow these tips:

  • Grated potato can add creaminess to the dip
  • Raw cashews, when blended, can also add creaminess (soak them in advance if your blender does not blend them very finely)
  • Nutritional yeast can add a cheesy flavor

For those who need a gluten-free recipe, remember that cheese and Greek yogurt are typically gluten-free. However, you may want to check the labels to be sure. This goes for the spices that go into the recipe.

Closeup overhead view of Queso Dip With Ground Beef, garnished with cilantro and diced tomato.


This savory and spicy dip goes with everything! That’s a wonderful thing, because it means you can enjoy it even more often 🙂

Closeup side view of a hand holding a nacho and dipping into Queso Dip With Ground Beef.Close up side view of Queso Dip With Ground Beef with cilantro and tomato in a skillet, cooked and ready to eat.


You can’t beat dip, am I right? I take every opportunity I can to sample a bowl of yumminess for dunking as an accompaniment to veggies, my favorite dishes, and more.

4.5 from 4 votes
Queso Dip With Ground Beef Square Recipe Preview Image
Queso Dip With Ground Beef
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins

This super cheesy Queso Dip with Ground Beef is so good any time - not just on game day! Spicy and savory, it’s a clean-eating dip that can be served with a Mexican dish or alongside just about anything!

Categories: Appetizer, Clean Eating, gluten free, Paleo
Difficulty: Easy
Keyword: chili con queso with ground beef, chili con queso with meat, queso dip with ground beef
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 193 kcal
Author: Lacey Baier of A Sweet Pea Chef
  • 1 lb 90/10 lean ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 serrano pepper seeds and stem removed, finely diced*
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper seeds and stem removed, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes 15‐ounce, approx. 1 cup, drained
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese grated
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese grated
  • 2 tbsp full fat Greek yogurt
  • optional: sweet potato or corn tortilla chips for serving
  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper and cook until well-browned, approx. 6-8 minutes. Once browned, remove meat from pan and set aside, reserving the pan drippings. If not enough drippings, add olive oil, as needed.

  2. Add the diced onion and chiles to the drippings. You may need to add a tsp, or so olive oil at this time. Add the seasonings (paprika, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, and chili powder) and stir to combine. Cook until tender, approximately 6-8 minutes.
  3. Add the onion-chile mixture to a blender, along with the whole milk, cilantro, and diced tomatoes. Puree the contents until completely smooth. Once fully pureed, return the blended mixture to the pan and continue to heat over medium-high heat.
  4. Sprinkle the arrowroot starch over the blended mixture and stir to combine. Cook 4-5 minutes, until mixture thickens.

  5. Add cheeses and stir to combine.
  6. Once all the cheese is melted, add the Greek yogurt and stir to combine. Return the meat back to the pan and heat through.

  7. Serve immediately, with baked pita chips or corn tortilla chips if preferred.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

This queso, as written, has a mild level of heat - to kick up the spice, I'd recommend doubling the serrano and jalapeno and cayenne pepper (if you like it spicy). My kids and husband don't like it as spicy which is how I created the recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Queso Dip With Ground Beef
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 193 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Cholesterol 95mg32%
Sodium 264mg11%
Potassium 336mg10%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 27g54%
Vitamin A 721IU14%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 469mg47%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use often and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey there! I’m Lacey Baier and I’d like to welcome you! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, as well as cleanish, my clean-eating supplement brand. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

18 thoughts on “Queso Dip With Ground Beef (No Velveeta Needed!)

  1. 5 stars
    I personally like a little more heat myself! I added 1 more fresh jalapeño. Since I used canned Serrano peppers I used 3. I was out of paprika so I decided to go with a half a can of chipotles in adobo. I also substituted basil for cilantro since I’m not a huge soap flavor fan. The basil freshened up the queso, especially since I’m serving poolside in the summer. This was a great base recipe. Next time I will double the spices to make the flavor a little more bold!

  2. This really needed more spice. I may try it again and double all the spices. I may add red peppers too. It’s got a good base recipe, but if you like Mexican flavor and spice (beyond what I wouldn’t even call mild), you need to amp it up. My husband also likes the chunks of veggies. 2 stars, but has potential.

    1. Hi Meri – I’ve added a note in the recipe given a few people have wanted this recipe spicier than written. My husband and kiddos don’t like heat as much as I do and this recipe is perfect for them. Please follow the directions in the Notes if you’d like it spicier in the future 🙂

  3. I made this last night and I really wanted to love it but I also found it lacking in flavor and would’ve liked more kick. I think I will try it again with some variations. I think I may skip the blender step also, I think I prefer the chunks.

    1. Bummer – yea, this is not made with a spicy kick so if that’s what you’re looking for, you can add more jalapeno or possibly cayenne pepper to give it more heat.

  4. We tried this recipe and found it lacking in flavor, which is a shame because it really does look and sounded like it should be great. I am not sure what it needed more of but there should definitely be a “spicy” or “kick it up a notch” variation on it included. I don’t know if the cheese types weren’t our style or we like thinner queso. We’ll have to experiment.

    1. Aww, man – I’m sorry to hear that, JC. Did you follow the recipe exactly as written? I’m wondering if the chiles you used weren’t spicy enough?

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing and was a super bowl hit. Making a double batch for the 4th! Thank you!

    Not sure why you got a 3-star when the reviewer hadn’t even made it – this is a hit dish!

  6. 3 stars
    Going to test this recipe out to see if it will make for a good campside meal. What could subsitute for the sour cream? I’m ok with dairy but I never buy or cook with it. Yogurt doesn’t sound good in this recipe but I’m wondering what would. Thank you, sounds delish and you’re so right about Velveeta, what really is that stuff?!

    1. Hi Christina, I’m glad you agree and I love the idea of some skillet queso over a campfire! In order to help answer, it;d be great to know if there’s a specific dietary reason you’re wanting to avoid the sour cream/dairy. Thanks!

    1. Good question. I’ve never cooked with soy crumbles, but if they hold up like ground beef, then it should be fine. You may need to add a little extra oil when cooking the vegetables, though. Good luck! 🙂

    1. EEK! Thanks for pointing this out, Sarah. Sorry for the mistake – I went ahead and updated the recipe. You add the meat back in once you have stirred in the sour cream and everything else is pretty much ready to go. 🙂

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