Chili’s Copycat Skillet Queso

This website may contain affiliate links and advertising so that we can provide recipes to you. Read my privacy policy.

This Chili’s Copycat Skillet Queso combines smooth Velveeta cheese that melts magically with flavorful chili and Mexican spices in a skillet to pure queso perfection, hands down one of the best copycat recipes EVER!  A super easy appetizer that will disappear faster than it took to make it.

I love being able to be together with loved ones eating our favorites from the comfort and ease of home. Try these favorites for more delish copycats: Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta, Applebee’s White Chocolate Blondies with Maple Cream Sauce, Cheesecake Factory’s The Best Avocado Egg Rolls, and Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

Copycat queso in a black skillet with chips all around.

Chili’s Copycat Skillet Queso

The perfect blend of cheesy goodness and spices makes this recipe is so versatile, you make it all year long and get creative with it. Besides serving it with the standard tortilla chips you can serve it along side or in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, taquitos or any other dish.  Serve it over rice, home fries or a breakfast hash, for a fantastic Mexican twist.  It’s so easy and addictive you’ll be tempted to make it every week.

Leftovers are easily stored in the fridge for a few day. That’s if you have any leftovers. It’s so simple and quick, you may never need to go out and order it again. The spicy goodness is just that easy and just that good.

Skillet Queso Ingredients:

  • Velveeta Cheese: Velveeta is so smooth when it melts, it’s perfect for dipping.
  • Milk: Don’t use a nut milk here, it’ll make the flavor off
  • paprika: Adds flavor and color.
  • cayenne pepper: Decrease or increase according to your tastes.
  • Hormel Chili No Beans: Beans just don’t belong in Queso.
  • Chili Powder: Try Chipotle Chili powder for a smokey kick.
  • Lime Juice: Balances out the spiciness.
  • Cumin: A staple in Mexican cuisine.

How to Make Skillet Queso:

This can be made for any holiday get-together, family gathering or any celebration. When you want to be the hit of the party this Amazing Chili’s Copycat Skillet Queso will do the job. No one can say no to this descendant cheesy goodness.

  1. Cut: Cut up the velveeta into same size cubes for easy melting.
  2. Combine: Combine the cheese and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Stir: Frequently stir util the cheese melts completely.

The process of making copycat queso.

Velveeta Variation: 

Velveeta is by far the best and recommend it for this recipe but for those who don’t like Velveeta you can make a substitute.

  • 3-4 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream

In a medium sauce pan bring all the ingredients to a boil stirring constantly, then continue to make the recipe as directed.

Skillet Queso Dipping Variations:

Skillet Queso isn’t just for dipping chips. There are so many things you can try, let your imagination run queso wild.

  • Vegetables- use instead of ranch for carrots, cucumbers, celery, sweet peppers, olives, etc.
  • Bread- A crusty french bread torn into pieces or bread sticks.
  • Pita Bread- Cut into triangles for easy dipping.
  • Flavored Corn Chips- Try Doritos for flavor explosion.

Queso in a black skillet with a chip being dipped in it.

More Amazing Queso Recipes To Try:

Love queso as much as I do then try these below:

Chili's Copycat Skillet Queso

4.5 from 6 votes
This Chili's Copycat Skillet Queso combines smooth Velveeta cheese that melts magically with flavorful chili and Mexican spices in a skillet to pure queso perfection, hands down one of the best copycat recipes EVER!  A super easy appetizer that will disappear faster than it took to make it. 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 8 people


  • 16 ounce box Velveeta cheese
  • 1 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 15 ounce can Hormel Chili No Beans
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


  • Cut the velveeta into cubes
  • Combine the cheese with remaining ingredients in medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir Frequently until the cheese melts.
  • Enjoy with tortilla chips!



Updated on August 31, 2020
Originally Posted on November 29, 2012


Serves: 8

Calories150kcal (8%)Carbohydrates9g (3%)Protein12g (24%)Fat7g (11%)Saturated Fat5g (25%)Cholesterol27mg (9%)Sodium929mg (39%)Potassium267mg (8%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar7g (8%)Vitamin A1201IU (24%)Vitamin C1mg (1%)Calcium363mg (36%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword chili queso, queso, skillet queso
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic


Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

Read More Posts by Alyssa

facebook twitter pinterest instagram



Leave a reply
  1. Hi, Thank you so much for following my blog. I am now your new follower!! I can’t wait to try the slow cooker beef recipe, looks yummy.

      1. I used a sause pan to start then I poured it all into our skillet and popped in the oven on a low broil for a couple of minutes.
        I find it easier to use the sauce pan for all the mixing

    1. This is awesome! I’m eating it right now. Turned out just right. Tostito’s recently came out with a chip that is pretty close to the Chili’s chips. It’s Cantina Thin and Crispy or something like that. My husband and I both worked at Chili’s a long time ago. Thanks for this yummy recipe!

  2. I love Chili’s queso!!! I used to be waitress at the Chili’s in Cambridge and then London restaurants. We had to learn every single ingredient for every single dish on the menu. I will defiantly want to try and make it myself at home, thanks for the recipe! I just wanted to say that the Chili’s queso definatly had meat in it and your recipe doesn’t! Is this because your vegetarian or did not think it had meat in it?

  3. If you put any tortilla chips in the microwave for 1 minute on high for a large bowlful, you’ll be amazed at how fragrant, fresh and crisp they taste!

  4. I just made this and my daughter and I are eating it. It’s really good! Not exactly like Chili’s but close enough. It has a little more heat than the Chili’s version but that is fine with me! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Ok so we went to Chili’s last week and I think their queso isnt as good anymore! My hubby said that he actually likes this version better!

    2. Rebecca – knock it down to 3 or even 2 tsp of chili powder and that will clear up the heat issue. I found a bunch of copycat recipes and the most common variation was how much chili powder to use.

  5. Made this today and both hubby and I thought it was a bit too cheesy. Next time I’ll only use 3/4 of the Velveeta brick. Other than that, it was very tasty and very much like the restaurant’s version!

  6. Yummy yummy in our tummies! It’s been a few years since I’ve had the Chili’s original but this is just as I remember it. The recipe is terrific. I cooked it on medium low so the velveeta wouldn’t burn. If you’re in a pinch for time, I’m pretty sure you could do this in the microwave. I’d suggest stirring it frequently.

  7. So happy I found this recipie! I didn’t use the whole block of velvetta probably about 3/4 of it and I added half of another can of chili. It all depends on your taste preferences. It’s easy to adjust as you go so I would add a little of everything and see how you like it!! It reheats so well too had it again the next day slathered on a hot dog!!! Thanks for the recipie!

  8. Just made this. It was ok. It’s not quite exactly like Chili’s. Maybe my taste buds are a little more discerning but the Hormel taste was a bit strong. I wish I knew what Chili’s actually used 🙁

  9. So, at about 3:30 yesterday afternoon, I developed a craving for Chili’s skillet queso. Came out of nowhere. Naturally, I had to look for a recipe. I copied down all the ingredients, but then I got to thinking — I didn’t have any of these spices in my cabinet, so I would have to buy them in order to make the recipe. Spices can be pretty expensive, and it seemed silly to make that kind of investment without trying the recipe first. So I bought a store-brand packet of taco seasoning when I bought my chili and cheese. I mixed in the taco seasoning in the same amounts as listed for the spices above, and then gave it a taste. Phenomenal. I ended up mixing in a little more taco seasoning to taste, and I loved the results. So did my daughter! If you’ve run out of spices and you’re pressed for time, taco seasoning makes a great substitute!

  10. Im in heaven! love Chilis queso and this is spot on and even better! Can barely write this comment because I cant stop eating!

  11. Made this last night for Game 7 of the World Series – my kids practically licked the pan! Awesome recipe! Next time I would reduce the milk and increase the chili because we like it a little thicker. The flavor was right on! Thank you!

  12. This recipe doesn’t taste anything like Chili’s recipe. I just ate there a few days ago and really wanted more, so I used this recipe to make my own. Such a disappointment and now I have a bunch leftover. I’d suggest to definitely cut back on the cheese, too.

    1. Sorry it didn’t work out as well for you. My hubby prefers this recipe over chilis because he thinks that it is better. 🙂

  13. Hi. My wife and I came over to America in November to visit family. They took us to Chili’s, and we had the Queso. It’s amazing! I want to make your recipe for it, but I don’t think we can get the cheese that they use here in the UK. I will have to look for an alternative. Can’t wait to try it out.

  14. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing troubles with your RSS.
    I don’t know the reason why I can’t subscribe to
    it. Is there anyone else getting identical RSS issues?
    Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  15. Thank you for the recipe. I followed the recipe exact and found it to be way too spicy compared to Chili’s. Next time I would leave out the cayenne and put less chili powder in. Although it was spicier than Chili’s, our kids age 7 & 10 ate it with a glass of milk on the side.

  16. just made this today and let me tell you it is fantastic! Only difference with my version is my skillet was used in a smoker to make baked beans with and added just a hint of smoke flavor and ohhh my…. much much better than chilis. add this as the secret ingredient???

  17. 3 stars
    I have made Chili’s queso several times using the ingredients in this recipe. What I did find out…… was too hot. Too much heat. So, after some experimenting, I cut the cayenne pepper to 1/16 of a teaspoon, and cut out one teaspoon of chili powder. The wife says it tastes just like what Chili’s makes.

  18. 5 stars
    This is a great crockpot recipe for a crowd when doubled…..the spices can be controlled by using canned refried beans instead of chili…..or you can ratchet up the spices by adding pickled or fresh jalapenos.

  19. Thank you! I am not chef, but was able to pull this one off, and I agree with others, who speak to the flexibility with this dish.

  20. 5 stars
    I cannot thank you enough for this recipe. I have been having such wild pregnancy cravings for this skillet queso dip but my hubby and I aren’t eating out because of the pandemic, plus there isn’t a Chili’s near enough to even justify getting the food to go. The cravings, however, would not listen to reason. I found this recipe and life was good until I discovered that Velveeta is just about impossible to come by right now. It took almost a month of trying and many false leads, but I just satisfied that craving… at least for a few hours. It was sheer paradise. I think it might even be better than what we would have had in the restaurant because our chips were sturdier and didn’t break in the dip! Thank you so much. You have made this pregnant woman very happy!

  21. 5 stars
    I’ve made this as is and brought it to a party – everyone called it crack dip! I just made it again but wanted to be a bit healthier so used 2% velveeta, TURKEY chili (no beans) and oat milk. Absolutely fantastic! Might not be the same dupe as the original recipe but it also saves several hundred calories and fat! Either way, delicious!

  22. 4 stars
    I’ve made this 3 times now and it’s been a winner for my summer pool gatherings. I cut back on the valveeta because it was too valveeta-y for my taste. I now make it with 12 oz instead of the full 16 and it’s right on the money! I have also omitted the cayenne for my more sensitive guests lol but was still really good!!! Thank you for this awesome addition to my appetizer repertoire!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating