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Kimchi Queso

Vegetarian

Need a little more adventure in your life!?! Give this kimchi queso a try! It’s quick and simple to prepare, the perfect combination of flavors and textures, and both vegetarian and gluten-free.

Bowl of kimchi dip with a spoon and chips.

Jessica Halverstadt is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

What’s to love about this recipe?

  • It’s simple! Homemade queso dip is extremely easy to prepare so skip the store bought stuff with all the added preservatives and make it yourself. There is very little prep involved and the cook time is under ten minutes. I call that WINNING!!
  • The combination of flavors! This ain’t your standard queso. It’s so much more. The addition of the kimchi adds a pop of flavor to this creamy dip and the most magneficient bit of crunch. The heavenly combination of textures and flavors that will leave your longing for more.
  • It’s dietary restriction friendly! One might think that all queso dips are gluten-free but that is not the case. Often times flour is used as a thickening agent. For this kimchi dip, I chose to skip the flour for two reasons. Firstly, to avoid the grainy textural issues that flour can cause and secondly, to keep it gluten-free. Additionally, it is vegetarian.
Bowl of kimchi queso surrounded by chips.

Ingredients + notes & substitutions

Ingredients for kimchi dip (see recipe card).
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter for this recipe. Since it does not call for much, however, you may use salted butter – the saltiness will not overwhelm.
  • White onion: This armoatic is a must for flavor and texture.
  • Jalapeno: For more heat, leave the seeds and membranes in tact. For even more heat, sub for a serrano.
  • Ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Kimchi: There are many varieties of kimchi that you are welsome to experiment with. I typically use a standard mild or hot kimchi. In the grocery store, it is typically refrigerated within the produce section.
  • Garlic: Another necessary aromatic.
  • Milk: The recipe calls for 1 1/4 cup, however, you may find the you need or want to thin it out a bit – in that case you may need to add a bit more milk.
  • Cream cheese: The cream cheese makes this gluten free queso nice and creamy and acts as a thickener so you can skip the flour. Allowing it to soften to room temperature prior to use is recommended so that it will melt easier and incorporate without clumps.
  • Cheese: A milder white cheese like pepper Jack or Monterey Jack allow the flavor of the kimchi and other ingredients to shine through. I recommend purchasing block cheese and finely shredding it yourself to avoid the additives as they have a tendency to alter the texture and prevent it from melting properly.
  • Roma tomato: For a little freshness.
  • Cilantro: The perfect finishing touch to this queso, cilantro adds fresh citrusy notes.

How do you make kimchi queso? (+ tips)

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the onion, jalapeno, black pepper, and salt and sauté for three minutes. Add the kimchi and garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
Sauteed kimchi, onion, garlic, and jalapeno.

2. Add the milk and cream cheese and stir frequently until the cream cheese is fully melted and incorporated.

Kimchi dip prior to shredded cheese.

3. One handful at a time, add the cheese and stir until melted. If at any point it begins to boil, reduce the heat by one quarter.

Gluten-free queso in saucepan.

4. Remove from heat, stir in the tomatoes and cilantro, and serve warm with chips or veggies. ***If the queso is too thick add milk 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.

How to store

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Freezing is not recommended.

Close-up of homemade queso dip garnished with tomato and cilantro.
Close-up of chip with gluten-free queso.

More dip recipes you may like:

  • Hatch Chile Queso Bean Dip: Ultra-creamy bean dip + hatch chile queso, this hatch chile queso bean dip is perfect for a crowd, takes only 20 minutes, and is a great way to take advantage of hatch chile season. Naturally gluten-free and vegetarian.
  • Jalapeno Arthichoke Dip: Extremely simple and exceptionally tasty, this creamy jalapeno artichoke dip takes less than ten minutes to prepare and can be served with chips, crackers, or veggies. Naturally gluten-free.
  • Goat Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip w/ Leeks: This easy one-skillet goat cheese spinach artichoke dip with leeks is made with fresh ingredients, four kinds of cheese including cream cheese, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella, and takes only 20-minutes. Naturally gluten-free.

More recipes featuring kimchi:

  • Spicy Kimchi Queso: A fresh twist on a classic, this quick and easy spicy kimchi reuben is layered with corned beef, a spicy mayo kimchi mixture, and pepper Jack cheese.
  • Miso Egg Drop Soup w/ Kimchi: Umami rich, this miso egg drop soup with kimchi is brimming with flavor and is incredibly simple to prepare in less than 15 minutes. Naturally gluten-free w/ vegetarian option.

If you make this kimchi queso I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light, and happy cooking ya’ll ♥

Close-up of chip with gluten-free queso.

Kimchi Queso

Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Need a little more adventure in your life!?! Give this kimchi queso a try! It's quick and simple to prepare, the perfect combination of flavors and textures, and both vegetarian and gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano, minced (optional) - remove seeds and membranes for less heat
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups kimchi, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 8-ounces cubed cream cheese, softened to room temp
  • 2 cups (8-ounces) finely shredded pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 large Roma tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the onion, jalapeno, black pepper, and salt and sauté for three minutes. Add the kimchi and garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
  2. Add the milk and cream cheese and stir frequently until the cream cheese is fully melted and incorporated.
  3. One handful at a time, add the cheese and stir until melted. If at any point it begins to boil, reduce the heat by one quarter.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in the tomatoes and cilantro, and serve warm with chips or veggies.

Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Freezing is not recommended.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 185Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 379mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 5g

The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc

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