This mouthwatering, healthy queso dip recipe is so dang good! The best part? It's also low calorie, low carb, keto friendly and even gluten free. Eat it with crunchy tortilla chips or drizzle on nachos, tacos, taco salad, enchiladas, burritos, burrito bowls and more. It's also fabulous as a cheese dip for vegetables like carrots, bell pepper slices, cauliflower, broccoli and more.
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Super Bowl Sunday is almost here! I love making this creamy cheese sauce, along with a few other dips, as an easy appetizer for game day.
Zesty Baja Sauce, simple 4 Ingredient Guacamole and roasted Poblano Sauce are all great options. They pair nicely with chips and veggies, but are also tasty with wings!
And, if you plan to serve chicken wings, be sure to make some Hot Honey.
Looking for a sweeter option to serve with fruit? Try my Greek Yogurt Peanut Butter Dip. It's sooo tasty and also very good with graham crackers.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Unsalted Butter: salted will work in a pinch, but consider reducing added salt.
- Gluten free flour: I use Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour. You can use regular flour if you don't need this recipe to be gluten free.
- Nonfat milk: using nonfat milk in this recipe helps to cut back on calories, but higher fat dairy milk will work. I have tried this recipe with almond milk and the texture came out great, but I personally did not prefer the taste.
- Half and half: just a bit for flavor!
- Spices: salt, smoked paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. Regular paprika will also work but I LOVE the smoky flavor.
- Shredded cheddar cheese: extra sharp, high quality options will taste the best. I absolutely recommend shredding fresh cheese off the block.
- Light sour cream: just a touch adds great flavor and creaminess.
How To Make Lightened-Up Queso Dip
Keep scrolling for the full recipe card and measurements. We’ll start here with a quick overview!
Make sauce mixture:
- Whisk milk, cream and spices together in a bowl. Set aside.
Make a roux:
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium to medium-low heat.
- Once the butter is fully melted and begins to bubble a little bit, whisk in the flour.
- Whisk continuously until a bubbly, white paste forms. This will only take 30-60 seconds.
Add sauce mixture:
- Whisk milk, cream and spice mixture into the roux slowly.
- Continue whisking until the sauce thickens. Keep the heat at medium to medium-low. If this mixture gets hot too quickly it can ruin the texture of your queso.
Add cheese and sour cream:
- Remove skillet from heat.
- Stir in cheddar cheese and sour cream until smooth and fully melted.
- Taste test and add a bit more salt, or paprika if desired. You can also add other seasonings if you want.
- Transfer queso to a bowl and serve with some diced tomato, red onion, jalapenos and cilantro on top, if desired. This is totally optional but very tasty.
- Serve warm with chips and veggies or drizzle on tacos, nachos, etc. Enjoy!
Watch the heat: heating your sauce too quickly or adding shredded cheese to the mixture while it's still bubbling can create a grainy texture. Avoid the temptation to raise your stovetop temperature to speed up the process, a little patience will pay off! And, be sure to remove your skillet form the heat source before adding cheese.
Thicken: you can add an additional sprinkle of flour for a thicker queso, but be careful. It won't take much!
Keep it warm: If you're serving this queso at a party, keep it warm by transferring to a little slow cooker or crockpot. Just plug it in and keep the lid on!
Add a kick: if you like spicy food, feel free to add a pinch of cayenne pepper to your queso for a little heat.
Too thick? When cheese sauce cools, it can get really thick. Thin it back out by reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave. It's okay to add a tiny splash of milk, if necessary.
What To Serve With Low Carb Queso
This creamy dip is perfect for the football game, at a tailgate, cinco de mayo party or on any given taco Tuesday! It goes great with so many things. Here are some ideas to get your inspired:
- Burritos or a burrito bowl
- Shredded Chicken Taco Salad Bowls
- Irish Potato Nachos
- Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower
- Simple Oven Roasted Asparagus
- Cubed Air Fryer Sweet Potatoes
- Other roasted veggies of all kinds!
- Raw veggies (as a vegetable platter dip).
How To Store Leftovers
Allow leftover queso to cool and place it in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Sauce will be quite thick after fully cooled, it will thin out again once you reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you heat your sauce too quickly, or add cheese while it's still simmering, you may end up with a grainy texture. Low to medium heat is best when making this sauce, resist the urge to speed things up at a higher heat setting and be sure to remove skillet from heat before stirring in shredded cheese.
This queso is healthier than traditional recipes. It's made with less processed ingredients, real cheese and no Velveeta. Plus, using nonfat milk and limited amounts of cheese helps to cut down on calories. It's a healthy version of a classic, but still super flavorful and delicious!
Queso is a great option when following a keto diet as it's very low carb!
Veggies (raw or roasted). Cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, and so much more!
Queso is typically made with a roux of butter and flour, milk, spices and cheese!
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Healthy Queso Dip (Low Carb, Keto, Gluten Free)
- Mixing Bowl
- Large skillet
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter *see note below
- 2 tablespoons gluten free flour *see note below
- 1 & ½ cups nonfat milk *see note below
- ½ cup half and half *see note below
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅔ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese *or extra sharp *white or yellow
- 2 tablespoons light sour cream *see note below
Optional toppings for serving:
- Diced tomato, red onion, diced jalapeno peppers, chopped fresh cilantro
Recipe notes:Unsalted butter: salted will work in a pinch. Consider reducing added salt if you go this route. Gluten free flour: regular, all-purpose flour will work just fine if you don't need to make this recipe gluten free. Dairy: you can use higher fat content dairy in place of nonfat milk, half and half or sour cream. I use light options to reduce calories! I have tried this recipe with almond milk and the texture was good, though I did not really prefer the taste. General: if you're serving this recipe at a party and you'd like to keep it warm, transfer it to a small crockpot!
- Make your sauce mixture: whisk milk, half & half and spices together in a bowl. Set aside.1 & ½ cups nonfat milk, ½ cup half and half, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Melt unsalted butter in a skillet over medium to medium-low heat.2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Once butter is fully melted and begins to bubble a little bit, mix in the flour. Whisk continuously until a bubbly, white paste forms. This will only take 30-60 seconds.2 tablespoons gluten free flour
- Slowly whisk sauce mixture into the roux. Keep the heat at medium to medium-low. High heat can make your sauce grainy! Continue whisking until the sauce thickens.
- Remove skillet from heat. Stir in shredded cheese and sour cream and mix until the cheese is fully melted. *Note: do not stir cheese into a simmering sauce mixture as this could cause graininess. Be sure to remove the skillet from heat first.⅔ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons light sour cream
- Do a taste test and add another pinch of salt or paprika, if desired.
- Transfer queso to a serving bowl, add toppings if desired and enjoy!Diced tomato, red onion, diced jalapeno peppers, chopped fresh cilantro
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