Food preservation

Can You Can Queso Dip? Here’s What the Experts Say

Queso dip takes nacho cheese dip to the next level of deliciousness, so it is natural to want to keep a supply of this canned goodness in your pantry. Unfortunately, dairy products are not good candidates for home canning. Plenty of rebel canners disagree, and canning queso dip is a controversial topic amongst home canners.

While canning queso dip is quick and easy, the USDA does not recommend it. Canning any food containing dairy carries the risk of botulism and should be done at your own risk. Canned queso dip must be pressure canned. Other storage options for queso include refrigeration or freezing.

To can, or not to can queso dip? We will answer this pressing question, as well as provide alternative storage options so you never have to be without a fresh supply of this decadent cheesy sauce.

Can You Can Queso Dip?

Just because you can can something doesn’t mean you should. You may love to keep a few jars of delicious homemade queso dip in your pantry, but given the uncertainty surrounding the practice of canning cheese, it may not be the best way to store it.

One of the most confusing elements is that store-bought queso dip comes in cans and jars, which feeds the notion that homemade recipes can also be safely canned. The difference between homemade queso dip and store-bought is that the latter usually contains loads of preservatives and stabilizers, which gives the product a head start in how long it can be stored.

Homemade queso dip is made from scratch, so the dairy and vegetables in the mixture are far more prone to spoilage. No government agencies or university extension sites endorse home canning of any dairy products.

With that in mind, many so-called ‘rebel canners’ regularly can queso dip and nacho cheese sauce. One common practice is buying queso dip in bulk and re-can the delicious mixture into smaller jars.

Whether you are comfortable enough to can queso dip or not, everyone agrees that the jars must be pressure canned. Like all low-acid foods, dairy requires the extra heat and pressure of the pressure canning process. This may not render them as safe as the USDA requirements, but it will make the contents safer than water bath canning.

Queso dip

How To Make Queso Dip

Fortunately, queso dip is easy to make, and in less than fifteen minutes, including prep time, you can have a fresh pot of delicious queso dip ready to serve with tortilla chips. The rich tex-mex infusion of cheese with chilies is always a winner as a dip or sauce.

Here’s what you will need to make eight servings of white queso dip:

  • 1 pound of white American cheese
  • ½ a cup of milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tsp cumin
  • 2 Cans of chilies. (If you are using fresh chilies, it is 8 ounces)
  • 2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tsp onion powder
  • Cayenne pepper to taste


  1. Cube the cheese and place it in a saucepan on low heat.
  2. Add the milk and butter. Stir until the cheese is creamy.
  3. Add the other ingredients, and then stir to combine. If the consistency of the queso dip is too thick, add more milk as required.
  4. Heat while stirring for 2 minutes.
  5. Serve while warm.

What To Add To Canned Queso

Canned queso dip from a store may feel a little bland if you are usually creative in the kitchen. Even though it is not recommended to can or re-can cheese products at home, buying large cans of commercially canned queso dip in bulk is a practical idea as it can be frozen in smaller serving sizes to use later.

Consider the frozen servings as the ready-made base for your own personalized queso dip recipes. All you must do is thaw out the portion you want to use beforehand and slowly reheat the dip while stirring.

By adding a few extra ingredients, the basic well-loved queso dip recipe can easily be livened up to be a main event at any meal or picnic. Try adding a few of the following ingredients to store-bought or homemade queso dip to give it a different look and feel:

  • Add peppers like jalapenos or additional chilies.
  • Add a can of chickpeas to create a mouthwatering cheesy meal.
  • Create a cheesy vegetable dish by adding cooked veggies.
  • Add a few dashes of Louisiana hot sauce and serve slathered over cooked chicken pieces.

How Do You Preserve Queso Dip?

If you have made too much queso dip, the leftover portion can be sealed in an airtight container and refrigerated. It is not safe to use queso dip that has been refrigerated for longer than four days.

The safest way to preserve queso dip is to transfer portions into airtight containers and freeze them. Whether you have leftover commercially purchased queso dip or made it yourself, freezing it can keep it fresh and safe to eat for up to six months.

Unlike many other products, cheesy sauces like queso dip are not damaged by freezer burn. To use the frozen queso dip, thaw it out, heat it slowly, and beat it to ensure the emulsion has combined.

Is It Safe To Can Cheese Sauce?

According to Clemson Cooperative Extension, it is absolutely not safe to can any cheese products. Milk and cheese can potentially be infected with botulism-causing bacteria.

During normal storage of hard cheeses, there is insufficient moisture to support the growth of this lethal bacteria. While processing creamy cheese products, like queso dip, moisture in the form of water or milk is added, followed by heat treatment which can cause the botulism bacteria to proliferate.


Canning queso dip, or any dairy products, at home is not recommended. Store-bought varieties contain preservatives and stabilizers and are canned using intensive processes to render them shelf stable.

Queso dip is easy and quick to make from scratch. Leftover cheesy dip can be stored in the fridge for up to four days. Store-bought and homemade queso dip can be safely frozen, defrosted, and served confidently.

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