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Feb 19, 2009 09:04 AM

White "cheese dip" in Chicago?

I've posted before about how, for good or for ill, Chicago doesn't have the Mexican food that I grew up with in the South. A whole gang of us ex-Southerners are living in the city and constantly searching for one thing: the white "cheese dip" that is a staple at every Mexican restaurant south of Kentucky. I've tried asking for "queso blanco" and it just isn't the same.

When I was home a few weeks ago, I snapped a photo of what I'm looking for. Any ideas where I can get this in the city?

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    1. As an aside to your question of "where" I can share that most of the Mexican-American places downstate anyway simply use Land o'Lakes WHITE American processed "cheese". Cube it, combine with whole milk to your preferred consistency, and blend in as many chopped jalapenos as you'd like to taste.

      I've never understood why it always is made specifically with Land O' Lakes, but that's all I see here.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Deacon Volker

        Yep. I have a kid addicted to the stuff. Land O' Lakes white american processed (I believe it is sold under the variety name 'Extra Melt'), milk, a bit of cumin, and some peppers if you'd like. I tried every cheese variety known to man (including Chihuahua), and this is made of the processed stuff. And it IS good, if you can get past your initial 'Egad' processed cheese moment...use quite a lot of milk, you want it pretty thin for something that matches the restaurant version.

      2. Wow.....I'm a recent transplant to the South (TN) from Chicago and can't believe you're on a quest for that stuff. It's not very good but if it's your definition of comfort food, good luck. I don't believe you'll find it any where in the "north".

        Have you tried looking in the dairy section of WalMart? That's one place I always see it down here. There are many brands available. I can report back on my next trip to WalMart, if you'd like. Some are "just add milk" concentrates (for lack of a better word) and others are "heat and eat" tubs.

        I can't vouch for any of them. Blech!

        1. I am from Arkansas and am at this very moment attempting to find any place in the city with this cheese dip. You people saying it's "Land o Lakes white American" have obviously never had what I we are talking about. I see the picture, I know what you mean. I haven't encountered anything of the sort at any Mexican restaurant in the city and I do not understand. It has been ubiquitously associated with Mexican food to me for years. I don't know what to do :( No, I haven't and I'm sure this person hasn't tried the aisles of Walmart. That's not what we want. Are you kidding???

          8 Replies
          1. re: Jakewhitlatch

            According to this blog, yes, it is Land O'Lakes White American cheese:

            1. re: kathryn

              That's representative of the recipe of one restaurant. I know the dip I'm looking for is made with Chihuahua cheese....

              1. re: Jakewhitlatch

                And this cheese is white when served [like the OP states]?

                1. re: hawkeyeui93

                  Chihuahua cheese is indeed white. So, yes...

                  1. re: Jakewhitlatch

                    Jake, also have had this cheese dip in Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, and it is indeed made from white American cheese at every single one of these places. I love it too, but chihuahua cheese it is not - it simply won't melt into the velvety cheese dip that you're speaking of.

                    I've not found anywhere that serves it in Chicago.

                    1. re: jhojati

                      I'm not here to argue about semantics with random Internet strangers but only to promulgate the fact that what I am looking for is not any heavily processed, white, American cheese. Where was I (or anyone for that matter) "speaking of" velvety cheese dip? It isn't chihuahua cheese alone that is used, but the taste is distinctively that of a chihuahua cheese. I have also asked at the many restaurants and been informed that it is made with chihuahua cheese among other ingredients. Typically there are no peppers of any sort blended into the mixture. Though, I have been to a few places that add them. I'm sure I intended my comment to come with a moderate level of snark.

                    2. re: Jakewhitlatch

                      In my extensive experience with it queso menonita aka queso chihuahua, it is light yellow:

              2. re: Jakewhitlatch

                I'm sure you did not intend your comment to come across as snarky as it did...I assure you as was previously stated, white american cheese blocks blended with milk, and pickled jalapeno slices are what is served in any of the Mexican restaurants I've been in. I agree with the poster who replied that the typical Chihuahua cheese will not melt out as smoothly and remain in a "liquid" state as this dip does.

                We tested several cheeses, and relied on multiple contacts in the restaurant industry to finally determine that you're simply enjoying White American "cheese" dip.

              3. This just shows the wide regional variations of Mexican Food in the United States [adapting to the tastes of their clientele]. It was most likely "invented" due to their clientele finding melted queso fresco or queso blanco not to their liking. By the way, this is not commonly served in North and West Texas [in my thirteen years of living there] despite it being South of Kentucky. If you wanted white cheese sauce for your chips, you ordered queso and got melted queso blanco/fresco. Another strange one is that in pockets of West Texas, a thinner version of what I could only describe as a ranch dip would be brought out alongside fresh chips and fresh salsa. Fortunately, the Mexican fare I have consumed in North Chicago has been largely very good [even if white cheese dip is off the menu].