Queso Fundido

A traditional Mexican dish, queso fundido is an irresistible appetizer perfectly suited to the multitude of wonderful cheeses produced in Northern California. But be warned: This dish is so good that you might want to encourage your guests not to overindulge so they’ll still have room for the rest of the meal.

Queso Fundido Appetizer Queso Fundido, with Chorizo Meatballs

Sometimes I use a single cheese, most often Sonoma Jack or something similar, as it melts beautifully. I occasionally use all St. George (from Joe Matos,) as well. If I have feta in the refrigerator and no queso cotija, I’ll use it in its place.

  • Serves 6 to 8
  • Cook Time: 20 Min


  • 1 pound Sonoma Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 pound St. George cheese (or medium cheddar), grated
  • 1/2 pound queso cotija, crumbled
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 serranos, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 2 poblano chiles, roasted, seeded, and cut into strips
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and cut into thin rounds
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro or 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 dozen small corn tortillas, hot


  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together the cheeses, garlic, serranos, and chipotle powder. Place in an ovenproof earthenware dish and bake until the cheese is completely melted and bubbly, about 15 minutes.

  2. Add the poblano strips and bake 5 minutes more.

  3. Sprinkle cilantro leaves or scallions over the top and serve immediately, with hot tortillas alongside. Each guest takes two tortillas (one on top of the other), smears a generous portion of the queso on top, and rolls it up.

Spring Variation: Grill 2 or 3 spring onions until they are tender, slice them, and scatter them over the top of the cheese in place of the poblanos. Peel and dice 1 Haas avocado, toss with the juice of a lime, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and the minced cilantro, and spoon it over the cheese just before serving.

Summer & Fall Variation: Peel, seed, and dice 2 tomatoes, and toss with 1 diced Haas avocado, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and the juice of 1 lime. Spoon over the top of the cheese before adding the cilantro.

Winter Variation: Cook 1 pound of Mexican-style chorizo remove from its casing, drain off the fat, toss with 1 cup minced cucumber and 1 minced serrano, and spoon over the cheese before adding the cilantro.

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