Queso! – Lisa Fain

4 stars

I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I love Mexican food, and one of my favorite dishes has always been chile con queso. I had always wondered at the authenticity of the dish, however. How “Mexican” is it really? Is it TexMex instead? Lisa Fain sets out to answer that question (and provide many delicious recipes) in Queso!

Questions of authenticity aside, chile con queso – queso for short – is delicious. Chiles, cheese, and spices melted together into a delicious blend perfect for dipping chips in or drizzling over the top of a taco. Yum. So, when I saw this book pop up on NetGalley I knew I had to request it!


Source: Goodreads


Lisa Fain doesn’t disappoint. Queso! includes 55 recipes, most of which are variations of chile con queso. Certainly more variations than I can think up on my own!

Some of the recipes are included not to be made, but for historical context. Fain includes some of the earliest printed versions of queso or cheese dips she could find. You could certainly make any of these recipes, but I feel like they’re mostly illustrative.

I particularly loved the section on regional queso variations, where Fain shared recipes from along the US’s southern border. There was such variety from place to place! One of my favorites is the Van Horn Chile con Queso, which features one of my favorite ingredients of all time – sour cream. (I frequently go out of my way to choose meals for dinner just so I can have sour cream.) This is the recipe I opted to try out and while it didn’t last long enough for me to photograph, I can tell you it was delicious and a hit with my queso-loving husband.

I did also appreciate the vegan queso recipe Fain included in her Quirky Quesos section. As she points out, it seems kind of like an oxymoron to make a queso-free queso (since queso literally means cheese) but I know many vegans who miss dairy products, including queso. She also includes Greek and Indian inspired versions, as well as renditions that include sausage and mustard.

Overall, Queso! is a fun, single-subject cookbook that offers wonderful variations on a favorite dip. For many people, “football” season has just begun, and Fain’s queso varieties would be a welcome change-up of an old-standby game-day snack.