How many calories in a serving of queso dip?

Queso dip, also known as cheese dip, is a popular appetizer and party snack. It’s a smooth, creamy dip made with cheese, spices, and other ingredients that can vary based on the recipe. But with its rich, cheesy flavor, it’s easy to overindulge when eating queso dip. So how many calories are actually in a typical serving?

What is Queso Dip?

Queso dip is a Tex-Mex style dip that originally became popular in Mexico. The main ingredients in traditional queso dip are:

– Cheese – Usually a combination of monterey jack, cheddar, and sometimes pepper jack. The cheese provides the signature creamy, gooey texture.

– Milk – Thinned out with milk to create a dip-like consistency.

– Tomatoes – Most authentic recipes call for diced tomatoes to add tanginess.

– Chiles – Such as jalapeños, serrano peppers, or green chiles to give queso its kick.

– Spices – Common seasonings include garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, and salt.

The ingredients are combined together and heated until thick and smooth. More modern recipes have strayed from the classic version by incorporating different cheeses, spices, vegetables, and even meats. But the basic premise of melted cheesy goodness remains the same!

Serving Size of Queso Dip

When determining the calories in queso dip, the serving size matters. Unlike other dips that may be served on the side with chips or vegetables, queso is often served as a standalone appetizer in a communal bowl for dipping.

A typical restaurant-style serving of queso is about 1/2 cup. This serving size may be larger at home if you’re not concerned about portion control. Some key reference points for serving sizes include:

– 2 tablespoons (1 oz)
– 1/4 cup (2 oz)
– 1/2 cup (4 oz)
– 1 cup (8 oz)

The nutrition information on recipes may list info per 2 tbsp or 1/4 cup. Smaller 2 tbsp servings are reasonable if using queso as a topping versus a main dip. Larger 1/2 cup servings make sense for fully dipping chips and veggies. Pay attention to the serving size details when calculating calories and other nutrition.

Calories in Queso Dip

Now for the question you may be wondering – how many calories are in a typical serving of queso dip?

The calorie count can vary significantly based on the specific recipe and ingredients used. Cheeses, cream or milk, spices, meats, and other mix-ins will influence the calories.

According to the USDA, 1/4 cup of a basic queso dip made with cheddar, monterey jack, milk, and tomatoes contains:

– 148 calories
– 12g fat
– 5g protein
– 2g carbohydrates

Scaling up to a larger 1/2 cup serving doubles the nutrition info. So on average, **a 1/2 cup serving of basic queso dip contains about 296 calories and 24g of fat**.

Of course, this number will differ based on the recipe. To get a more accurate sense of the calories in a particular queso dip, consider these factors:

Cheese Type

The base cheeses like cheddar and monterey jack contain 110-170 calories per 1 ounce serving. So queso made with higher fat, higher calorie cheeses will have more calories per serving.

For example, 1/2 cup of queso made with full-fat cream cheese could have 330-350 calories. While a version made with reduced fat cheese may have 250 calories.

Added Ingredients

Any additional mix-ins will increase the calorie and fat content. Queso with bacon, beef, chorizo, etc. can have 350-500+ calories per serving depending on the quantities used. Veggies don’t significantly affect calories, but cream, butter, or oils will boost the numbers.

Serving Method

Thinner queso used as a dipping sauce will be lower in calories than a thick, scoopable queso. For example, 1/4 cup of thin salsa queso may have 60-80 calories, while a rich and creamy version may be over 200 calories per 1/4 cup.

Nutrition Information

Aside from calories, here is the nutrition information for a typical 1/2 cup serving of homemade queso dip:

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Total Fat 24 g 37%
Saturated Fat 15 g 73%
Cholesterol 60 mg 20%
Sodium 474 mg 20%
Carbohydrates 3 g 1%
Fiber 0 g 0%
Protein 8 g 16%

As you can see, queso dip is high in total and saturated fat coming from all of the cheese. It also contains a good amount of cholesterol and sodium.

The small amount of protein comes primarily from the cheese as well. There are minimal carbohydrates and no fiber.

So while queso may be delicious, it’s not the most nutritious choice. It’s a high calorie food that should be enjoyed in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet.

Ways to Lighten Up Queso Dip

If you really love queso but want a lighter version, there are a few easy ways to cut back on the calories:

– Use reduced-fat or low-fat cheese. Part-skim mozzarella and 2% milk cheddar are good options.

– Go lean on the meat by choosing chicken or turkey sausage instead of pork or beef.

– Load up on veggies like diced tomatoes, onions, peppers, corn, or black beans.

– Use Greek yogurt or cottage cheese instead of cream cheese or sour cream as the base.

– Add hot sauce, salsa, or diced green chiles rather than higher fat cheeses for flavor.

– Mix in cauliflower rice to bulk up the dip and cut calories.

– Use alternate thickeners like puréed beans or low sodium chicken broth instead of heavy cream.

With some simple ingredient swaps, you can definitely still enjoy queso while doing your waistline a favor. Just be mindful of portions and nutritional info.

Healthier Queso Dip Recipe

To help cut the calories, here is a recipe for a lighter spinach queso dip that still keeps all the creamy, cheesy flavor:


– 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
– 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
– 1⁄2 cup 2% milk cheddar cheese
– 1⁄4 cup part-skim mozzarella
– 2 tbsp flour
– 1 small tomato, diced
– 1 jalapeño, diced
– 1⁄4 tsp each salt, garlic powder
– Tortilla chips, assorted veggies for dipping


1. In a food processor or blender, blend the thawed spinach until smooth.

2. Add the cottage cheese, cheddar, mozzarella and flour. Blend until combined and smooth.

3. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until hot and bubbly.

4. Remove from heat, then stir in the diced tomato and jalapeño. Season with salt and garlic powder.

5. Serve warm with tortilla chips and assorted cut veggies like bell peppers for dipping.

This lighter spinach queso has 187 calories, 8g protein, 5g fat, and 14g carbs per 1⁄2 cup serving. It cuts the calories nearly in half compared to regular queso dip.

The Bottom Line

So how many calories are in queso dip? A 1/2 cup serving of basic queso dip made with cheddar, monterey jack, milk, and tomatoes contains about 296 calories and 24g fat. This number can vary based on the specific ingredients and recipe. Queso is high in calories and saturated fat, so it’s best enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. There are also easy ways to lighten up the dip by using low-fat cheeses, veggies, and alternate thickeners. Follow the suggested 1/2 cup serving size and be mindful of what you pair with the queso, like chips and high calorie toppings. This allows you to enjoy this popular appetizer while still watching your calorie and nutrition intake.

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