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How to Make the Best Smoked Queso

With so many smoked queso recipes online, it can be overwhelming trying to pick the perfect cheese dip. We recently decided to test five of the internet’s most popular recipes to determine which ingredients and methods work best for making queso on a smoker or grill.

Our experiment led to this recipe, our ultimate smoked queso. You can watch the full smoker showdown video below or keep reading to learn about the ingredients and cooking methods for our ultimate version.

How to Make the Best Smoked Queso

Our ultimate smoker queso recipe combines elements of over the top chili with fresh veggies (instead of classic RO-TEL), hot breakfast sausage, BBQ rub, Velveeta and pepper jack cheese, and a secret ingredient.

Spoiler: The secret ingredient is beer.

Everything goes on a pellet grill or smoker at 250ºF for about two hours, at which point the cooked sausage is crumbled and folded into the cheese sauce. This gives the veggies plenty of time to soften and soak up all the great flavor from the secret ingredient.

You’re left with an ultra rich queso with tons of smoke flavor. I can’t wait for you to try the recipe!

dipping a tortilla chip into a bowl of smoked cheese dip

You’ll find a full recipe card below to save or print, and I’m always happy to answer questions in the comments at the bottom of this post if you have them.

And if you enjoy this style of experiment, be sure to check out our ultimate smoked mac and cheese and the recipe showdown that led us to that recipe.

bowl of smoked queso with pico de gallo, cilantro, and cotija cheese

Ultimate Smoked Queso

Yield: 20 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours

We tested the internet's most popular smoked queso recipes to come up with this ultimate version that combines the best ingredients and techniques from across the web.


  • 1 block (32 oz) Velveeta, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 pound Pepper Jack, cut into 1" cubes
  • 4 Roma Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large White Onion, diced
  • 2 large Poblano Peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup Beer (or your choice of liquid)
  • 1 pound Hot Breakfast Sausage
  • 1/4 cup Traeger Coffee Rub (or your choice of BBQ rub)
  • 1-2 handfuls Cilantro, freshly chopped


  1. Preheat your smoker to 250ºF with sweet wood or pellets like maple or cherry. (I used a Traeger Ironwood and Traeger Signature pellets.)
  2. Add the Velveeta, pepper jack, diced vegetables, 2 tablespoons of rub, and beer to a 9x13 aluminum pan or smoker-safe baking dish.
  3. Break the breakfast sausage into 6-8 smaller pieces and season with the remaining rub. Place the sausage pieces on a wire rack over the top of the dish.
  4. Cook for 2 hours until the sausage reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF (or is held above 140ºF for at least 12 minutes) before crumbling into the queso. Fold everything together and cook for an additional 30 minutes before stirring in chopped cilantro and serving.
  5. You can keep the queso warm on the grill to serve later, adding liquid as needed for your desired consistency.


Optional: Serve your smoked queso with fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, and cotija cheese.

Modification Notes

You can use non-alcoholic beer or beef broth instead of beer.

If you're using a different rub, you may want to start with half the amount and season to taste at the end (to avoid over-seasoning).

You can use two cans of RO-TEL in place of the fresh veggies if you're in a hurry.

If you increase the grill temperature to speed up the cook, you may want to stir the cheese sauce occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the grill pan.

You could try making a healthier smoked queso using my high protein cottage cheese queso recipe.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 171Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 325mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g

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