Queso Con Chile Rojo (cheese in red sauce)

Queso con chile is an easy recipe made with just a few ingredients but that will deliver a scrumptious savory homemade meal for any day of the week. The secret is on the sauce!

Queso con chile served with de la olla beans.

What is queso con chile?

Queso con chile means ‘cheese with chili sauce’, this recipe consist in fresh cheese simmered in a delicious tomato sauce that can be either mild-spicy or highly hot, depending in each person’s taste. This recipe is also know as “queso en salsa” or “queso guisado”.

The sauce can be made with various types of chilies, from fresh like jalapeño, serrano, etc. To dried peppers like guajillo, morita, pasilla, chile de árbol, etc.

Closeup on queso con chile.

What type of cheese to use

Queso con chile is traditionally made with queso panela, a Mexican fresh cheese. The reason for using this type of cheese is that it holds its shape when cooked, while other types, such as mozzarella or Oaxaca, will melt in the sauce.

While queso panela can’t be so easy to find outside Mexico, you can still make this recipe using other type of cheese, such as: Paneer (Indian cheese), Primo Sale (Italian cheese), Farmer cheese (pressed cottage cheese), Halloumi (Cyprus cheese), or even Queso Fresco (Mexican fresh cheese).

Queso panela on a package and some cut into cubes on a cutting board.
Primo sale cheese.

Recipe Variations

Being a simple and easy recipe, you can find a few variations in queso con chile, those below are my favorites:

  • Roasted peppers such as poblano or green bell peppers adds a nice “meaty” touch to the dish. You can add those when the sauce is cooking, so they will add their flavor.
  • Queso con chile verde means the dish is made using tomatillo salsa verde instead. A nice variation if you have salsa leftovers.
  • Adding vegetables to the mix is for sure a healthy choice, think of Mexican squash, green beans, chayote, spinach, or quelites (leafy vegetables). Add those before adding the cheese, once cooked you can go ahead and mix in the panela cheese.
Queso con chile served with beans and tortillas.

How To Make Queso Con Chile

Start by making the chile sauce. In a medium saucepan place tomatoes and chili peppers, cover with water and boil until tomatoes are cooked through. Allow to cool down and then place tomatoes, chilies, onion, and the garlic clove in a blender. Pour in 1 cup of water and blend for half a minute.

Chile sauce on a white bowl.

Heat the oil on a cooking pan over medium heat. Add the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, uncovered, just make sure the sauce won’t reduce too much, if necessary, add more water or vegetable stock. TIP: Some people like to add chicken bouillon to the sauce.

The chile sauce cooking on a pan.

Now, add the cheese and simmer for another minute. Adjust with seasonings and then turn off the heat.

Queso con chile cooked on a pan.

You can now serve this delicious queso con chile with your favorite Mexican side dishes as suggested below.

How To Serve

My favorite way of serving queso con chile is with frijoles de la olla (pot beans), or refried beans. But this recipe pairs so nice also with Mexican white rice as it will soak all that delicious sauce when served over.

Tortillas will be always my first choice, specially if they’re corn tortillas. But also bolillo or birote (Mexican rolls) are nice accompaniments. Actually, any crusty bread will do the trick to mop up that chile sauce!

A woman serving on hand a taco with queso con chile.

Storage

This recipe stores nicely in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Making this a perfect meal to make ahead or to prep the day before and bring it for lunch to work.

Queso con chile recipe.

Queso Con Chile

Queso con chile means ‘cheese with chili sauce’, this recipe consist in fresh cheese simmered in a delicious tomato sauce that can be either mild-spicy or highly hot, depending in each person’s taste.
PREP 5 minutes
COOK 15 minutes
TOTAL 20 minutes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 2
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 8 oz panela cheese (cubed, read notes.)
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 3 jalapeño peppers (stem removed)
  • ½ small onion
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  • Boil tomatoes and jalapeño peppers until everything is cooked through.
  • Allow to cool down and then place tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, and garlic clove in a blender. Pour in 1 cup of water and blend for half a minute.
  • Heat the oil on a cooking pan over medium heat. Add the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour in 1 cup of water (or vegetable stock) and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, uncovered, just make sure the sauce won’t reduce too much, if necessary, add more water or stock.
  • Add the cheese and simmer for another minute. Adjust with seasonings and then turn off the heat.
  • Serve with beans and tortillas or crusty bread.

NOTES

Substitutions:
  • make this recipe using other type of cheese, such as: Paneer (Indian cheese), Primo Sale (Italian cheese), Farmer cheese (pressed cottage cheese), Halloumi (Cyprus cheese), or even Queso Fresco (Mexican cheese).
  • Use any kind of fresh or dried hot chili peppers such as serrano, anaheim, guajillo, pasilla, ancho, etc.
Nutrition
Calories: 423kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 36mg | Potassium: 369mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1251IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 563mg | Iron: 1mg
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