The Washington Post

Soft Cheese Tacos

Soft Cheese Tacos 4.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Sep 12, 2017

A specialty dish in Dallas, these are built and baked like enchiladas but topped with classic queso instead of a chile gravy, according to Tex-Mex expert Lisa Fain.

Serve with a crisp salad.

To read the accompanying story, see: Hooray for queso, especially when it’s draped over tacos.

Make Ahead: You may have queso left over, which can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings; makes about 5 cups of queso

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 to 4 medium jalapeños (may substitute 1 poblano pepper)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound yellow American cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or more as needed
  • Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 12 ounces shredded Colby Jack cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the oil into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Cut the onion into small dice. Stem and seed the jalapeños (to taste), then mince. Mince the garlic. Coarsely chop the tomatoes.

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the diced onion and jalapeños; cook for about 5 minutes or until just softened.

Meanwhile, shred or cut up the American cheese.

Stir the garlic into the saucepan and cook for 30 seconds.

Whisk together the cornstarch, milk and water in a tall liquid measuring cup, until well incorporated, then pour into the saucepan. Increase the heat to medium; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to thicken the mixture.

Add the American cheese and reduce the heat to low; cook for about 6 minutes or until the cheese has melted, stirring a few times, then add the tomatoes, salt, cumin and cayenne pepper, stirring until well incorporated. Taste and add more salt and/or cayenne, as needed. Turn off the heat. The yield is about 5 cups.

While the queso is cooking, place the tortillas in the baking dish and turn over to coat with the oil on both sides; it’s okay if they overlap. Warm through (middle oven rack) for 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the baking dish to the stove top (off the heat).

Working with one at a time, place a now-flexible tortilla on a nearby cutting board. Add about 1/4 cup of the Colby Jack cheese down the center, then roll up the tortilla and return to the baking dish, seam side down. Once they’re all done, cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 10 minutes.

While they are in the oven, reheat the queso over low heat, stirring a few times.

To serve, uncover the tacos and pour 2 or 3 cups of the warm queso over them. Serve right away.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Queso! Regional Recipes for the World’s Favorite Chile Cheese-Dip,” by Lisa Fain (Penguin Random House, Sept. 26, 2017).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 6, using 3 cups queso): 530

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 36g 55%

Saturated Fat: 21g 105%

Cholesterol: 100mg 33%

Sodium: 880mg 37%

Total Carbohydrates: 25g 8%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: 2g

Protein: 26g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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