Rotel Dip, The BEST Velveeta Cheese Dip

This classic Rotel dip is only three ingredients and takes mere minutes to make! It's a family favorite appetizer for a reason!

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Rotel Dip, or “Dirty Dip” in some parts of the Midwest, is the ultimate Velveeta cheese dip. Thick, rich, and creamy, why not give this classic spicy dip a try with your favorite chips?

If you’re looking for more classic dips try my Knorr Spinach dip, artichoke dip or my 7 layer dip, all are family favorites!

Rotel Dip, The BEST Velveeta Cheese Dip

Rotel tomatoes are a time-honored way to add some nice acidic tomatoes with a touch of spiciness to any dish. With the simple addition of some meat and some really melty cheese, you can create an incredible dip that is perfect for a movie night or a party.

This dip is basically a simple queso dip, only instead of complicated spices and other ingredients, it uses Rotel tomatoes, which come pre-packed with tons of incredible flavor already.

You can use whatever meat you like in this recipe, as long as it browns up nicely and doesn’t have too overwhelming a flavor. Lean more towards ground beef or pork rather than steak or tenderloin, for example.

Ingredients for Rotel Dip

  • Ground beef (or sausage if you prefer!)
  • Kosher salt
  • Velveeta cheese (not the real stuff!)
  • Can of Rotel tomatoes with diced green chilies

How to Make Rotel Dip

  • Brown the beef in a large skillet and then drain the grease
  • Add the cheese and tomatoes to the beef and stir
  • Cook until the cheese has completely melted
  • Serve immediately with tortilla chips or veggies

How to Make Rotel Dip Without A Can of Rotel

This recipe is so delicious that you’ll likely want to make it even if you can’t get a hold of any Rotel tomatoes.

For those that live somewhere without Rotel tomatoes, you can just use a can of salsa that isn’t too spicy. It won’t be quite right, as the blend of acidity and spiciness is carefully balanced in a can of Rotel, but you can get pretty close.

What to Do If You Hate Velveeta

One of the biggest problems a lot of people might have with this recipe is that it uses Velveeta cheese and lots of it. The vaguely strange looking Velveeta cheese puts off a lot of people that aren’t used to it, but the thing is… it’s really good. It might look kind of odd but it melts really, really well and doesn’t have an insanely strong flavor on its own, allowing you to taste the meat and the tomatoes instead a lot more.

If you really, really do not want to use Velveeta cheese in this recipe, you might need to get a bit scientific.

The problem with just not using Velveeta cheese and instead using any other type of cheese is that they just don’t melt properly. Without the unique qualities of Velveeta, the cheese would separate into a thick sludge and a film of oil floating on the top.

The main thing that makes Velveeta cheese so gooey and melty is the addition of a chemical known as sodium citrate. If you wanted to, you could actually make it yourself using citric acid, salt, and water, but the easiest thing to do would be just to buy some yourself.

If add just a little bit of sodium citrate, no more than a few grams, to your melting cheese of choice, it will start looking and tasting a lot meltier and more cohesive than regular cheese would normally be when melted.

Of course, the easiest and tastiest thing is just to bite the bullet and use Velveeta; it’s a classic for a reason.

Happy cooking!



Rotel Dip

This classic Rotel dip is only three ingredients and takes mere minutes to make! It's a family favorite appetizer for a reason!
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Appetizer, dips
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1 pound lean ground beef or ground pork sausage
  • 16 ounces Velveeta cheese cubed
  • one 10 ounce can Ro-tel Tomatoes with Diced Green Chiles


  • Brown the ground beef in a large skillet until completely browned and cooked, to at least 165 °F. Drain the grease.
  • Add the cheese and tomatoes into the skillet with the cooked beef and stir.
  • Turn the heat down and stir until the cheese has melted and the ingredients are all hot and combined.
  • Place the hot dip into a serving bowl of choice and serve immediately. You can also dip from the skillet, but it would need to cool down.
  • Serve with tortilla chips, baguette or fresh veggies.

Recipe Notes

  • Use whatever ground meat you prefer in this

Nutrition Information

Calories: 109kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 500mg, Potassium: 209mg, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 297IU, Calcium: 176mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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This classic Rotel dip is only three ingredients and takes mere minutes to make! It's a family favorite appetizer for a reason!

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Judy Hall says

    It was delish, we did add a few more sautéed jalopeno!!! Few Dices yellow and red bell pepper. Yuummmmmmy

  2. Traveler says

    I have never seen this with ground meat. I have only ever had it with Velveeta and Rotel. The addition of the meat makes it sound more like a main course.

  3. Michelle Fletcher says

    I’ve been making this dip for years. Everytime my kids used to come home from college, they’d ask for it.
    I put a package of cream cheese and a packet of Mccormick’s taco seasoning in as well.
    Its awesome!
    Michelle Fletcher

    • Dawn Martin Nicholson says

      I add those as well and my family loves it and requests it often.

5 from 9 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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