Vegetarian Queso Fundido: An Authentic Mexican Recipe

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Vegetarian Queso Fundido Recipe

Last week I went over all the delicious cheeses of Mexico. This week, I’m trying to pump up my recipe game. What good is reading a blog written by a chef if you don’t get any recipes? So I developed a recipe for one of my favorite Mexican appetizers: Queso Fundido! It means ‘melted cheese,’ which sounds like ‘heaven’ to my ears. When I was on Isla Mujeres, I stumbled upon a version with meaty mushrooms instead of chorizo. Even though I’m not a vegetarian, I fell in love. So I messed around in my kitchen until I created my own version. Here’s my vegetarian queso fundido recipe, enjoy!

Vegetarian Queso Fundido Recipe

Queso Fundido is Mexico’s answer to fondue. It’s a skillet of gooey, melted cheese seasoned to perfection and ready for tortilla chips. Most traditional recipes call for chorizo to be added to the cheese. But I found out that mushrooms are a great substitute for that spicy meatiness. And they complement the creamy cheese to perfection.

Mushrooms in Vegetarian Queso Fundido Recipe

In this recipe I use mini portobellos and traditional Mexican cheeses. You can use any brown mushroom, as long as you chop it up a bit — trumpet, oyster, chanterelle, or even good old criminis will work just fine. If you struggle to find Mexican cheese at your local grocery store, then use Monterey Jack and Mozzarella in place of the suggestions below.

Vegetarian Queso Fundido Recipe Ingredients

If Your Cheese Doesn’t Get Melty Enough

I used a double-boiler method to melt the cheese — I do this because I’m not a huge fan of the microwave. Be sure to keep the bowl close enough to the boiling water, or it won’t get hot enough to melt. If you experience this issue, you can stir in up to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream to break up the protein structures of the cheese. If you don’t have the microwave aversion that I do, melt the cheese quickly and easily in the microwave. Place the shredded cheeses in a glass bowl and microwave for one minute at time, stirring the queso with a rubber spatula to lift it from the sides of the bowl. Keep this up in one minute increments until the cheese begins to bubble. Stir in the sauteed mushroom mixture once the cheese has reached desired consistency, zap it for 30 more seconds, and serve!

The Recipe: Vegetarian Queso Fundido

Vegetarian Queso Fundido: An Authentic Mexican Recipe
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  • 1.5 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
  • 4 oz. mini portobellos, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sweet or white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups oaxaca cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup chihuahua cheese, shredded
  • For serving:
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and jalapeno and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, until beginning to soften.
  2. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and all the dry spices and stir to thoroughly combine.
  3. Sautee the mushrooms until they begin to soften and release some of their juices, about 5 - 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Place the cheese in a glass bowl over an inch of simmering water in a saucepan and stir with a rubber spatula until the cheese is mostly melted.
  5. Fold in the seasoned mushrooms. Continue to heat until the cheese is fully melted and bubbly.
  6. Spoon the queso into a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped cilantro for garnish.
  7. Optional:
  8. If you like a crust on your cheese and you have a small cast-iron skillet, you can transfer your cheese and mushrooms to the skillet and broil on high for 2 - 3 minutes or until the top browns slightly.
  9. If the double-boiler isn't getting the cheese hot enough, you can pop it in the microwave on high in 1-minute increments until it's melted.
  10. Serve with flour and corn tortillas and your favorite tortilla chips.


    1. Yay! I'm trying to make my recipes more vegetarian-friendly (though I'm not a veggie, plenty of my clients are). If you make it let me know if it gets the stamp of approval. :-)
  1. This recipe looks interesting. Though I've had Queso Fundido in many different places, the recipe appears to be in line with the usual taste, but i have never seen it so orange in color.
    1. I know, it's the spices that I put on the mushrooms! I threw some traditional chorizo spices in there to keep it authentic, and they stained up that cheese when I mixed them in! Still tasted pretty yummy though :-)
  2. Ok, I'm trying this recipe this weekend! Great to see some veggie recipes and I love Mexican flavours. Although I don't think I'll find those Mexican cheeses so I'll use the Monterey Jack and mozzarella (can you tell me which one substitutes which Mexican cheese?)
    1. Of course! The Mozzarella is similar in texture and taste to Oaxaca (though the Mexican version is TAD saltier), and Monterey Jack is closest to Chihuahua. I always leave salt and pepper to taste, but if you use Mozzarrella, consider adding in an extra pinch. If you like spicy, add in an extra 1/2 tsp of pepper flakes or even 1/4 tsp cayenne. It'll give it some kick! :-) Happy cooking!
  3. The Mexican cuisine is one of the best! I don't like spicy, so I'm glad there are TONS of "normal" dishes there as well. I'll try the queso fundido tomorrow! Thanks for sharing!
    1. Let me know how it was Viki! And yes, you'd be surprised how many variations of cuisine there are... Mexico is really such a big country, you'd be amazed at the variety of food!
  4. OH MY! I don't even like cheese but that looks damn good. It looks like the liquid cheese you could get in the Oxxo supermarkets there to put on your hot dogs. Man that stuff was good :)
  5. While my husband loves chorizo, I don't because it's too spicy for me. Yet I LOVE mushrooms so I will definitely try your variant, I'm sure it'll be delicious!
    1. Yes, this version is pretty mild as well. If you want more spice, more pepper flakes or cayenne will do the trick. But if you don't want the heat, stick with the recipe as-is. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
  6. Always fun to stumble upon exciting food combinations when traveling--mushrooms sound like a fantastic swap! I will definitely have to make this sometime. Sounds absolutely delicious and is making me hungry right now, lol!
    1. And technically it's authentic, since I got the idea from a restaurant on Isla Mujeres in Mexico! Hope you have a chance to cook it, let me know how it goes!
  7. I'm having a party at my place for Cinco de Mayo (yes, cliché of me) and I am bookmarking this pin! I LOVE queso dips of all kinds, especially vegetarian ones. Also I'm a Spanish teacher and have yet to go to Mexico... this is just adding to my growing list of reasons as to why I need to get myself there!
    1. Ah yay! Glad it'll be useful for your party! Let me know how it goes over -- and if you want to add a little more spice double the pepper flakes or throw in 1/4 tsp of cayenne. I love spicy but always have to reel myself in or only half of my friends can eat my food! :-) And definitely pop down to Mexico when you can -- I also love Sayulita on the West Coast of Mexico!
  8. I think mushrooms sound much better than adding meat to this...cheese is already so salty, but the mushroom will give it a kick of unami. The best fondues have at least two types of a cheese.
    1. I agree Tom! Though I love the spice from chorizo in the traditional version... So I just threw a bunch of chorizo spices into the mushrooms. Perfect! And you're right about the umami. It's rare that I find a dish where I prefer the vegetarian version, but this one did it.
  9. OMG, I love just about anything with cheese. I'll have to hand your recipe off to my hubby, he's the chef (non-official) in our family. Great tip about using a double broiler.
  10. I have been trying to cook more at home, and this looks like a great recipe. Actually I made burritos yesterday, but they aren't nearly as delicious as these pictures look. Thanks for sharing!

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