You can’t visit Austin and not eat queso. This dish is as beloved as Austin’s weird roots and live music obsession. The perfect blend of melted cheese and peppers, it’s a savory treat with a hint of spice. Whether you’re in town for the weekend or scoping out the latest hot spots in your home city, here’s a list of the best queso in Austin.
Your Guide To The Best Queso in Austin
If you’re not in the know, queso is one of Austin’s most beloved dishes. It starts out with melted cheese, peppers, and tomatoes and can be customized for even tastier flavors. Common toppings include meaty favorites like taco meat, brisket, and chorizo as well as veggies like guacamole and black beans. There are also usually tortilla chips or tostadas that you dip into the sauce. Since Austin likes to keep things weird, you’ll also find places that serve sweet potato chips and naan or you can slop the queso over enchiladas and migas tacos. Here’s where you can get the best queso in Austin.
1. Classic Queso from Kerbey Lane Cafe
No list of the best queso in Austin is complete without mentioning Kerbey Lane Cafe. This hotpsot serves up some of the tastiest queso in town. Their recipe is so good, they sent it up to the moon on the SpaceX Falcon rocket so that extraterrestrials can enjoy the out-of-this-world treat — and that’s no joke. The classic Kerbey Queso uses organic milk, American cheese and veggies like tomatoes, jalapenos, and cilantro for a delicious treat. Upgrade to the Cowboy Queso, which has black beans, or try their Vegan Queso made with cashews.
2. Queso Blanco y Rojo at El Alma
Located at 1025 Barton Springs Rd, El Alma is famous for its Queso Blanco y Rojo. It’s made with rajas — roasted poblano chiles — spicy queso, mushrooms, onions, and salsa. Enjoy it with their incredible homemade corn tostadas and pair it with one of their craft margaritas. They also serve up other tasty appetizers like queso fundido and an incredible guacamole al chipotle. Don’t miss their renowned brunch — it’s one of the best spots to wrap up an eventful weekend.
3. All the Queso at Magnolia Cafe
Magnolia Cafe is an Austin staple. Serving the city that likes to keep things weird for more than 40 years, this cafe offers several types of queso. Try the Mag Queso featuring avocado and pico de gallo or opt for the Mag Mud Queso, which also has black beans. They also have a Sonoira Queso with all the fixings of a Mag Queso and the addition of slow-roasted beef. Best of all, it’s located on South Congress Ave so you can dive into queso here and then head out to the best happy hour spots in Austin to start the night off right.
4. Spicy White Queso from De Nada Cantina
De Nada Cantina is a cozy little taco shop where you can get some of the tastiest breakfast tacos in Austin and queso that will knock your socks off. The spicy white queso is served with tortilla chips and the local vibe will have you feeling like you found a hidden treasure.
5. Green Chile Queso at Torchy’s Tacos
Torchy’s Tacos hits a homerun with their Green Chile Queso. It’s the perfect consistency of thick melty cheese topped with guac, cilantro, cotija, and Diablo hot sauce. Their chips aren’t as good as Alma’s, but the queso is the star of the show here anyway. With several locations across Austin and the nation, it’s easy to stop in and snag some of the best queso in town.
6. Brisket Queso at Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ
Valentina’s combines incredible Texan BBQ with Mexican influences for delicious food from the best BBQ in Austin to insane brisket. In fact, their Brisket Queso is one of our all-time favorites. Their classic white queso is loaded with juicy brisket or beef picadillo — taco meat with tomato sauces and veggies — and topped with tomato serrano salsa and tomatillo habanero salsa.
7. Bob Armstong Dip at Matt’s El Rancho
Matt’s El Rancho is one of the best Austin restaurants. The Bob Armstrong Dip has ground beef and guacamole and was rumored to be made specially for Bob Armstrong back in the 1950s. Today, this queso keeps patrons coming back for more thanks to its classic flavors and perfectly melted cheese consistency.
8. Custom Queso at Polvo’s
Polvo’s has two locations, one in South Austin and one in the downtown area. Their queso starts off as a classic dip but can be customized to meet any taste cravings. Add in steak and avocado or veggies to create a truly unique queso experience every time. All the extras come on the side so you can add the ingredients you want.
9. Supa Queso at El Dorado Cafe
El Dorado Cafe is a delicious Mexican restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as bar fare. Try their classic house queso or upgrade to the Supa Queso with black beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo.
10. Roberto’s Brazo Fuerte Queso at Tacodeli
Pair your breakfast tacos with melty queso at Tacodeli. Roberto’s Queso features guac, pico de gallo, and Akaushi beef picadillo for a salty and savory treat you won’t soon forget.
11. Free Queso at Chuy’s
Yup, you read that right — free queso! Popular Among the University of Texas at Austin students, Chuy’s Nacho Car serves up free queso on weekdays from 4 to 7 pm. Just buy a margarita or another tasty drink and enjoy the free happy hour queso. It’s not mind-blowingly good, but it’s free and tasty.
12. Unique Flavors at Nasha India
Nasha India adds its own spin to the Tex-Mex craze with their Tikka con Queso. This dish blends tikka masala sauce and cheese. Dip into the queso with a piece of NaaN bread and liven up the tasty delight by adding kheema — ground beef with Indian spices and peas.
Eat Your Way Across Austin
Austinites love queso and so do millions of visitors who explore the city each year. If you’re looking for the best queso in Austin, this list is a good road map for your taste discoveries. From Lamar Boulevard to East Austin and all across the city, you’ll find ooey, gooey, melted cheese that you’ll love.
Looking for more ways to fall in love with Austin? At ATX Guides, we’ll show you around the city. From the best places to live to the best spots for tasty treats, you’ll find something new to discover each week.