The World’s Greatest Cheese Dip

Cheese Dip Recipe

The Best Cheese Dip In The World™

UPDATE 8/10/13:

No World Cheese Dip Championship this year? WHAT!!???!!! From the Organizers of the World Cheese Dip Championship:

Supporters: The World Cheese Dip Competition is taking a leap year – there will be no WCDC in 2013. We are reorganizing and preparing for a bigger and better than ever World Cheese Dip Competition in 2014. Your comments and suggestions are important to us as we plan for the 2014 event.

But never fear, Cheese Dip Fans, the organizers of HarvestFest 2013 say they have a cheese dip competition planned. Here are the details on the event in Little Rock’s Hillcrest neighborhood.

And we still have our recipe below  if you can’t wait.

***

As I was looking around the web for information about Cheese Dip, I was amazed to find that the World Cheese Dip Championship is held right here in Little Rock, Arkansas!

I was even more amazed to read this:

Cheese dip, as we know it today, was introduced to the world and restaurant menus in 1935 by Blackie Donnelly, a Central Arkansas restaurateur and owner of Mexico Chiquito. In 2009, local attorney and filmmaker Nick Rogers researched the history of cheese dip in Arkansas and why it’s so beloved, and it all led back to Donnelly.

Astoundingly, there is even a movie.

Some of my earliest memories are making the long drive from Southwest Little Rock out to Protho Junction to eat at Mexico Chiquito. Gravel parking lot, a tin shed in the back that was the ‘tortilla factory’, tomato juice cocktail served with your dinner, and for dessert, cubes of rainbow sherbet served in little metal dishes.

It was my mom and dad’s favorite restaurant, and a special treat for a working class family. I adored going there 3 or 4 times a year, and it began a life-long love of Mexican food.

Mexico Chiquito was bought by someone in the early 80′s if memory serves, and I haven’t eaten there but a handful of times since. Nothing against the place, but it’s just not the same as going out to Protho Junction with the family.

I remember clearly that there were only 5 items on the menu. The Deluxe Plate, the Enchilada Plate, the Guacamole Plate and two others that I can’t remember.

I also remember the cheese dip. It was the star of the show. It was hard not to fill up on it before the entree arrived.

My mother worked for years on duplicating the recipe. After many disasters, failures and near misses, she finally got pretty danged close. We could enjoy the world’s greatest cheese dip anytime we wanted. It was magical.

Sadly, her version of the recipe was lost after her death in 1999.

At any rate, several years ago, I went looking for the recipe and found what purported to be the authentic, original recipe. I don’t know if it actually was, or if my memory of it had changed, but it didn’t taste like what I remembered.

So I started experimenting with it and this is what I’ve come up with. I’ve never served it to anyone who isn’t knocked out by it. Perfect for tailgating, entertaining or just snacking around the house. I hope you enjoy it.

WORLD’S GREATEST CHEESE DIP RECIPE™

(Similar to my memory of the cheese dip one would find at Mexico Chiquito back in the 60′s – 70′s.)
 

Melt 1/2 stick of butter and add 4 tablespoons of flour. Sauté together until paste-like.

Combine the following spices in a small bowl.

  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Heaping Teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (substitute 1 Teaspoon Chipotle Pepper for a bit more bite)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Mustard
  • 1 Jalepeno Pepper, Finely Diced
  • 1 Small Pod Fresh Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Ketchup
  • 1 Dash Salt

Once the butter and flour are paste-like, add the spices and simmer together for a couple of minutes.

Then, add 2 cups of whole milk and move sauté pan to a double boiler.

Heat mixture until just below boiling.

Then, one or two slices at a time, add 1/2 pound of American Cheese*, letting each slice melt thoroughly before adding another.

NOTES AND TIPS:

Sautéing the butter and flour until paste-like takes a long time and will scorch easily. Be vigilant.

Pepper Sauce is that vinegar in a jar of peppers thing that some folks like to use on Black Eyed Peas.

Add an additional splash of milk or two at the end to adjust the thickness to your liking.

I like to enjoy this cheese dip cold, so I add perhaps 1/4 cup of milk before removing it from the double boiler so that it doesn’t set up too hard after it’s been in the fridge overnight.

Do not use Kraft Singles. That is not the same as American Cheese.

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9 Responses to “The World’s Greatest Cheese Dip”

  1. SportingLifeArkansas.com
    November 28, 2012 at 1:24 am #

    Let the bragging and debate begin. I’ll happily judge for myself. Or post your recipe up on SportingLifeArkansas.com so we can all give it a try???

  2. SportingLifeArkansas.com
    November 28, 2012 at 1:26 am #

    Not even tips? Hints? Teases? Who are you, Jeff Long?

  3. Hilary Hilliard DeMillo
    November 28, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    Dude, Jeff knows a thing or two about cheese dip.

  4. SportingLifeArkansas.com
    November 28, 2012 at 1:43 am #

    I know he does. BUT, we all want some tips (at the least) on making our cheese dip better, right? He owes us that! Right?

  5. john_haman
    November 28, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    Wait. If kraft singles aren’t american cheese, what are they? And what is?

    • Simon Lee
      November 29, 2012 at 7:12 am #

      The American cheese I use for cooking I buy behind the deli counter as a slab of the weight I need for whatever it is I’m fixing. It’s creamier and real cheesier than the Kraft slices, to me.

    • Drew F.
      August 10, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

      All American cheese, by definition, is a “processed cheese product” (e.g., Velveeta), and would not be considered “cheese” in any other country. Even that which you might get from a deli.

      That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t taste good, and that certain sources of American cheese can’t taste better than others, of course. Kraft singles most certainly _are_ American cheese, but it may be made in such a way that is not conducive to melting into a sauce.

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