How To Make Rotel With Shredded Cheese (Without Velveeta)

Skip the Velveeta and make this fan-favorite gameday snack with shredded cheese, chili powder, milk, and Rotel tomatoes.

photo of rotel made with shredded cheese (without velveeta)

For all worry I devote to the college football season, I barely blink when there’s a basketball game on. But I live in a home with two fairly devoted all-sports watchers. So they keep me up to speed on that side of the sporting world.

I know March Madness is upon us, and I’m offering up this VERY different version of a gameday favorite — Rotel dip. Skip the Velveeta and make it with freshly shredded cheese instead!

As you probably know, traditional Rotel dip calls for Velveeta. And while pasteurized process cheese food is weirdly impressive in its shelf-stability and ease of melting, it’s just not the kind of cheese I keep on hand (or frankly want to.) I always have cheddar, chili seasoning, and milk… add a can of Rotel tomatoes and you’re on your way. 

Rotel Dip made with Shredded Cheese (without Velveeta)

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homemade rotel made without velveeta

How To Make Rotel With Shredded Cheese (Without Velveeta)

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  • Author: Regan Jones, RD
  • Total Time: 12 min
  • Yield: 12 appetizer servings


Skip the Velveeta and make this fan-favorite gameday snack with shredded cheese, chili powder, milk, and Rotel tomatoes.


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour*
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) freshly shredded Cheddar cheese (do not use pre-shredded as it will clump and not melt smoothly)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco (optional)
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained


  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium. Add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly to ensure flour doesn’t clump or burn.
  2. Whisk in milk; gradually bring just to a low boil, and cook until thickened (mixture should coat back of a spoon.)
  3. Turn heat to low and add cheese 1 handful at a time, stirring until smooth. Add in remaining ingredients. Serve warm.


*Since my husband is gluten free, I used Jovial Gluten Free All Purpose Pastry Flour. It worked really well. I’m not sure all GF flours will work as well as some I have tried remain gritty when preparing a sauce. If your GF flour doesn’t work well or you have concerns, you might also try using 1 tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water. Skip the butter/flour step and simply add the cornstarch slurry to the milk once it’s been brought just to a boil. Let it simmer, stirring constantly, long enough until thickened.

  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 7 min
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: American

Another Easy Appetizer recipe you’ll enjoy:

Easy Brie Appetizer With Strawberries

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