Spicy Nacho Cheese Dip

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors (yellow, orange, green, red, chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique, distinctively fruity flavor. It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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Yields 4 Quarts


  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 fresh Habanero peppers (finely diced)
  • 4 tsp butter
  • Quart of half and half
  • 2-4 Tbsp. of corn starch
  • 1.5 lb grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (Tillamook)
  • 1 lb. grated pepper jack cheese(Tillamook)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (cut into small cubes)
  • 1 can diced green chills(hot)
  • 3/4 cup diced Jalapeños
  • 3/4 cup diced Roasted Red Peppers
  • 2 cans Hormel chili without beans
  • Tortilla chips for dipping
  • 1 TBSP Franks Red Hot Sauce (optional)


  1. In a heavy large pot, melt butter on medium heat. Put in garlic and shallots and one half of the diced habanero peppers and sauteé for about 3-5 minutes or until tender. Whisk in half and half and slowly bring to a boil (stirring often).
  2. Mix corn starch with cold water so it is dissolved and then slowly whisk in to the milk sauce base to thicken the mixture. Return the mixture to a boil.
  3. Slowly stir in cream cheese until melted. Add cheddar and pepper jack and stir until melted.
  4. Add Chili, Jalapeños, Red Peppers, Green chilies and the other half of the habanero peppers. Mix together and let simmer for 5 minutes for the ingredients to get to know each other.
  5. Transfer contents to keep dip hot. Serve with tortilla chips.
  6. Alternately, you can add Franks Hot sauce (or your favorite hot brand) to spice up the mixture a bit, although it is plenty spicy without it.

Recipe from Epicurious, 2015