How to Make Rotel Dip with Ground Beef – A Cheesy and Spicy Crowd-Pleaser

Rotel dip is a classic party appetizer that is always a crowd favorite. This cheesy, spicy, and beefy dip comes together with just 3 simple ingredients – rotel tomatoes, velveeta cheese, and ground beef. It’s so easy to throw together and is guaranteed to be a hit at your next get-together.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of how to make rotel dip with ground beef. We’ll cover everything from ingredients, equipment, and step-by-step instructions, to extra tips and tricks for taking your rotel dip to the next level. Let’s get started!

What is Rotel Dip?

Rotel dip is an appetizer made with rotel tomatoes, velveeta cheese, and cooked ground beef. The main ingredients are:

  • Rotel tomatoes – a canned tomato product that contains diced tomatoes and spicy green chilies. This is what gives the dip its signature kick.

  • Velveeta cheese – a processed, meltable cheese that gives the dip its smooth, creamy texture.

  • Ground beef – cooked ground beef provides heartiness, meaty flavor, and texture contrast.

These three simple ingredients come together to create a dip that is indulgently cheesy, pleasantly spicy, and perfectly beefy. The velveeta ensures a silky smooth texture, while the rotel gives it a zesty flavor kick. Rotel dip is typically served warm, either straight from the stovetop or kept hot in a slow cooker or fondue pot. It’s commonly served with tortilla chips, crackers, pretzels, or fresh cut vegetables.

Ground Beef vs Sausage in Rotel Dip

The most classic version of rotel dip calls for ground beef. However, many recipes also use spicy sausage like chorizo or andouille. Here’s how the two meats compare:

Ground Beef

  • More neutral in flavor
  • Leaner and less greasy
  • Allows the velveeta and rotel to shine
  • More budget-friendly

Spicy Sausage

  • Provides spicier, bolder flavor
  • More fat so richer mouthfeel
  • Stronger seasoned taste
  • Can overwhelm other flavors

Whichever meat you choose, cook it thoroughly before adding to the dip. Lean ground beef is ideal, as it prevents the dip from becoming overly greasy. Sirloin or 90/10 ground beef works great. If using a fattier beef, be sure to drain off excess grease after cooking.

Ingredients Needed to Make Rotel Dip

Rotel dip only requires 3 main ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (16 ounce) block of velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can rotel tomatoes

Ground Beef

As mentioned, lean ground beef works best. Sirloin or 90/10 is ideal. Make sure to cook thoroughly before adding to dip.


Traditional meltable processed cheese product. Cut into small cubes before adding to allow it melt smoothly.

Rotel Tomatoes

A canned product that contains spicy diced tomatoes and chilies. Choose mild, medium or hot based on your spice preference.

That’s it! Just those 3 easy ingredients is all you need. Now let’s go over some helpful equipment for making this recipe.

Equipment Needed

You likely have everything you need to make rotel dip in your kitchen already. Here are some handy tools:

  • Large skillet for cooking ground beef
  • Spatula for breaking up and stirring ground beef
  • Knife and cutting board for cubing velveeta
  • Spoon for stirring and mixing dip
  • Slow cooker, fondue pot, or oven-safe dish for serving

A large skillet is key, as you want ample room to cook the beef without overcrowding. A slow cooker is very useful for keeping the dip warm throughout serving. An oven-safe dish also works for reheating as needed.

Having the right equipment makes the process smooth and easy! Now let’s get into the step-by-step method.

How to Make Rotel Dip – Step-by-Step

Putting together this crowd-pleasing dip couldn’t be more simple. Follow these easy steps:

1. Cook the Ground Beef

  • Add the lean ground beef to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Break up the meat thoroughly with a spoon or spatula as it cooks.
  • Cook until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Drain any excess grease if needed.

2. Cut and Add the Velveeta

  • While the beef is cooking, cut the velveeta into small 1/2″ cubes.
  • Add the cubed velveeta directly to the skillet with the cooked ground beef.

3. Stir in the Rotel

  • Pour the entire can of rotel tomatoes into the skillet.
  • Stir everything together until fully combined.

4. Heat Through Until Smooth

  • Continue heating over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until the cheese fully melts and the dip is smooth.
  • Once velveeta melts, remove from heat.

That’s it – your cheesy rotel dip is ready to enjoy! For serving and storage tips, keep reading.

Cooking Tips

Here are some additional pointers for making the best rotel dip:

  • Use a meat chopper or potato masher to break up the ground beef while browning. This saves time and prevents over-stirring.

  • For leaner meat, opt for 90/10 or 93/7 ground sirloin. Drain any grease before adding velveeta.

  • For more spice, use hot rotel tomatoes or add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.

  • Stir frequently once adding velveeta to prevent scorching on the bottom.

  • If the dip gets too thick, thin it out with 1-2 tablespoons of milk.

  • For even easier melting, combine everything in a slow cooker instead of the stovetop.

  • Garnish with chopped green onions, cilantro, or diced tomatoes for extra flavor.

Serving Rotel Dip

Rotel dip tastes best hot and smooth. Here are serving tips:

  • Transfer the dip to a slow cooker or fondue pot set on low/warm.

  • Reheat on the stovetop over low, stirring frequently.

  • Portion into a baking dish and reheat at 350°F until hot and bubbly.

  • Serve warm with tortilla chips, crackers, pretzels, or fresh cut vegetables.

The hot dip can also be transferred to a hollowed out loaf of bread or poured over cream cheese filled wonton wrappers and baked for fun presentation options.

Storage Instructions

To store leftovers:

  • Let cool slightly and transfer to an airtight container.

  • Refrigerate for up 3-4 days.

  • Reheat gently before serving.

For longer storage:

  • Freeze for up to 3 months in freezer bags or airtight containers.

  • Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

With proper storage, you can enjoy this crowd-pleasing dip again and again!

Possible Variations

One of the great things about rotel dip is how customizable it is. Get creative with these variations:

  • Use spicy sausage instead of ground beef.

  • Add extra melty cheeses like pepper jack or queso fresco.

  • Stir in cooked bacon pieces for a smoky crunch.

  • Swap in hatch green chilies for a flavor twist.

  • Mix in sautéed onion, garlic, or jalapeño.

  • Replace rotel with fire roasted or regular diced tomatoes.

  • Garnish with fresh cilantro, lime juice, or avocado.

  • For lower fat, use reduced fat cheese and turkey or chicken sausage.

The possibilities are endless for putting your own spin on this fan favorite!


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about making rotel dip:

What can I use instead of Velveeta?

You can substitute velveeta with equal parts cream cheese and shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese. The consistency may be slightly less smooth.

Can I use pork or turkey instead of beef?

Absolutely! Lean ground pork or ground turkey work very well in place of ground beef.

Is rotel dip gluten free?

Yes, as long as you use certified gluten free velveeta or cheese substitute. Always check ingredient labels to verify gluten free status.

Can I make it ahead of time?

You can prepare the dip up to 2 days in advance. Store cooled in the refrigerator and gently reheat before serving.

Can I freeze leftover dip?

Yes! Rotel dip freezes well for 2-3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating to serve.

Tips for the Best Rotel Dip

Making this crowd-pleasing appetizer? Keep these tips in mind:

  • Use lean ground beef and drain grease if needed
  • Cut velveeta into small cubes for smooth melting
  • Stir constantly once velveeta is added
  • Serve warm in a slow cooker or fondue pot
  • Customize with mix-ins like bacon or roasted peppers
  • Adjust spice level by using different types of rotel
  • Thin with milk if the dip gets too thick
  • Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer

Follow these guidelines and your rotel dip will be a guaranteed hit!

Why Make Homemade Rotel Dip?

Here are some of the benefits of making this appetizer at home:

It’s customizable – Add your own flair with spice levels, mixins, and garnishes.

It’s budget-friendly – Much cheaper than buying prepared dips at the store.

It’s easy to make – Comes together with just 3 ingredients in 30 minutes or less.

It’s crowd-pleasing – This classic combo pleases people of all tastes.

It’s versatile – Serve as a dip, spread, or topping for other dishes.

With a homemade version, you control the ingredients and flavors. It makes for a hand-crafted, hearty appetizer everyone will love dipping into.

Top Tips for Rotel Dip Success

Ready to whip up the ultimate rotel dip? Keep these key tips in mind:

  • Use lean ground beef and drain off excess fat after cooking
  • Cut the velveeta into small cubes for quick, even melting
  • Heat over medium low, stirring frequently, until completely smooth
  • Transfer to a slow cooker or oven-safe dish to keep warm for serving
  • Set out chips, crackers, bread, veggies for excellent dipping items
  • Customize with your choice of spicy rotel tomatoes based on preferred heat level
  • Adjust consistency as needed with a splash of milk or cream
  • Let the flavors of the velveety cheese, zesty tomatoes, and beef come through
  • Enjoy this classic appetizer while it’s hot – this dish doesn’t last long!

Diving Into Delicious Rotel Dip

Rotel dip is a cherished staple that’s been pleasing crowds for decades. With just three ingredients, it’s an easy appetizer anyone can whip up. Follow this guide for tips on making the best rotel dip with ground beef.

The iconic mixture of melty velveeta cheese, spicy tomatoes, and hearty ground beef is sure to be addictive. Customize to your tastes by tweaking spices, mix-ins, or accompaniments. Keep warm in a slow cooker or oven to serve alongside crunchy chips, crisp vegetables, or savory crackers.

This is the perfect appetizer for game day, holidays, potlucks, or anytime you need a hearty crowd-pleasing dip. Dig in to cheesy, beefy rotel dip greatness!

Easy Rotel Dip Recipe | Easy Football Snack | Episode 129


What are the ingredients in Rotel?

Tomatoes, Water, Chopped Green Chili Peppers, Less than 2% of: Salt, Calcium Chloride, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Cilantro.

How long does Rotel with ground beef last in the fridge?

Storing Instructions: Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last 3-4 days. Heat it up in the microwave when you want to have some. Ingredient Replacement Ideas: We use ground beef but this dip also tastes yummy with ground sausage too.

Do you drain the can of Rotel?

Are you supposed to drain Rotel? The answer is “No!” because you want to add all of the flavor and juices from the can to the dip.

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