Why Southerners Will Always Break Out the Rotel for Football Season

Our favorite tailgating snack starts with a can of diced tomatoes and green chilies.

Rotel Dip
Rotel Dip. Photo: Caitlin Bensel

I live for football season. I may not be able to tell you what a fourth down conversion is or why the ref just threw a flag on the play, but I mark my calendar for the first kickoff of fall for one delicious reason: Rotel dip.

For the uninitiated, Rotel dip is a combination of cheese, diced tomatoes, and green chilies—all melted together into a game-day appetizer that's most commonly served with tortilla chips. While I'm not always brand loyal in my grocery shopping, when it comes to this recipe, there are only two brands that will do: Velveeta for the cheese and Rotel (obviously) for their canned combination of diced tomatoes and green chilies.

How to Make Rotel Dip

At its most basic, the recipe for Rotel dip is hardly a recipe at all: Cut one 32-ounce block of Velveeta into small cubes, then add the cheese cubes and two 10-ounce cans of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies (don't drain them!) to the slow cooker. Turn on the slow cooker about two hours before the party starts, and by kickoff, you'll have a melty, cheesy dip ready to share with fellow football (or snack) fanatics. Serve with tortilla chips.

If you're pressed for time, you can melt the ingredients together on low to medium heat in a saucepan or warm them in the microwave in minutes-long increments. Then, pour the dip into a slow cooker to stay warm for the length of the game.

Why We Love Rotel Dip

One of the best things about Rotel dip is that it's totally customizable: opt for Velveeta Jalapeño Cheese if you're craving an extra kick; fold in some cream cheese for an additional layer of rich flavor; or stir in cooked sausage for an appetizer that's extra hearty.

However you choose to make it, I'm a believer that Rotel dip embodies the best of uncomplicated Southern entertaining: it's unpretentious, easy to pull together for a crowd, and, most importantly, so delicious that even the losing team's fans have a reason to celebrate.

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