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Mar 23, 2020

Review: Chipotle - Queso Blanco

Chipotle's Queso Blanco is a warm cheese dip made with aged Monterey Jack, white cheddar, poblano peppers, serrano peppers, and chipotle peppers. The new recipe is a bit different from Chipotle's old Queso but still features cheddar cheese.

I got a large order of Queso Blanco and chips for $5.75.

Chipotle's previous Queso iteration was quite grainy and off-putting, so I was relieved that the new Queso Blanco had a pleasantly smooth texture. The sauce was thick enough to coat the chips without any dripping and had a hearty, rich mouthfeel.

There was a noticeable kick to Chipotle's Queso Blanco thanks to the three types of peppers included. I'm not particularly good when it comes to heat level, so the Queso Blanco was approaching medium spicy for me. It was enough for a lingering tingle (in my case, a few sniffles) that was never too overpowering as to mask any taste. The peppers lent a fresh, grassy flavor to the dip that went well with the others spices.

The white cheddar and aged Monterey Jack were strongly represented in the Queso Blanco, which had a light bitterness to it that comes with sharp cheese. While I appreciate a strong cheddar flavor, it was a little bit confusing to me because I'm generally expecting a different flavor profile for queso (mainly that of American cheese and Monterey Jack). It made me think "pub cheese" instead of "queso," especially with how salty it was as well. I recommend judicious dipping.

On a side note, the Chipotle's tortilla chips were subpar at best and downright unpalatable at worst. They sprinkle the chips with very thick flakes of salt, so some chips had clumps of salt stuck to them that no amount of scraping could get rid of without breakage. The saltiness of some of the unlucky chips and the saltiness of the Queso Blanco itself made for some randomly unpleasant eating.

Overall, Chipotle's Queso Blanco was a mixed bag for me. The sharp cheddar did not pair well with the peppers and it almost felt like a culinary culture clash. It very much felt like Mexican-flavored pub cheese, which is about as confusing as it sounds. It's still much, much better than the old version, though.

For comparison's sake, I recently tried Qdoba's queso as well, which was more in line of what I think of when I think "queso." Qdoba's queso had a very light, creamy flavor with mild spiciness paired with a slightly too thin texture that made it really easy to eat. Chipotle's Queso Blanco, on the other hand, is much heartier and has a more concentrated flavor. Honestly, if you mixed the two chains' queso offerings together, that might be the tastiest queso around because the Qdoba queso was too light on the cheese flavor and the Chipotle queso too strong in terms of the wrong cheese.

Nutritional Info - Chipotle's Queso Blanco (Large)
Calories - 480 (from Fat - 330)
Fat - 37g (Saturated Fat - 23g)
Sodium - 980mg
Carbs - 14g (Sugar - 5g)
Protein - 20g

By Renee.