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How To Make Torchy’s Queso Recipe

OKAY KIDS. HUDDLE UP!

Today, we’re tackling the BIG ONE… the Torchy’s Queso Recipe.

Why? I’m so glad you asked!

#1 It’s gaining status as the most coveted, delicious queso recipe in Texas— so any Urban Cowgirl is gonna be all over this one.

#2 All of the copycat recipes on the web really, and I mean realllllly fall short of it’s greatness and complexity.

 

(If you’re using Velveeta, you’re already off to a bad start…Sorry ’bout that. The good news is we’re here to help!)

 

What is Torchy’s Queso?!

Now, for anyone who doesn’t live in a Torchy’s town, Torchy’s is a neighborhood gourmet taco shop that in recent years has developed a cult-like following.

Torchy's Tacos Interior of Store

(And they is DAMN GOOD!)

For this challenge, we hit up our local Torchy’s and even took some photos while we were there.

Here’s the menu…

Torchy's Tacos Menu

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Torchy's Taco's photo of the menu

I took the liberty of ordering several quesos to go and asked them to package each ingredient separately, so once we were back in the kitchen we could analyze each component.

How Do You Make Torchy’s Queso?

The Torchy’s queso begins with a scoop of fresh, basic guacamole scooped into a bowl.

Torchy's guacamole in an attractive mexican bowl

 

Then, they ladle roasted green chile queso on top, which is infused with verde sauce. (That’s the little roasted black flecks of tomatillo.)

They top it with a drizzle of their homemade diablo sauce, a pinch of minced cilantro, and shredded cotija cheese. It looks like this…

Torchy's Queso in a bowl with chips

NOM!

We found that the queso needs some time to infuse with the green chiles, so we’ll start there…

Like our official Urban Cowgirl Queso Recipe, this Texas-Style queso is made with a block of Boar’s Head American cheese from the deli. NOT VELVETTA! (Cause round these parts we’re on a mission to teach as many people as possible to use American cheese in your queso for WAY better, restaurant-quality queso.)

For the base of the queso we’re going to roast some salsa veggies in the oven. We’ve got new mexico chiles, also called anaheim chiles, serranos, tomatillos, roma tomatoes, and garlic.

Chiles, tomatoes, and garlic, on a sheet pan about to be roasted for queso

 

Roast them according to the recipe instructions…

Roasting tomatoes and green chiles

 

Clean the chiles just like the recipe…

Green chiles cleaned and roasted for Torchy's Queso Recipe

And CHOP! Torchy’s queso recipe uses sizes about ½ an inch square.

Freshly roasted and diced green chiles for Torchy's Queso recipe

Clean and chop the tomatoes and mince the garlic.

Throw the tomatillo, serranos, and roasted garlic in a small food processor (This is the one I have) and make a verde sauce like this… and reserve that for the queso.

Making the Torchy’s Queso Recipe:

In a large stockpot, melt the butter…

And for your stockpot, you can use something like this one and if you’re able to, get this one by All-Clad (It’s the one I’ve had for over 10 years and TOTALLY worth the investment!)

Add the garlic, and then the chopped veggies…

Green chiles and tomatoes sizzling in a buttered pot for the Torchy's Queso Recipe

Add the half and half.

Melt in the Boar’s Head American cheese…

Torch's Queso simmering in a pot

 

Add the 1/2 c. cheddar cheese and let it melt. Then add the verde sauce from the blender. Finish with the salt and lemon to taste.

You may use water to thin it when necessary, it won’t affect the flavor. This queso gets thick quick and often if left on the stove or in a crock pot. 

Now, let this queso infuse while you prepare the other ingredients. I imagine Torchy’s makes the queso once a day, and always one day ahead. We noticed the green chile flavor takes about 3-6 hours to really infuse into the queso recipe. It can sit on the back of the stove, or you can chill it and reheat it before serving. Also, you can always thin it with a little water if it gets thick on you, which ours did.

Next, make the Torchy’s guacamole recipe which we put right here. It’s pretty basic. HAAS avocados, cilantro, white onion, salt, and garlic powder. We added a pop of lemon or lime juice to make it sing.

For assembly, use a scoop like this one to scoop a 1-2 oz. portion of guacamole into the bottom of your serving bowl.

Torchy's Queso Recipe beginning with a scoop of guacamole in the bowl

Ladle the hot queso on top. Drizzle with Valentina which is very similar to their homemade diablo sauce.

Top with shredded cotija and fresh cilantro.

Walla! Enjoy my friends. 😀

A chip scooping into the bowl of torchy's queso

 


 

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Torchy's Queso CopyCat in a beautiful bowl
Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

How To Make Torchy’s Queso Recipe Copykat

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

When I originally created this recipe years ago, I found this version to be very close to the original. Then, employees wrote into the blog with the actual recipe. For that reason, the chicken stock has been removed and I have fine-tuned the recipe further. If you are coming here from YouTube please follow this new recipe with the salsa verde and roasted chiles which mimics their salsa roja, the salsa the restaurant version is built on. Enjoy cooking our home version of Torchy's Queso!

Ingredients

  • 4 T. butter
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 5 green new mexico chiles, also called anaheim
  • Verde Sauce:
  • 4 large tomatillos
  • 2 serrano peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic - for roasting
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • Queso Base:
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 c. half and half
  • 1 pounds white or yellow BOAR's HEAD BRAND American cheese, from the deli (not Velveeta), cubed
  • 1/2 c. sharp cheddar
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • ½ t. kosher salt
  • Additional water to thin when necessary
  • 1 prepared recipe of torchy’s guacamole copykat (linked in blog)
  • Garnishes: Additional Valentina hot sauce, finely chopped cilantro, cotija cheese

Instructions

TO ROAST THE CHILES:

Turn your broiler on high and move the rack to the second rung from the top. On a baking sheet place the tomatoes, tomatillos, serranos, green chiles, and garlic cloves (garlic should still be in the clove).

When the broiler is hot, place the pan under and roast the veggies for about 8 min. The skin of the tomato should be soft and peeling off and the green chiles should have small charred areas.

Remove the roasted garlic from the pan and reserve. Flip the chiles and tomatoes and place them back under the broiler for an additional 6-8 minutes to char on the other side.

After the final side is well roasted remove the veggies from the broiler and place on a countertop to cool.

In a blender, place the tomatillos, serranos, garlic, and 1/2 t. kosher salt. Blend well and reserve.

To clean the chiles, remove the majority of the seeds and the tops of the chile under warm running water in your sink. You will be able to peel off the charred and wilted skin, keeping the green roasted flesh of the pepper. Dice this into small pieces, about ½ in x ½ in, place into a bowl and reserve.

Remove the roasted tomatoes to a cutting board. Remove the skin and discard. Chop the tomatoes very fine and reserve.

FOR THE QUESO:

In a heavy-bottomed stockpot, melt the butter. Add the minced garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the green chiles and chopped tomato, stirring well. Season with a pinch of salt.

Pour in the half and half and the cubes of American cheese. Stir to incorporate and bring to medium heat. Allow the American cheese to melt into the mixture. Add the sharp cheddar. When it melts in, add the verde sauce from the blender.

Cook as long as it takes to melt the cheese. (Reduce heat to prevent the bottom from scorching if necessary.)

When the cheese has melted, and you have a dish resembling queso, add in the lemon juice and salt.

At this point, the queso looks done, but it takes at least 1-2 hours for the queso to start to pick up the flavor of the green chiles. I imagine in the store this queso is probably prepared 8-12 hours ahead of time to allow the green chile flavor to infuse into the cheese dip. If you have the time, this recipe is best enjoyed after an infusing period of time of at least 4 hours. It can be refrigerated and heated back up in a slow cooker. Just keep extra water or half and half around to thin it out. The Torchy’s version is a very loose queso.

TO SERVE:

In a serving bowl, scoop out a 2 oz. ball of Torchy’s guacamole. Ladle the hot queso over it. Shake 1 line of Valentina sauce over the queso. Top with shredded cotija and finely minced cilantro.

Serve hot with chips!

Notes

I recommend using only Boar's Head American cheese in either white or yellow for this recipe. Generic brands of American cheese will occasionally (though not always) get chunky. I do not know why this occurs but it has happened to me when making other queso recipes. You're safe with using Boar's Head in my experience.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

30

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 105Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 345mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g

These nutritional values are an estimate only and provided as a courtesy. Different brands of ingredients may result in different calorie counts, and the software does not account for these differences. Consult with your dietician or doctor for precise nutritional values.

Did you make this recipe? Leave us a comment below and let us know how it went! Or share your photos in our Facebook Group, Texas Cooking and Recipes, with fellow cooking enthusiasts like you.

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Facebook

Camille

Saturday 9th of April 2022

Thanks for your work on this but in the time it takes to make, I could drive to Torchy's and back home 4 times! I guess I'm tired of cooking, but I still like to EAT!

Taylor

Friday 18th of March 2022

How much salsa verde do you end up adding? I have my own home made salsa verde on hand so I might just use that.

Taylor

Saturday 19th of March 2022

@Urban Cowgirl Kitchen, Thanks you so much! Excited to give this a try, it looks delicious

Urban Cowgirl Kitchen

Saturday 19th of March 2022

Hi Taylor! We typically put about 1/2 c of Salsa Verde in. Your own delicious home made salsa verde will absolutely work just fine as well :) Please let us know how it turns out for you!! - Chef Sarah

Jeni M

Thursday 28th of October 2021

Sarah, thanks so much for this recipe! I miss Torchy’s!!! The recipe turned out delicious, and tasted wonderful. I grew up in the Houston area and now live in New Mexico, so I tweaked the recipe using some of the techniques I learned from our friends here. First, roast the chiles, tomatoes and tomatillos (husks removed) with tongs over an open flame until big black spots form—either on the grill or over a gas stove burner. You can also roast them on a cast iron pan or comal rotating until blackened. Sweat the blackened veggies in a covered container after roasting to the increase flavor. This is how it is done here, and you cannot beat the smoky, sweet depth of flavor this technique provides. Second, if you want to use Wal-mart’s American cheese, just add 1/2 tsp if Dijon mustard to the butter, green chile and tomato mix instead of 1/2 tsp salt and melt the cheeses in low and slow, stirring constantly. Mustard is a natural emulsifier that keeps the cheese from breaking, as well as adding more umami flavor. I also used 1 cup Crema Mexicana + 1 cup water instead of half and half, again, for richer flavor. Since we live in the land of green chile, we used Hatch green chile, extra hot. It made a wonderful queso—like Torchy’s queso on steroids for those who prefer more heat. Very nice recipe! Thanks again.

Sarah Penrod

Tuesday 16th of November 2021

Wow! Thank you so much for those tips. I love New Mexico!! We visited Santa Fe and Taos recently and it's like a dream world. I love that you can get chile on practically anything there. Thanks for the tip about the mustard! I'm going to try that out. :) Sarah

Laurie

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

So if you had the Land O Lakes extra melt, would you do everything else the same in the recipe other than substituting that for the Boar's Head American cheese?

Sarah Penrod

Tuesday 16th of November 2021

Yes, I would. :)

Sam

Tuesday 8th of June 2021

I’ve read many comments saying this is very thick and I’ve made it three times now and it’s very runny and I can’t figure out why. The flavor is spot on, just too runny. Anyone else?

Also- I have yet to add the lemon juice bc I’m concerned it will ruin the flavor and/or cause the cheese to curd. What exactly does the citrus do to the overall flavor?

Sarah Penrod

Saturday 19th of June 2021

Chefs add acidity to the end of the dish to give it a pop of flavor! Most people describe the taste as "brightness". You don't have to add it if you don't want to. It has never broken on me, but quesos made with American cheese do break on occasion if the American cheese is not properly made. Boar's head released a warning around Christmas that they had made a batch that would curdle. If your queso is thin it should thicken upon standing. Also, you can cut back on the liquid by 1/4 c. to see if that helps. Happy Cooking!

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