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.
(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…
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
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.
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…
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.
Roast them according to the recipe instructions…
Clean the chiles just like the recipe…
And CHOP! Torchy’s queso recipe uses sizes about ½ an inch square.
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…
Add the half and half.
Melt in the Boar’s Head American cheese…
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.
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. 😀
Have questions? Need help? Have an addition or a suggestion to a recipe? Drop me a comment below!
If you make this recipe, I would LOVE to see it!
Tag me on Instagram @UrbanCowgirl and use #UrbanCowgirl to be featured. 🙂
Follow us on Social Media using the links below!!
How To Make Torchy’s Queso Recipe Copykat
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!
- 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
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.
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!
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.
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.
Tuesday 14th of March 2023
Delicious recipe! Thank you for sharing. Do you know how I could make it a little thicker? Would adding flour into the butter mixture work or adding it when I use the half and half work better? Thank you!
Tuesday 28th of March 2023
The recipe at Torchy's is pretty thin compared to other queso recipes in Texas. If you try to use a cornstarch slurry or anything that requires boiling after adding the cheese, you risk curdling it. You can experiment with adding less liquid or adding an extra tablespoon of flour to the roux if you like. It does thicken as it sits in the pan a bit. Hope this helps!
Sunday 5th of February 2023
Thank you so much for this recipe!! My husband and I grew up in Texas but now live in Utah and you can’t find good queso here to save your life! My oldest son (who still lives in Dallas), sent me your recipe to help ease my pain. Haha. I just made it for the first time and it is delish! I’m taking it to a gathering with some fellow Texans and I know they will appreciate it.
Also, tagging on to what someone else said, along with the margarita recipe, I would Love to have a recipe for Gloria’s black bean dip! I believe the original Gloria’s is on Greenville Ave, but there is another one in Colleyville and the latest one in Southlake. Please let me know if you can match it!
Wednesday 18th of January 2023
This recipe is probably better than Torchy's now because I think they're getting a little bit lazy on the Romas and Anaheim peppers. The only comment I'd add is that I prefer to roast all of the veggies on a grill at roughly 400F with the Romas, garlic and tomatillos going on a foil-lined grill pan. Also, if you're gonna make this queso, it really needs the original Diablo Sauce on top. Here's the actual Diablo Sauce recipe from restaurant that I converted from bathtub quantities into something more manageable at home.
Ingredients: (makes about 16oz.) Vegetable Oil - 1/2 cup Sweet Onion - 1/4 onion Fresh Garlic - 3 cloves Habanero Peppers - 3 peppers Tomato Sauce (14.5 oz) - 1 can White Wine Vinegar - 1/3 cup Salt - 1 1/4 tsp
Directions: 1. Peel garlic cloves and leave whole. 2. Wash habanero peppers and remove stems. 3. Dice onion into 1" chunks. 4. Combine vegetable oil, garlic, onion and habaneros in a small sauce pan and saute over medium heat until caramelized, stirring frequently, ~40-45 minutes. 5. Add tomato sauce, white wine vinegar, and salt to the caramelized mixture. 6. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes, stirring continuously, allowing the sauce to thicken. 7. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until sauce is very smooth. Sauce should not be runny, but have a thick consistency. 8. Pour into 8 oz containers and refrigerate immediately.
Monday 14th of November 2022
Hi!! I’ve made this recipe in the past and it always turns out great! It makes a ton of quest so I was curious if I can half the recipe? Is there anything that I need to do different?
Thursday 17th of November 2022
Hi Aspen! I haven't tried halving the recipe but i see no reason it wouldn't work. Just remember you can thin it with water or milk if it gets thick on you. Happy Cooking! - Sarah
Wednesday 31st of August 2022
Does one have to use American cheese for this? It's not the easiest cheese to find outside of...you know...America 🤣 The rest of the world has queso needs, too!
Sunday 12th of February 2023
@Liz, You can actually achieve a smooth "Velveeta" like texture from any cheese using sodium citrate.
Shelf stable cheese like Velveeta is a big No, always.
Saturday 14th of January 2023
@Jenny, sorry lady but whether you would touch it or not Velveeta or any sort of melty processed cheese is necessary for good queso. You can pretend with Jack or Provolone but it's not going to spread on a chip the right way no matter how good you are at roux and bechemel's. Can't be a snob when it comes to good tex mex queso.
Tuesday 6th of September 2022
@Sarah Penrod, oh goodness no I won't touch Velveeta if my life depends on it. Evidently you can use either Monterey Jack or Provolone as a replacement for American cheese in this recipe, so I'll give that a try.
Friday 2nd of September 2022
I would be happy to make a roux-based queso recipe for you! If you need one in a jiffy, you can make mornay sauce or "cheese sauce" and add green chiles. Do you have access to Velveeta cheese??