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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.

adam

Tuesday 14th of May 2024

did you make a change to this recipe recently, I swore it said to use chicken broth not half and half previously.

Sarah Penrod

Sunday 26th of May 2024

I changed it about 5 years ago because someone sent me the actual restaurant recipe. I can look in my recipe software for you and see if I can find the original.

Maria E

Saturday 30th of September 2023

Wow, what an amazing recipe!!! Unfortunately i found it at 10pm at night after all the stores were closed, so i frankensteined something with what i had on hand at the time. I only had velveeta (hold the pitchforks please lol 😬), no tomatillos or serranos, and had Costco 505 sauce. Roasted the tomatoes and garlic, put em in a blender, then mixed everything together in a giant pot. I also threw in a pinch of ancho chili powder and white pepper. Oh em gee!!!! Even this turned out one of the best quesos i have ever made! I’m really looking forward to actually following this recipe and making the salsa verde as lined out. If a frankenstein recipe came out that delicious i can only imagine how amazing the real deal is!

Sarah Penrod

Wednesday 4th of October 2023

Sounds like you Frankensteined an amazing dish! My husband says I always make the best recipes when I'm flying by the seat of my pants. LOL

Let me know what you think of the Torchy's recipe when you have a chance to make it! :)

Audrey Fils

Tuesday 4th of July 2023

This recipe tastes just like Torchy’s queso! Thank you so much! My daughter attends TCU and we live in CA. Anytime we visit her Torchy’s is a must on our list of meals.

Question, what is the best way to reheat this queso?

Sarah Penrod

Wednesday 5th of July 2023

Glad to hear you liked it! :)

Taylor

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!

Lucy

Tuesday 9th of July 2024

@Sarah Penrod, I’m confused. You told the poster above to add more flour to the roux, but you don’t have a roux in the recipe. Unless I missed something, it just says to add butter, garlic and the tomato/pepper mix before you add the 1/2 & 1/2. Where does the roux come in?

I’m tempted to just do a roux with butter and flour like I usually do for queso, but I like to follow the recipe the first time.

I also love Torchy’s queso, so I’d like it to be as authentic as it can be! Thanks!

Sarah Penrod

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!

Eileen

Sunday 12th of February 2023

The Torchy's queso recipe is simply outstanding!

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