What Kind of Cheese Does Chipotle Use? [Plus Recipe]

Everyone loves Chipotle’s mouth-watering Mexican cuisine. There ingredients boast freshness through their semblance to homemade dishes, but one thing is for certain.

The warm, comforting experience of eating Chipotle’s burritos, bowels, or quesadillas wouldn’t be complete without cheese.

Its presence in every dish makes the items on Chipotle’s menu highly addictive. But where does Chipotle source its cheese?

Chipotle’s status as a fast food restaurant raises some doubt about the quality of their ingredients. Can they really be fresh if used in such a fast-paced environment?

Luckily, the answer is yes.

Chipotle Mexican Grill incorporates a distinctive cheese blend in their recipes, consisting of shredded Monterey Jack and white cheddar cheese. This blend is known for its excellent melting qualities and balanced flavor profile, complementing the various dishes on their menu. Monterey Jack brings a mild and slightly tangy taste, while the white cheddar adds a sharper, more pronounced flavor. This combination provides a creamy texture and rich taste, enhancing the overall flavor of Chipotle’s burritos, tacos, and bowls.

In this article, we’ll discuss what kind of cheese Chipotle uses and how this impacts your favorite foods.

What Kind of Cheese Does Chipotle Restaurant Use?

What makes Chipotle’s bowls, burritos and quesadillas so addictive?

While all toppings make your meal flavorful, cheese is the ingredient that elevates Chipotle’s snacks to a staple comfort food.

But what kind of cheese does Chipotle really use?

There is much doubt cast on the freshness of ingredients in fast-food chains. However, Chipotle takes the freshness of it’s food seriously.

It’s commitment to only sourcing cheese from pasture-raised cows means that Chipotle only uses cheese of the highest quality. But, they take it one step further.

In addition to their commitment to top-notch ingredients, Chipotle devised a unique blend of cheeses to best complement items on their menu.

Each cheese is chosen by its flavor and how its flavor will work with the other cheeses in the blend.

To achieve the unique flavor they are known for, Chipotle uses a blend of white cheddar and Monterey Jack.

This combination adds the cheesiness we all crave while not overpowering other essential ingredients.

The combination of white cheddar and Monterey Jack provides the sharpness of cheddar with the mild, buttery flavor of Monterey Jack.

This combination is ideal for bowls, burritos, and quesadillas, because it creates a melt-in-your mouth flavor and texture.

What Kind of Cheese Does Chipotle Use in Their Bowls?

To top their hunger-inhibiting bowls, Chipotle uses a pre-shredded blend of white cheddar and Monterey Jack.

While these types of cheese seem similar, they each contain unique properties that are especially delicious when combined.

White cheddar provides a sharp, cheesy taste while Monterey Jack in slightly sweet and buttery.

Coupling the cheesy profile of white cheddar with the subtlety of Monterey Jack enhances the other flavors in the bowl.

What Kind of Cheese Does Chipotle Use in Quesadillas?

For quesadillas, Chipotle uses traditional cheddar and Monterey Jack. Using traditional cheddar instead of white cheddar gives the quesadillas their famous golden color.


Since the primary ingredient of quesadillas is cheese, Chipotle can use a heavier amount of strong cheeses.

Chipotle achieves the even distribution of cheese in quesadillas by using pre-shredded cheese.

The ability to sprinkle pre-shredded cheese over a large area is more effective than using large chunks or slices.

Additionally, the heavy layers of cheese make Chipotle’s quesadilla a filing meal, instead of a light snack.

What Kind of Cheese Does Chipotle Use in Their Queso?

Despite its name, queso consists of other ingredients, mainly spices, than cheese. Because of the complex layering of flavor, Chipotle uses a a combination of cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack.

In addition to cheese, Chipotle adds cumin, yellow onion, tomato paste, dried oregano, and lime juice to queso.

The cheddar cheese incorporates a strong, cheesy flavor while Monterey Jack gives the quintessential buttery texture of queso.

What Kind of White Cheese Does Chipotle Use?

Also known as Vermont cheddar, the white cheese that’s famous for being sprinkled on bowls, burritos and quesadillas is white cheddar.

White cheddar differs from yellow cheddar in that it is not artificially colored, which makes this ingredient healthy and natural.

Additionally, white cheddar is said to be more flavorful, as it’s kept in its most natural state. It’s reputation for being all-natural is not without cause.

White cheddar contains Vitamin A and is a great source of calcium.

So the next time you decide to indulge yourself with a snack from Chipotle, you can trust that ingredients are fresh and healthy.

Does Chipotle Shred Their Own Cheese?

While Chipotle shredded it’s cheese in house, it recently began buying pre-shedded cheese.

It also transitioned from shredding the Monterey Jack and white cheddar independently to creating a blend of the two.

These changes may seem to jeopardize Chipotle’s claim to the freshest ingredients. However, minimizing the amount of in-house work enables employees to only use the freshest of food.

Making a cheese blend daily would consume too much time to throw out unused cheese.

Additionally, Chipotle’s cheese sources have the proper equipment to ensure packaging preserves cheese until ready to use.

Where Does Chipotle Get Its Cheese?

Chipotle’s commitment to food with integrity means that the company only sources the best ingredients.
Specifically, Chipotle only uses animal products from farms that don’t use antibiotics or animal hormones on their livestock.

In cheese, Chipotle only uses providers that don’t give their cows the recombinant bovine growth hormone.

Known as rBGH, this hormone stimulates cows to produce more milk, so farmers can use less cows for more product.

By steering clear of producers who use this, Chipotle supports pasture-raised cows that can live healthy lives.

Is Chipotle Cheese Pasteurized?

All of Chipotle’s dairy products are pasteurized, including it’s white cheddar, Monterey Jack, and sour cream.

To be exact, the cow’s milk that makes the cheese is pasteurized before the cheese-making process.

Pasteurization is the safest way to serve dairy, as all bacteria are killed by heating the milk.

Because of this nearly universal process, all restaurants and grocery stores must serve pasteurized milk unless otherwise noted and disclosed.

Because pasteurization, you don’t have to worry about getting sick from untreated dairy at restaurants like Chipotle.

What Kind of Sour Cream Does Chipotle Use?

While this may seem hard to believe, Chipotle uses the brand Daisy to supply its sour cream.

Sour cream on Mexican food

I was shocked to learn this at first. Chipotle’s sour cream seemed so much fresher than the tub I’d buy at the store.

What did they do differently to make Daisy sour cream taste like it’s homemade? Their secret is whipping the sour cream before serving.

To do this, employees transfer the sour cream into bags and beat the outside of the bag. This helps achieve a fluffy texture and helps bring out the best flavor of the sour cream.

What Kind of Corn Does Chipotle Use?

Famous from Chipotle’s renowned corn salsa, Chipotle uses sweet, yellow corn as a cornerstone vegetable in its dishes.

Like it’s commitment to use only ethical dairy farmers, Chipotle seeks only organic produce to use in its restaurants.

Because Chipotle’s produce is locally sourced, there are many potential corn vendors. However, Chipotle holds its produce vendors to strict standards.

Produce must be organic and free of GMOs in order to be sold by Chipotle.

What Kind of Cheese Does Qdoba Use?

Like Chipotle, Qdoba uses Monterey Jack; however, instead of using white cheddar cheese, Qdoba uses yellow cheddar cheese.

While artificial coloring is unnatural, Qdoba sources it cheese from producers that use annatto for food coloring.

Annatto is a food dye made from the achiote tree. These seeds are yellow in color and are a natural way to replicate yellow colors in food.

Despite the artificial color, Qdoba’s cheese-laden items are lauded for their delicious flavors.

The cheeses work to make their otherwise vegetable and meat dishes a universal comfort food.

What is in Qdoba’s Three-Cheese Queso?

Surprisingly, the main ingredient of qdoba’s three-cheese queso is melted American cheese. In addition, fire-roasted tomatoes, poblano peppers, and heavy cream is added.

While American cheese differs from the other cheeses on this list, it gives Qdoba’s queso a sharp yet creamy flavor.

This is enhanced by the use of heavy cream. The peppers and tomatoes help give the queso a kick that is virtually inherent in Mexican cuisine.

Final Thoughts

By learning about the mystery ingredients in our favorite restaurants foods, we can feel better about eating out.

Chipotle uses many ingredients people keep in their own homes, which proves that eating out at reputable restaurants can be just as wholesome as a home cooked meal.

Chipotle Cheese Sauce

Chipotle Cheese Sauce

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes

While this cheese differs from the cheese Chipotle uses in its restaurants, it replicates the layered cheesy and spicy flavors beloved by Chipotle’s patrons.

Try this Chipotle’s heavenly, golden cheese sauce; you will want to make it again and again.


  • 2 Tbsps. butter
  • 1 chopped Chipotle pepper
  • 2 Tbsps. All-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups of 2% milk
  • 1-1/2 cups of shredded Monterey Pepper Jack Cheese


  1. To start, melt butter in a small saucepan.
  2. Add Chipotle peppers and stir until fragrant (about 2 minutes)
  3. Now, gradually stir in flour. Add milk and stir again.
  4. Next, bring milk to a boil and stir until thickened (about 1-2 minutes)
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 187Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 243mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 10g

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