Chipotle Tests New Queso Blanco in Three Cities

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It’s been about two years since Chipotle Mexican Grill added queso to its menu. At the time, the chain said the gooey cheese sauce was their most requested item, making queso’s debut big news. And yet, Chipotle’s queso was met with mixed reviews, in part due to the chains commitment to all-natural ingredients (something that isn’t totally in the dip’s DNA), causing Chipotle to continue tweaking the new menu item. Eventually, Chipotle settled on its current queso incarnation, but that doesn’t mean Chipotle doesn’t have any other cheesy tricks up their sleeve. The chain has announced their trialing a whole new version of queso (in addition to their current one, for now): queso blanco.

This “white” version of queso is getting an initial test run at 52 locations across three markets: Dallas, Detroit, and San Diego. Chipotle boasts that queso blanco still “uses only real ingredients,” but for this version, that means “aged Monterey Jack cheese, White Cheddar, and Serrano, Poblano, and Chipotle Peppers.” The chain says the result is “a perfectly smooth texture and bold cheese flavor with a mild spicy heat and a smoky finish.”

“Making delicious queso with real ingredients and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives is a tough project to take on,” Chef Nevielle Panthaky, vice president of culinary at Chipotle, said in the announcement. “We listened to our guests and worked tirelessly in our kitchens to make an even better tasting queso. We are proud to have created a delicious recipe for Queso Blanco that uses only high quality, real ingredients that you can pronounce and find in your own kitchens at home.”

Chipotle says that if all goes well with the tests, queso blanco will eventually get a national launch. But would Chipotle, who’s always been known for keeping a tight menu, be interested in selling two quesos at the same time? Or is Panthaky’s statement that this is an “even better” queso potentially foreshadow the end of the current queso as we know it? A spokesperson for Chipotle said, depending on customer feedback, that’s an option the brand is definitely planning to cionsider.

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