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What Kind of Cheese Does Chipotle Use? (Explained)

What Kind of Cheese Does Chipotle Use? (Explained)

Chipotle is famous for the blend of white cheddar and Monterey Jack used in many of their entrees.

Their cheeses are pre-shredded and mixed together to create the unique Mexican cheese blends you may know and love. The restaurant uses cheese in its bowls, quesadillas, cheese sauce, tacos, burritos, and salads.

Chipotle uses chipotle cheddar, a cheese that combines jalapeno chili peppers with cheddar cheese. These peppers have a smoky flavor and a mild to medium heat. Chipotle peppers are dried into spices in powdered form and can be mixed with shredded cheese to create a tasty flavor.

Chipotle cheddar is manufactured by cheese companies and can be ordered by the restaurant pre-shredded for use at the restaurant in their recipes. Some cheese companies use parmesan cheese in chipotle cheese recipes.

It is not really known if Chipotle restaurants use chipotle cheddar cheese made with parmesan in it. The Chipotle restaurant buys cheese from organic dairy farmers for the best quality and flavor today and  it uses pre-shredded for safety.

What Kind of Cheese Does Chipotle Use?

More About The Types of Cheese Used

Monterey Jack is a semi-hard white to pale yellow  cheese made from cow’s milk. It was made by Franciscan monks in Monterey, California and aged for a short period of time. It is a semi-firm cheese with a creamy and buttery flavor.

Monterey Jack

It is sold shredded, or  in blocks, or wheels. This cheese is used in Mexican cuisine because it melts well when cooking. The restaurant uses the high-moisture Jack cheese because this variety melts well in recipes,and  is sold in blocks.

White Cheddar is made from cow’s milk and is white because no coloring has been added to the recipe. It can come in a mild, medium and sharp tasting and the sharp cheddar is aged longer to give it that distinctive taste.

White cheddar is the cheese in its most natural state. The difference in taste for white cheddar is the amount of time it is aged. Mild, medium, and sharp cheddar melt well in recipes and the aging varies depending on the type of cheese.

White Cheddar

Yellow Cheddar is white cheddar with food coloring added to it. Many yellow cheddars are made with annatto, a natural substance. The seed is ground into a powder and used in making yellow cheddar. It is added to the cheese to give it a consistent color.

Some cheese manufacturers use paprika to give the yellow cheddar an orange-yellow color.It comes from mild dry chili peppers.

Yellow Cheddar

Chipotle Cheddar is cheddar cheese made with jalapeno peppers that has a smoky mild to hot spicy flavor. The peppers are dried and added to the cheddar cheese as powder or dried pieces.

Chipotle Cheddar

Does Chipotle Shred and Mix Its Own Cheese?

Due to food safety issues, Chipotle buys cheese from organic farmers and has the cheese pre-shredded for them and mixes it this way. This allows workers to control bacteria growth because shredding and mixing cheese at the restaurant contributes to bacterial growth.

Ready-made cheese is safer for use with customers and that is why they have this policy. It takes longer to make your own cheese mixes and contamination can occur during that process.

What Type of Cheese Does Chipotle Use For Bowls, Quesadillas, Burritos and Tacos?

Chipotle uses shredded Monterey Jack and white cheddar in their bowl recipes. They have other ingredients where customers can choose  the ingredients: beans, rice, chicken, steak, or pork, fresh vegetables, and salsas.

In quesadillas, they use shredded yellow cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. The yellow color of the cheese gives the quesadillas a golden color.

Related: What kind of sour cream does Chipotle Use?

They are made with chicken, steak or pork, chipotle peppers, tomatoes, red onion, garlic, scallions, cilantro, olive oil, and a flour tortilla.

The tacos and burritos use shredded Montrey Jack and white cheddar. The tacos and burritos are made with a variety of meats, fresh vegetables and sauces.

How Is Chipotle’s Special Cheese Sauce Queso  Blanco Made?

How Is Chipotle's Special Cheese Sauce Queso  Blanco Made?

They use shredded Monterey Jack cheese and white cheddar in their creamy cheese sauce and dip. It has chipotle powder, poblano and Serrano peppers, evaporated milk, cumin, butter, fresh tomato, garlic, corn starch, and salt.

The exact ingredients are not known because the recipe is a trade secret of the restaurant. It is used with chips and often included in their recipes or entrees. There are  recipes on the Internet that tell you how to make Chipotle Cheese Sauce at home.

When they first made the cheese sauce, customers claimed it was watery and not creamy, and in 2020  the restaurant reintroduced it using white cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese.

Is the Cheese Pasteurized and Gluten Free ?

Is the Cheese Pasteurized and Gluten Free ?

The cheese they use is pasteurized  before the cheese is made and bacteria is killed by the heating process. Yes, the cheese blends they use in their recipes are gluten free. This means it does not contain wheat or flour. Many consumers are on gluten-free diets, so this fact is a benefit to customers.

Why Does Chipotle Order Pre-Shredded Cheese Now?

Why Does Chipotle Order Pre-Shredded Cheese Now?

They order this type of cheese because it is safer and they do not have to worry about bacteria and contamination when shredding and cutting their own cheese. It is less costly and saves employees time on preparing the entrees at the chain restaurant.

Related Questions

Is Chipotle cheese free from dairy products?

Is Chipotle cheese free from dairy products?

No, their cheese is made by organic farmers and dairy that do not use hormones or antibiotics in their products. The restaurant offers dairy-free entrees without cheese using only vegetables and other dairy free options.

Can you buy Chipotle cheese anywhere? 

The blends used at the restaurant cannot be purchased. They are a special blend for the restaurant and not sold commercially. However, there are recipes for duplicating their blends online that come close.

Can you order all the cheese you want at the restaurant?

Yes, the restaurant lets you have all the cheese you want when ordering your meal at Chipotle. Not all restaurants will allow this without charging you extra.