How many calories is a bowl of queso from Qdoba?

Queso is a popular Tex-Mex cheese dip made from melted cheese, peppers, and other ingredients. It’s often served warm with chips as an appetizer. Qdoba is a fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain that serves their signature queso in bowls alongside entrees or as a standalone appetizer. But how many calories are actually in a bowl of queso from Qdoba?

The number of calories in Qdoba’s queso can vary depending on the size of the bowl and other factors. In general, a small bowl of queso from Qdoba contains around 300-400 calories. A medium bowl contains 500-600 calories. And a large bowl may have 700-800 calories or more. The type of queso and added mix-ins can also impact the calorie count.

To determine a more precise calorie count, we’ll look at the nutritional information for Qdoba’s different queso offerings and bowl sizes. But first, let’s overview some key factors that affect the calorie content in Qdoba’s queso bowls.

Factors That Impact Calories in Qdoba Queso

Several factors impact the number of calories in a Qdoba queso bowl, including:

Type of Queso

Qdoba offers several queso varieties:

Classic Queso: Their original smooth, creamy queso dip.

Diablo Queso: Spicy queso mixed with jalapeños.

Queso Blanco: A blend of white cheeses like Monterey jack.

3-Cheese Queso: A mix of cheddar, pepper jack and mozzarella.

Baja Queso: Queso mixed with bacon, pico de gallo and serrano peppers.

The different types of queso contain slightly different amounts of calories per ounce based on their ingredients. For example, the Diablo Queso may pack a bit more calories than the classic version from the added jalapeños.

Serving Size

Qdoba offers queso bowls in 3 sizes:

Small Bowl: 8 oz

Regular Bowl: 12 oz

Large Bowl: 16 oz

The more queso in the bowl, the higher the calorie count. A large 16 oz bowl contains nearly double the queso of a small 8 oz bowl.


Qdoba allows you to customize your queso by adding different mix-ins for an additional cost. Options include:

– Chicken
– Beef
– Guacamole
– Pico de gallo
– Jalapeños
– Chorizo

Adding any of these extras to your queso will increase the calories. The more high-calorie mix-ins like meat and guacamole, the bigger the calorie boost. Plain queso will be lower in calories than queso loaded down with lots of additions.


Qdoba often serves their queso bowls with a side of warm tortilla chips for dipping. The chips can add 150-300+ calories depending on the portion size. Opting out of the chips means eliminating those calories.

So in summary, the specific queso variety, serving size, added mix-ins and sides that come with the queso all impact the total calories. Now let’s look at the calorie counts for different queso bowl options at Qdoba.

Calories in Qdoba Queso Bowl Sizes

Here are the approximate calorie ranges for Qdoba’s queso bowls based on a review of their nutrition information:

Small Queso Bowl (8 oz)

– Classic Queso: 300-400 calories

– Diablo Queso: 350-450 calories

– Queso Blanco: 300-400 calories

– 3-Cheese Queso: 350-450 calories

– Baja Queso: 400-500 calories

Regular Queso Bowl (12 oz)

– Classic Queso: 450-550 calories

– Diablo Queso: 500-600 calories

– Queso Blanco: 450-550 calories

– 3-Cheese Queso: 500-600 calories

– Baja Queso: 550-650 calories

Large Queso Bowl (16 oz)

– Classic Queso: 600-700 calories

– Diablo Queso: 650-750 calories

– Queso Blanco: 600-700 calories

– 3-Cheese Queso: 650-750 calories

– Baja Queso: 700-800 calories

As you can see, the calorie range jumps significantly for each larger size bowl.

Queso Bowl with Mix-Ins

Any mix-ins will increase the calorie count. Here are some estimates:

– Adding chicken or beef: +100-200 calories

– Adding guacamole: +50-100 calories

– Adding pico de gallo: +20-50 calories

– Adding jalapeños: +5-20 calories

– Adding chorizo: +50-100 calories

The more mix-ins you add, the more extra calories the queso bowl will contain.

Lowest Calorie Options

If you want to lower the calories for your queso bowl order at Qdoba, here are some tips:

– Order the small 8 oz size bowl.

– Choose one of the lower calorie queso varieties like classic or queso blanco.

– Hold off on mix-ins like guacamole or bacon.

– Skip the chips as a side to eliminate those calories.

Adhering to these guidelines can allow you to enjoy queso for around 300 calories rather than over 750 for a loaded large bowl.

You can also order a queso appetizer cup (3-4 oz) instead of a bowl for just 100-150 calories to satisfy a queso craving. Pair it with Qdoba’s vegetarian menu options for a relatively light meal.

Highest Calorie Options

On the opposite end, here are some ways to create an ultra high-calorie queso bowl if that’s your goal:

– Order the large 16 oz bowl

– Choose a higher calorie queso variety like Diablo or Baja

– Load up on high-calorie mix-ins like chorizo, guacamole and bacon

– Get chips and eat a large portion alongside

This combination can tip the scales at over 1200 calories for a single bowl of queso!

While an occasional indulgent queso bowl won’t hurt, nutritionists recommend limiting high calorie meals like this to avoid unwanted weight gain. Enjoy them in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet.

Nutritional Benefits

Despite the high calorie counts, Qdoba’s queso does also provide some nutritional value:

Protein. The cheese contains protein needed for building muscle and keeping you full. Around 8-12g per serving.

Calcium. Natural cheese is an excellent source of calcium for strong bones. About 20% of your Daily Value per bowl.

Vitamin A. The cheeses supply vitamin A for eyes, skin and immune health. Roughly 15% of your Daily Value.

Vitamin B12. Queso made with real cheese provides vitamin B12 for energy and brain function. About 15% of your Daily Value per serving.

So while it’s high in calories, queso can deliver key vitamins and minerals when consumed in moderation.

Cooking With Leftover Queso

Rather than waste leftover queso from your Qdoba bowl, consider these cooking ideas:

– Mix into scrambled eggs or an omelet

– Use as a sauce for chicken, beef or fish

– Pour over baked potatoes

– Stir into rice or cooked pasta

– Top a veggie or bean burrito

– Swirl into soups or chili

– Fold into a quesadilla

– Drizzle over nachos

With a little creativity, leftover queso can be incorporated into many dishes rather than just eating it straight with chips. This helps you get more mileage out of your queso.

Comparable Nutrition at Other Restaurants

Qdoba is not the only restaurant with indulgent queso on the menu. Here’s how Qdoba’s queso nutrition compares to some competitors:

Restaurant Serving Size Calories
Qdoba Small Bowl (8 oz) 300-500
Chipotle Small Bowl (8 oz) 300-450
Moe’s Southwest Grill Side Portion (3.5 oz) 270
Chili’s Bowl (About 1 cup) 710

As you can see, a comparable 8 oz queso serving at Chipotle or Qdoba will cost you 300-500 calories. Other restaurants have similar or greater calorie counts for their queso.

No matter where you get it, queso is considered a high calorie menu item. But armed with the nutrition info, you can make informed choices when indulging in this popular appetizer.

Tips for Cutting Calories

Here are some tips to reduce the calorie hit when eating queso:

– Measure out a single serving size instead of free-pouring from the bowl.

– Use queso sparingly as a dip, sauce or topping instead of eating it in large amounts.

– Enjoy it as a substitute for higher calorie dressings, spreads and condiments.

– Pair queso with lower calorie foods like veggies and lean protein instead of chips.

– Boost nutrition by adding veggies like diced tomatoes, onions and spinach to your queso.

– Share a queso appetizer with others instead of indulging in a full portion yourself.

– Request queso on the side and dip your fork to control portions rather than dunking chips mindlessly.

– Choose queso as your only indulgence for the meal, pairing it with lighter main dishes and sides.

With smart strategies like these, it’s possible to keep queso as an occasional treat in your diet without going overboard on calories.

Healthier Homemade Queso Alternatives

To lighten up Qdoba-style queso, consider making your own lower calorie queso dip at home. Here are some healthier recipes to try:

3-Ingredient Greek Yogurt Queso


– 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
– 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
– 1 chopped jalapeño


Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Heat in microwave until warm and melted, about 1-2 minutes. Use as dip for veggies, chips or tacos.

Creamy Keto Queso Dip


– 8 ounces cream cheese
– 1/2 cup sour cream
– 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
– 1 chopped jalapeño
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and microwave until warmed through and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Stir well until smooth.

Black Bean Queso


– 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 jalapeño, chopped
– Juice of 1 lime
– 1/2 cup salsa
– 1/2 tsp chili powder
– 1/2 cup shredded low-fat pepper jack cheese
– 2 tbsp chopped cilantro


Add all ingredients except cheese and cilantro to a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth and heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in cheese until melted and creamy. Top with cilantro.

Experiment with these healthier queso recipes using lower calorie ingredients and less oil, salt and heavy cream than restaurant versions. You can still satisfy your queso craving with a fraction of the calories.


So how many calories are in Qdoba’s queso? Their popular rich and creamy cheese dip can range from 300-800+ calories depending on the portion size, queso variety and mix-ins. While an occasional indulgent bowl won’t hurt, nutritionists recommend enjoying queso in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Armed with the nutrition info, you can make better choices when ordering queso and still find ways to satisfy your cravings for this Tex-Mex favorite.

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