Is Chipotle queso dip gluten free?

Queso dip is a popular menu item at Chipotle that many customers enjoy. However, for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, determining whether Chipotle’s queso contains gluten is an important consideration.

What is Queso Dip?

Queso dip is a cheese-based dip or sauce that originated in Mexico. The main ingredients in queso are usually cheese, milk or cream, peppers, and spices. Some versions also contain meat. The cheese used is often a melted white cheese like Monterey jack, queso blanco, or asadero.

The texture of queso can range from smooth and creamy to thick and chunky, depending on the ratio of cheese to liquids. Queso is served warm or hot and used as a dip for tortilla chips, vegetables, or other finger foods.

At Chipotle, their queso has a smooth, creamy texture and is served warm. It is made fresh in each restaurant daily.

Does Chipotle’s Queso Contain Gluten?

According to Chipotle’s website, their queso does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients. However, there is still a risk of cross-contamination as it is prepared in their kitchens.

The main ingredients in Chipotle’s queso are pasteurized milk, aged cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese, tomatillos, jalapeño peppers, and spices. None of these ingredients contain gluten.

However, cross-contamination could occur from:

  • Shared cooking equipment, utensils, or food preparation surfaces that have come in contact with gluten-containing menu items like flour tortillas.
  • Shared fryers or oils used to prepare gluten-containing fried menu items.
  • Airborne flour particles in the kitchen environment contaminating the queso.

Chipotle’s Precautions Against Cross-Contamination

Chipotle does take some precautions to reduce the risk of cross-contamination for gluten-free orders:

  • Employees change gloves before preparing gluten-free orders.
  • Gluten-free items are prepared using separate utensils and trays from gluten-containing foods.
  • Employees are trained on gluten-free procedures and follow special protocols when preparing gluten-free orders.

However, despite these measures, Chipotle states that the risk of cross-contamination still exists in their kitchens and they don’t guarantee that menu items are 100% gluten-free.

Reports from Celiacs on Chipotle’s Queso

Many celiacs and gluten-sensitive individuals who have eaten Chipotle’s queso report not having any negative reactions or symptoms of gluten cross-contamination.

However, there are also some reports online of customers who do react to the queso:

  • One Reddit user who is highly sensitive to trace gluten says they react every time they have Chipotle’s queso.
  • A reviewer on reports getting sick from the queso despite no other gluten exposure that day.
  • Some comments on mention reacting to the queso or questioning if cross-contamination is likely.

It’s important to note that celiac reactions vary greatly between individuals depending on sensitivity levels. While some may tolerate the potential small amounts of cross-contamination, those who are highly sensitive may still get sick from it.

Precautions for Eating Chipotle’s Queso with Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity

Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity have a few options when it comes to enjoying Chipotle’s queso dip:

  • Avoid it – The simplest option is to avoid the queso altogether to eliminate the risk of potential cross-contamination. Stick to naturally gluten-free menu items like meat, rice, beans, salsa, etc.
  • Request new queso – Ask for fresh queso to be made in a clean container using fresh utensils to minimize cross-contamination risks.
  • Take lactase enzyme – Lactase enzyme breaks down lactose in dairy and may also help break down any small traces of gluten protein.
  • Try corn chips – Use corn tortilla chips instead of flour chips to dip, as an extra precaution.

In general, those who are highly sensitive or have had reactions before may want to avoid Chipotle’s queso. Those who are less sensitive may be able to tolerate it but take extra precautions.

Other Gluten-Free Items at Chipotle

While the queso may be risky, there are many gluten-free options at Chipotle:

  • Meat choices like chicken, steak, barbacoa, carnitas
  • Salsa, guacamole, lettuce, cheese
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Corn tortillas
  • Chips made from corn tortillas

You can build a safe gluten-free meal by sticking to naturally gluten-free whole ingredients and requesting corn tortillas or tortilla-less bowls or salads.

Just be sure to mention your gluten-free order to the staff so proper precautions can be taken in the kitchen.

Is Qdoba Queso Gluten Free?

Qdoba is another Mexican restaurant chain that offers queso dip. According to Qdoba’s website, their Classic Queso and Queso Diablo are both gluten-free.

However, they also warn that menu items may come into contact with gluten during preparation. So like with Chipotle, there is some risk of cross-contamination if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

If you are highly sensitive, it may be safest to also avoid Qdoba’s queso to prevent getting glutened. Less sensitive individuals may be able to tolerate small amounts of cross-contamination.

Gluten-Free Queso Recipe You Can Make at Home

To enjoy queso without the risk of cross-contamination, you can also prepare it safely at home. Here is a gluten-free queso dip recipe:


  • 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 small diced tomato
  • 1/2 small diced white onion
  • 1 minced jalapeño pepper (ribs and seeds removed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk or cream with the cornstarch until smooth.
  2. Add the cheeses and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the green chiles, tomato, onion, jalapeño, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until combined.
  4. Transfer queso to a bowl and serve warm with tortilla chips.

This homemade queso allows you to control the ingredients to keep it gluten-free. Feel free to tweak the recipe to your tastes by adding different cheeses, spices, or roasted vegetables.

The Bottom Line

In summary, Chipotle’s queso dip does not contain any gluten ingredients according to the company. However, there is a risk of cross-contamination during preparation in their kitchens.

Some celiacs report getting sick from eating the queso, while others are able to tolerate it without issues. Precautions like requesting fresh queso in a clean container may reduce the risk for more sensitive individuals.

Ultimately, your comfort level with possible cross-contamination will determine if Chipotle’s queso is safe for your dietary needs. Those who are highly sensitive likely should avoid it, while less sensitive individuals may be able to occasionally enjoy it with caution.

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