Cheese probably isn’t the first thing you think about when hearing Mexican food. Luckily, cheese lovers will find that there’s a wide variety of cheeses available in Mexico. Here, you’ll find ten excellent Mexican cheeses that you should know. We hope that you also try these on your next trip to Mexico.
Below an overview of all the types of cheese, you should know.
Top 10 Mexican Cheeses – A Complete Cheese Guide
1. Queso Añejo
One of the famous Mexican Cheeses you need to try is Queso Añejo. This is a firm and aged cheese, traditionally made from skimmed goat’s milk. It stands out since it is rolled up in paprika, which offers a salty finish. Still, it doesn’t come with a strong flavor or taste. Instead, this is a fresh cheese that can scatter with ease. It is used frequently in Mexican appetizers because of its delightful spicy taste.
There are plenty of dishes with Añejo Cheese. Some of these include shredded beef tacos, chicken chilaquiles, and red beans with cheese.
2. Cotija Cheese
Cotija Cheese is similar to Queso Añejo, but not quite. It was named after Cotija, a Mexican city and nowadays this cheese type of one of the most famous on the glove. It is made from cow milk, and it has a hard and crumbly texture. Overall, it resembles quite well feta cheese due to its fresh and salty taste and white appearance. Cotija is still different since it changes color and taste in time. Experts say Cotija Cheese is part of the Parmesan family, which is why several Mexican delicacies use it as their finish. This cheese doesn’t melt with ease, which is why it is grated on dishes.
The most popular dishes that include Cotija cheese are acorn squash wonder tacos, Enchiladas Verdes, Tex Mex quinoa salad, and lentils with chorizo.
3. Queso Panela
Queso Panela Cheese is made from pasteurized cow milk, being a type of Mexican cottage cheese. It is white, fresh, and smooth. And it stands out thanks to its creamy texture. Queso Panela softens when heated, but it doesn’t melt. An interesting fact about this cheese type is that it absorbs with ease several flavors, and it is used for appetizers.
This cheese is usually added in dishes such as panela with chipotle cream, baked panela cheese, couscous with panela cheese, or pasta with tomato sauce.
4. Asadero Cheese
Asadero Cheese is a known semi-firm Mexican cheese with an off-white coloring. Usually, it is distributed in a log shape, which makes it easier to slice. Asadero is the most common cheese used for daily cooking in Mexico’s household. When it melts, Asadero Cheese becomes creamy, and it doesn’t transform into oil. It has a light and fresh taste, and even though it is creamy, it is not the same as Mozzarella.
There are quite a few dishes that use Asadero Cheese, including quesadillas, Latin cheese bread, and Tequila shrimp and asadero quesadillas.
5. Queso Fresco
Queso Fresco is similar to Queso Anejo, but as the name suggests, it is a type of fresh cheese. It is traditionally made from cow and goat milk, which is why it offers a milky flavor to the dishes it is added to. Overall, it is best to use Queso Fresco with lighter dishes for the best taste. It adds a sour, but pleasant taste of the food, allowing you to create an authentic Mexican cheese
This cheese is usually added in appetizers, but you can discover Queso Fresco in dishes like quesalupa, chile con queso, or chili queso hot dog. It’s a creamy, soft cheese that makes a fantastic topping for a wide selection of dishes.
6. Queso De Oaxaca
This cheese comes from the region Oaxaca in Southern Mexico. Depending on the area in which the cheese is produced it can have a different name as well. Sometimes this cheese will be called ”Quesillo”. The Queso de Oaxaca differs from other Mexican cheese types due to a few reasons.
It has a semi-white, string-type, and semi-soft texture. It is part of the pasta filata family, and it is similar to Mozzarella since it is made from cow milk. Mainly, this is a curd cheese kneaded into long ropes and formed into softballs. Oaxaca cheese is an artisanal Mexican cheese, great as a garnish.
Plenty of authentic Mexican dishes include Queso de Oaxaca, like the Oaxacan cheese sticks, Oaxaca cheese pretzels, or bagels with caramelized onions and jalapenos.
7. Queso Chihuahua
If you want to try the most authentic and traditional types of Mexican melting cheese, this one is for you. Queso Chihuahua is a semi-soft and pale-yellow cheese, similar to cheddar. It has a unique making procedure, as the whole cow milk is heated at 149 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, and afterward, it is brought down to 95. From this point on, the bacteria, Annatto, and rennet are included. The resulted cheese is left to ripen for four weeks.
Queso Chihuahua is a nice addition in dishes like cheese grilled sandwiches, Queso fundido, or Chiles Rellenos.
8. Crema Mexicana Cheese
Crema Mexicana is a piece of cultured cream cheese with a sour taste. It is obtained from pasteurized milk, which is why it features a rich texture. It is similar to Crème Fraiche, as it has a sweet taste, too. Usually, Crema Mexicana Cheese is included in traditional desserts, but it is useful to boost the thickness of white sauces.
The best dishes with Crema Mexicana are rajas con crema, potato taquitos, and flavor drenched pork sopa seca.
9. Requeson Cheese
Requeson Cheese is a delicacy, which was initially a Latin cheese type. It is famous in Portugal and Brazil, too. But the Mexican type stands out due to its mixture. Requeson is heated and skimmed before it is added to wicker baskets and drained. The process is similar to the one of Ricotta cheese. It has a creamy texture, and it is easy to spread on breakfast dishes.
Some of the best Mexican dishes with Requeson Cheese are Requeson revoluto, Requeson appetizer, and Requeson quesadilla.
10. Queso Blanco
Queso Blanco Cheese is a white, creamy, and unaged Mexican Cheese. It is one of the simplest cheese types to achieve, and it doesn’t require special attention. Queso Blanco is prepared from fresh whole milk. This milk is heated to a near-boiling temperature and afterward is acidified. The curd is trained into a cheesecloth, and it is set aside for five hours. Many Mexican families use it due to its creamy finish that blends well with a wide array of dishes.
The most popular dishes with Queso Blanco Cheese are the five cheese taco lasagna, spicy black bean and corn salsa, posole Verde and grilled steak tacos.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best Mexican cheese for melting?
The best Mexican cheese for melting is called Asadero Cheese. There are a lot of different cheeses that are suitable to make cheese dip. We use Asadero Cheese as it’s the same cheese authentic Mexican restaurants will use to make their dip as well.
Mexico, the land of tacos, surprises again. And this time with cheese. When buying cheese these are the products we recommend. There’s literally cheese available for everyone! No matter what flavor you like or what meal you want to prepare.
Any cheese we forgot to write about? Let us know in the comments!