Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, carnitas, dips, salads – a lot of Mexican cuisines would be incomplete without Mexican cheeses! There are lots of queso to try, whether you prefer aged, mild, fresh, or melty variations.
Many parts of Mexico have developed indigenous cheese production, with the most notable being Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Chiapas, and Querétaro.
The best cheeses are handmade and available at local markets, although industrially produced cheeses and European replicas are available packaged in supermarkets.
Most Delicious Mexican Cheeses
Are you planning a trip to Mexico and want to learn about Mexican cheeses? Or you are simply curious about Mexican cheeses? Then prepare yourself for a cheese Mexican tour!
1. Queso Fresco
The first is Queso Fresco, a popular Mexican cheese that is also one of our personal favorites. Queso Fresco means “fresh cheese.” It’s a fresh, crumbly, white Mexican cheese that’s similar to feta.
There are salty and non-salty varieties available. It’s usually used as a garnish for dips (such as guacamole) or other snacks.
2. Quesillo (Oaxaca Cheese)
A delicate delicacy! Oaxaca cheese is one of the best in Mexico, and it is delicious and well-known around the world. Quesillo is its official name.
It takes some time to make, and the strips that are wrapped into balls are formed by kneading.
3. Queso Añejo
The aged form of Queso Fresco is Queso Aejo. Aejo translates to “aged” in Spanish. It’s much firmer than the fresh version, but just as crumbly.
Queso Añejo has a strong flavor because it has matured. It’s a crumbly cheese from Mexico that combines well with salads and refried beans. It can also be grilled or baked.
This delicacy is made with various chilies (various green peppers, jalapeo, or chipotles).
Sesame seeds and peanuts can be added as well. It’s best served in little bites with a glass of red wine.
5. Ahumado (Smoked)
This one started in Spain and was embraced by the state of Chiapas following the conquest. It is deliciously hard and powerful in flavor. It has been wood smoked for seven hours… (sigh!).
6. Queso Panela
Queso Panela is a soft, smooth, and mild cheese that holds its shape when heated. It’s commonly used in grilling and frying, as it becomes creamy and slightly smoky when cooked.
Queso Panela is a great addition to salads, sandwiches, and even as a simple appetizer with a drizzle of olive oil and herbs.
The texture of soft, creamy requesón is comparable to that of Italian whole-milk ricotta, and it, too, is prepared from whey from the cheese production process.
Try Crispy Ricotta-Kale Tacos with it.
It is also known as Menonita cheese and is typically sold in the form of a thin tortilla, which is ideal for filled zucchinis, quesadillas, and montados.
It’s a favorite since its thin tortilla shape makes it quite versatile in the kitchen. It can be used in a variety of meals; simply let your imagination run wild.
Though originally from Spain, Manchego cheese is also widely produced in Mexico. It is a firm, buttery cheese with a slightly sweet and nutty taste.
Manchego is a great accompaniment to fruit and wine and can be enjoyed on its own or used in a variety of Mexican dishes.
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Cotija is another favorite. It’s aged and has a dry, crumbly texture. It has a strong, salty flavor like Parmesan.
It’s a popular white cheese in Mexico that blends well with grilled street corn (Elote). It can also be added to soups, salads, and beans. It is named after a town in the Mexican state of Michoacán.
Ranchero crumbles easily. It is fresh and comparable to panela, making it ideal for garnishing flautas, chilaquiles, or refried beans.
This cheese is prepared from cow’s or goat’s milk and is perfect for tacos or topping crispy chicken toast.
12. Queso Cotija Enchilado
Queso Cotija Enchilado is a variation of Cotija cheese that is rolled in a blend of chili powder and other spices.
This imparts a spicy kick to the already salty and crumbly cheese, making it an exciting addition to various dishes.
13. Queso Chihuahua
Queso Chihuahua has nothing to do with dogs, but rather with the state of Chihuahua! It’s also known as “Queso Menonita” because the Mennonite communities in the region were the first to manufacture it.
It’s bright, hard, and aged, and it’s commonly likened to cheddar. It’s a Mexican melting cheese that’s mostly used in cheese dips.
14. Queso Crema
Technically, this is a cream cheese. Mexican Crema (cream cheese) means “cream cheese.” There are also “double” versions known as Queso Doble Crema.
It’s a spread that’s really rich, smooth, and, well, creamy!
15. Queso Enchilado
Making it to our list of delicious Mexican cheese is Queso Enchilado. Because it’s rolled with paprika, it’s the spiciest cheese on my list.
It’s an aged cheese with a firm texture and sour flavor. The Aejo Enchilado is an even more mature version with a more distinct flavor. It’s usually used in enchiladas!
This is salty and tasty! Although it has a solid feel, it melts easily when heated. It’s perfect for quesadillas or enchiladas.
This cheese has a salty taste and a crumbly texture, and it melts on your tongue. It can be melted in quesadillas or eaten raw on top of refried beans. Yummy!
18. Ocosingo or Bola (Ball)
Creamy and refreshing! This one is spherical and has a strong coating. It has an acidic flavor and a distinct scent. This delectable cheese is unquestionably suited for sophisticated palates.
It is created from raw cow’s milk, kneaded, formed into a ball, and soaked in brine. It’s also available with green chilies.
19. Sierra de Durango
Smelly, greasy, creamy… oh my! It is typically covered with garlic, chile, and salt paste to prevent bacteria and fungi infestation while also allowing the cheese to develop and age.
It is considered a seasonal cheese because it is only available from June through August. It is made in wooden molds and is topped with guajillo pepper. This is what gives it its lovely crimson hue.
This white cheese with a delicate texture is delicious and fresh. It also contains raw milk. Cincho refers to a belt or hoop used to hold the cheese paste.
Mexican cheeses are a treasure trove of diverse flavors and textures that enrich the country’s culinary offerings. From the crumbly and tangy Queso Fresco to the smooth and stretchy Queso Oaxaca, each cheese brings its unique charm to traditional Mexican dishes.
Whether you’re exploring tacos, enchiladas, or any other Mexican delicacy, trying these 20 most delicious Mexican cheeses will take your culinary experience to a whole new level.