29 Popular Mexican Cheeses You Should Try

Mexican Cheeses

Mexico is a country known for its cuisine. The abundance of cheeses that can be found in Mexico is enough to overwhelm any cheese-lover. But don’t worry, I’m here to help you out!

This article lists the top 29 Mexican cheeses that are worth tasting while you’re in Mexico.

If you’re a fan of cheese, then you’ll definitely want to try some of the delicious cheeses Mexico has to offer. From cotija to queso fresco, there’s a variety of flavors and textures to choose from. Here are some of the best Mexican cheeses to add to your list:

1. Queso Fresco 

Mexican Cheeses - Queso Fresco on a soft taco

Queso fresco is a fresh, crumbly, white cheese that’s similar to feta. Like feta, queso fresco is soft, moist, and crumbly, making it ideal for sprinkling over guacamole, antojitos (small snacks or appetizers), enchiladas, inside tacos, on elote, over huevos rancheros, and on cooked black beans.

Queso fresco is a whole-milk cheese with varying levels of saltiness. Queso fresco means “fresh cheese” in Spanish, but it’s actually aged for about two weeks before it’s sold. This gives it a more pungent flavor.

Related: How To Fix Salty Guacamole: 5 Easy Hacks That Actually Work

2. Cotija

Cotija is a crumbly white cow’s milk cheese named after the Mexican town of Cotija in Michoacán. It’s a Mexican staple that can be found on everything from nachos to enchiladas to elote (Mexican street corn). Cotija cheese can be aged for three to twelve months.

Cotija can be found in a variety of dishes including enchiladas, tacos, beans, salads, and soups. It’s a white crumbly variety with a flavor and texture similar to feta. Cotija is an aged cheese named after the town of Cotija in Michoacán.

3. Oaxaca

Oaxaca cheese is similar to mozzarella cheese except that it is not cured. Oaxaca has a delicious, creamy buttery flavor and works well as a melting cheese. Its mild flavor and mild saltiness make it one of the most preferred cheeses for making quesadillas.

In Oaxaca, it’s called quesillo and resembles a ball of white string cheese (not unlike mozzarella). It’s creamy and mildly flavored, and it melts easily, making it ideal for quesadillas or chiles rellenos. It can also be shredded and sprinkled on top of soups, tostadas, and beans as a garnish.

4. Monterey Jack

Monterey Jack cheese is frequently used in Tex-Mex recipes. Monterey Jack and white cheddar cheese are used by Chipotle. The fast-casual restaurant chain is known for its shredded and melted blend of multiple cheeses.

Monterey Jack, or just Jack, is a white, semi-hard cheese created in California from cow’s milk. It’s known for its gentle flavor and subtle sweetness. Monterey The Mexican Franciscan friars of Monterey, California, invented Jack cheese.

Related: 37 Mexican Foods That Start With The Letter M (List)

5. Asadero

Asadero cheese, also known as queso quesadilla, is excellent for melting. Try it with these delectable vegetable chile rellenos. Asadero, like Provolone, is used in a variety of cuisines, particularly roasted or baked Mexican foods. It has a somewhat elastic texture with a flavor that can be sweet and buttery or robust and acidic like cheddar cheese. Asadero cheese is popular in Mexican restaurants. This is rich and creamy, and it melts beautifully in quesadillas and other Mexican dishes.

6. Queso Blanco

Queso blanco is a white, fresh cheese that originated in the state of Veracruz. It’s made from cow’s milk and has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. Queso blanco is often used as a filling for tacos and burritos, or as a topping for nachos.

Tacos in Mexican restaurants are topped with queso blanco. Queso blanco is a very traditional Mexican cheese.

The flavor of Queso Blanco is creamy and mild. It tastes like fresh, classic, somewhat salty cow’s milk cheese. It’s delicious on its own or in dishes since it adds a creamy texture.

Because, unlike American-style cheeses, most Queso Blanco does not melt when cooked, it works well in cooking.

7. Añejo

Añejo cheese is a firm, aged Mexican cheese that is historically made from skimmed goat’s milk but is now commonly available in skimmed cow’s milk. Queso añejo is typically served crumbled over enchiladas. The distinctive brick red colored shell of Anejo cheese is made by rolling the cheese in paprika. This adds a spicy note to the already salty sharp cheese, making it similar to Parmesan or Romano cheese.

8. Queso Botanero

This flavorful cheese pulls apart like high-quality mozzarella and is just as ooey gooey, but with a hint of heat from cilantro and jalapeno that have been carefully folded in.You may have had it before and not realized it, but queso botanero is traditionally used in Mexican dishes such as quesadillas, chile rellenos, and tostadas. It’s famous for its thick, bouncy, melty texture, which adds a satisfying texture to its already mind-blowing flavor. Queso botanero is perfect in any recipe that calls for a little extra heat.

9. Manchego

Manchego is a Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk. Manchego is typically made with cow’s milk (or goat’s milk) in Mexico. Mexican-style manchego has a sharp cheddar flavor and can be eaten on crackers or sandwiches.

Manchego has a strong, zesty flavor and a crumbly consistency that is rich, robust, and somewhat salty on the finish. Its aroma has been characterized as unique, with some comparing it to roast lamb. Manchego is sold in a variety of maturities, ranging from “cured” after 13 weeks to “aged” after more than three months.

10. Panela

is a firm and flexible soft white cheese made from skim milk (it will not melt when heated). Panela is a beautiful white fruit with a slightly sour, and lightly salted flavor. Panela has a flavor and texture comparable to mozzarella. It’s sprinkled on salads, tacos, chili, and burritos. It can also be sliced and fried and served as part of an appetizer or snack plate.

11. Crema

Technically, this is a cream cheese. Mexican Crema (cream cheese) translates as “cream cheese.” There are also “double” versions known as Queso Doble Crema. It’s a spread that’s very smooth, rich, and, well, creamy!

Mexican crema is a naturally acidic, slightly thick cream that tastes like a cross between sour cream from the United States and crème fraîche from France. Mexican crema is more runny. It’s basically crème fraîche with lime and salt. It is typically served as a garnish and adds a rich and tangy bite to soups, vegetables, and tacos.

12. Chihuahua

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 area were the first to produce it. It’s yellow, firm, and aged, and it’s often compared to cheddar. It’s a Mexican melting cheese that’s mostly used in cheese dips.

Chihuahua cheese, made in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, is also known as queso menonita, because it was first made by Mennonite farmers. This cheese, which has a flavor similar to mild cheddar or Monterey Jack, can be used as a filling for tamales and chile rellenos. Chihuahua cheese is sometimes aged, giving it a more sour flavor.

13. Requesón

Requesón is a type of Mexican ricotta. Unlike most cheeses, requesón (and ricotta) are made with whey rather than curds. Requesón has a cottage cheese-like texture and is used as a filling for gorditas and empanadas. Requesón is a salty, spreadable Mexican cheese that tastes like a creamier, more acidic version of ricotta. 

14. Cheddar

Cheddar cheese is not commonly used in authentic Mexican cuisine. Taco Bell, on the other hand, uses shredded sharp white cheddar, sharp cheddar, and mild cheddar cheese in its meximelt. Taco Bell nachos are made with a combination of sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheese, as well as hot sauce for a little heat. The three-cheese blend is a key ingredient in many Taco Bell menu items.

15. Queso Enchilada

Last but not least, there’s the Queso Enchilado. Because it’s rolled in paprika, it’s the spiciest cheese on my list. It’s an aged cheese with a hard texture and a tangy flavor. The Aejo Enchilado is an even more aged version with a more distinct flavor. Not surprisingly, it’s frequently used in enchiladas!

16. Queso de Bola

This cheese, also known as queso Ocosingo, is made exclusively in Chiapas and is virtually unknown outside of the state. It’s made with cow’s milk and a little extra cream. It has a strong flavor, a creamy, crumbly texture, and is pale yellow in color. It is prepared with a wax coating and hardens after a long period of aging. This shell is frequently hollowed out and filled with meat preparation before being wrapped in banana leaves and cooked to make queso relleno (stuffed cheese). Ocosingo cheese has a hard shell similar to Edam cheese.

17. Queso Relleno

Many regional cheeses are made on a small scale and aren’t well-known outside of the communities where they are made.

18. Queso Corazon

Queso Corazon is a Chiapan cheese, a type of moist cream cheese. It gets its name from the fact that it is traditionally molded into a heart shape, but most modern manufacturers now mold it into a rectangular shape.

19. Queso Zacatecas

Queso zacatecas is an aged cheese that is white with a yellow tinge and is hard on the outside and soft on the inside. The prickly pear cheese is typical of Zacatecas’ diverse cuisine. It originated from the semi-desert terrain and valleys that make up the mining state’s vast region. The texture is crumbly which makes it served grated.

20. Queso Prensado

Prensado cheese is also known as molido cheese. It is occasionally topped with a red chili pepper paste. It is made by pressing it under pressure. It will be pressed for 24 to 48 hours, depending on the humidity of the curd and the desired firmness.

21. Queso Real del Castillo

This cheese comes from a time when people from Switzerland, Germany, England, and Italy left their homes in Europe and moved to Baja California. They settled in different places, including Real del Castillo, where most of the people were Italian. The cheese is frequently served with ham, chili peppers, epazote, and jalapeno slivers.

22. Queso Durango

Smelly, greasy, creamy… oh my! It is typically covered with a chili, garlic, and salt paste that protects it from bacteria and fungi while also allowing the cheese to ripen and age. It is considered a seasonal cheese because it is only available from June to August. It is made in wooden molds and is topped with guajillo pepper. This is what gives it its lovely red hue.

23. Ahumado

Queso ahumado is a smoked cheese. It typically has a yellowish-brown outer rind as a result of the smoking process. This cheese originated in Spain and was adopted by the state of Chiapas after the Spanish conquest. It is deliciously firm and strong in flavor. It is typically wood smoked for seven hours.

24. Ranchero

Ranchero Queso Fresco is a soft, moist curd-style fresh cheese that is bright, creamy, and milky. Ranchero is fresh and crumbly, like panela, which makes it a great topping for chilaquiles, flautas, or refried beans.

25. Queso Jalapeno

Queso Jalapeno is a soft cow’s milk cheese with jalapeno chili pepper bits that can be served cold or melted in quesadillas. Queso Jalapeno is a soft, slightly stretchy cow’s milk Mexican cheese. It’s white in appearance and has a creamy flavor with a fiery kick from the jalapeno pieces incorporated in it.

26. Poroso

Queso poroso is a soft, fresh cheese prepared from raw cow’s milk. It is rectangular in shape. Queso poroso is salty and tasty! Although it has a firm texture, it melts easily when heated. The taste is like parmesan cheese. It’s perfect for quesadillas or enchiladas.

27. Adobera

This cheese has a salty flavor and a crumbly texture, and it melts in your mouth. It can be eaten raw on top of refried beans or melted in quesadillas. Adobera cheese is from western Mexico. It has a characteristic shape that resembles adobe bricks. It is the most popular cheese in Jalisco, according to tradition.

28. Tenate

Tenate is a hand-made cheese typical in the state of Queretaro in Mexico. It is a fresh cheese created from raw cow’s milk in Tlaxcala, especially in Tlaxco, with a salty flavor due to the influence of the basket and the additional salt; it can be preserved for up to a week and is traditionally sprinkled on various foods. It’s stunning to look at because it’s made in a woven palma basket.

29. Cincho

Cincho cheese is a semi-skimmed raw cow’s milk cheese native to Guerrero and Morelos, Mexico. It’s a common ingredient in salads, tacos, and stews. It is also regarded as a table cheese. It gets its name from the “cincho,” or ring or mold, typically made of ixtle, that gives it its cylindrical shape and the characteristic texture of indentations; it’s also referred to as “ring cheese.” Cincho cheese has a soft texture that is delicious and fresh.

The Roundup

With the variety of Mexican cheeses available, it’s easy to find a delicious new way to enjoy cheese. Whether you’re looking for an easy, snackable cheese or a full meal-time option, these Mexican cheeses are sure to be something you love.

Mexican Cheeses