5 Mexican Cheeses for Cinco de Mayo

Southeast Dairy Association - mexican beef bake

Cinco de Mayo is a day many of us happily use as an excuse to eat our favorite TexMex or Mexican-inspired foods. Whether it’s an appetizer using homemade queso or dinner from your favorite local restaurant, we munch, enjoying a little heat and plenty of cheese. Bring some authenticity to your Cinco de Mayo feast by adding dairy delicious cheeses. 

Here are 5 Mexican cheeses made with cow’s milk that you can easily add to your meal. 

Oaxaca Cheese 

Oaxaca cheese is a white, stringy, semi-hard cheese like Monterey jack, but with a texture closer to mozzarella. 

Cotija Cheese 

Cotija is a white, crumbly, hard cheese. Its salty flavor is brought out in a texture that depends on its age. Fresh cotija cheese is like feta, while aged cotija is like Parmesan. Though it softens when exposed to heat, it does not melt, so it is often crumbled over enchiladas, nachos, and tacos. 

Chihuahua Cheese 

Queso chihuahua, or queso menonita, is a soft white cheese good for melting. It is similar to mild Cheddar or Monterey Jack. It is used in quesadillas and sauces. 

Queso Fresco  

Queso fresco, literally fresh cheese, may be eaten alone or added to other dishes. It is often topped over enchiladas, empanadas, soups, and salads. Meltable versions are used in quesadillas.  

Queso Panela 

Queso panela, or queso canasta, is a white, curd-style cheese. It is often served with appetizers, mixed with guacamole, or in other foods like quesadillas, tacos, and enchiladas. It absorbs other flavors easily and often includes garlic and chili pepper.  

And don’t forget to add–Crema 

Crema is made with heavy cream and buttermilk or sour cream and heavy cream. Salt and lime juice may be added for flavor. Crema is used as a topping, a condiment, and in sauces. It is similar to sour cream. 

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