To make cuisines more delicious and creamy, a popular topping or spreading that comes to our mind is cheese. As a topping for various cuisines, Cheese is most likely used worldwide by food lovers. Mexican cheese is widely known for its rich, creamy, salty flavors and processing style, among other Popular Cheese.

Mexican cheese is produced into various cheese types. According to their freshness, age and smoothness, creaminess, and some are according to their melting properties and softness.

What is Mexican Cheese?

When the Spanish arrived in the Mexico region in the sixteenth century, they brought cattle with them. Along with cattle, they bought a new technique for making dairy products. One of the special products they began to produce is cheese.

Before that, cheese was not produced in that region, even in North America. Since that time, various types of Mexican cheese have been spreading their magic by adding creaminess to various cuisines. There are several varieties of Mexican cheese. Some of them became popular globally, such as queso fresco, panela cheese, manchego, and many more.

Vegan Mexican Cheese

Are you a person who loves cheese but lives a vegan lifestyle and wants to cut out dairy products? Then Vegan Mexican Cheese is a good option for you.

Vegan mexican cheese is a good alternative for any other cheese for your any vegan lunch ideas because it does not include dairy products. On the other side, it includes nuts (generally almond or cashews), brine and olive oil (or you can use any other oil), and lemon juice.

Also, there are other ingredients to add, depending on the type of vegan cheese you are making.

Homemade Vegan Mexican Cheese Recipe:

  • Take almond, lemon juice, brine, olive, and salt.
  • Process it for 4-5 minutes until it becomes a crumbly mixture.
  • Do not over-process it. Otherwise, it turns into butter.
  • Take the cheesecloth, place the mixture in it. Twist tight and squeeze it to remove all excess liquid.
  • Then place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • After that, remove the cheese from the cloth and crumble it.

Mexican Cheese Types

1#. Queso Fresco

What is Queso Fresco?

Queso fresco is a fresh type of Mexican cheese. It is soft, crumbles, and moist, making it perfect for sprinkling purposes. Queso fresco is a whole milk cheese, made up of cow or a combination of cow and goat milk. This cheese is famous for its salty and sour creamy flavor, favorable for heavy and light dishes such as salads or grilled vegetables. Queso fresco could be sold immediately or also in aged form.

Queso Fresco Recipe

  • Gather all the ingredients, including a half-gallon of milk, half cup of whipped cream, one cup buttermilk, one tablespoon kosher salt, 4-5 tablespoon of vinegar.
  • Except for vinegar, Take all other ingredients in a large pot, Heat them nearly reaching the boiling point and stir well in between heating. Then, leave it to remove the heat.
  • After heat is removed, add vinegar gradually one tablespoon at a time, and stir well. While stirring, a small curd started to form. Stir for 4- 5 minutes and let the mixture cool for around ten minutes.
  • Take the colander with cheesecloth, make 2-3 layers with a cloth. Now, slowly pour the mixture into a colander by letting the clear liquid drain into the bowl.
  • After that when the cheese turns cool, hold the corners of the cloth and join together to squeeze to remove the remaining liquid.
  • Then hang the cheesecloth bag using a clip over the sink and let the whey liquid drain for an hour.
  • After the cheese is well-drained, store it in the well-tight container inside the refrigerator. 
  • Now your cheese is ready. If you want firmer and molded cheese you can carry out the pressing process on the curd.

Queso Fresco Substitutes

There are other cheese types available for queso fresco, and you can use them as substitutes. Some of them are feta cheese, ricotta Salata, paneer, farmer cheese, pot cheese, Monterey Jack, and tofu.

2#. Feta Cheese

What is Feta Cheese?

Feta cheese is Mexican cheese made using sheep’s milk. Feta cheese formed and packed in blocks and aged in brine. Bright in color, it is also made by mixing sheep and goat’s milk and sometimes cows milk. Feta cheese is healthier in comparison with other types of cheese. Feta cheese has several beneficial advantages, such as being easy to digest, lower in fat content, and being a good protein source. In addition, feta cheese includes a good source of vitamins, excellent probiotics, and is good for bone health.

Feta Cheese Calories

This cheese is packed with nutrients, including sodium, potassium, proteins, vitamin b6, cobalamin calcium. Feta cheese includes around 256 calories per 100gms of cheese.

Feta Cheese Recipes

You will find that there are several ways to make feta cheese. Here, we are going to see the easy and homemade recipe. Let’s have a look;

  • Ingredients for feta cheese are 1 gallon of whole milk, a half teaspoon liquid rennet, half teaspoon calcium chloride, ¼ teaspoon feta MT1 cheese culture, half cup of water.
  • Combine calcium chloride and ¼ cup of water in a small bowl and mix well.
  • Take another bowl – mix rennet and ¼ cup of water.
  • Take milk in the beaker and heat up to around 30 degrees C. Then sprinkle cheese culture on the surface and allow it to dissolve without stirring. After dissolving, stir well. After that, cover it and keep it at 30 degrees for an hour.
  • Now, pour calcium chloride into the milk and stir it for a minute. Then add the rennet mixture and stir for 1-2 minutes. Further, let the mixture be at room temperature for an hour until the milk turns curd.
  • Now cut the curd from the bottom, stir gently and leave it for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Stir the curd again while maintaining the temperature of 30 degrees C until it sinks at the bottom of the pot.
  • Place a multilayered cheesecloth in a colander, pour the curd, and let the whey liquid drain off. After the liquid is drained, hang the cloth over the sink with a proper knot.
  • Now, keep the curd hanging until the drain completely stops.
  • For making feta richer in flavor, make brine solution by adding ⅓ cup of iodized salt in ½ gallon of water.
  • Place the curd in a brine solution, put a lid on it, and keep it in the refrigerator.
  • Keep it for 4-5 days.

Substitute For Feta Cheese

There are a few substitutes for feta cheese that you can add to your recipe without thinking too much. One of them is ricotta cheese, whose crumbly texture is similar to feta cheese. Also, sliced halloumi cheese, queso fresco cheese, goat-sheep mix cheese, tofu cheese.

3#. Cotija Cheese

What is Cotija Cheese?

Cotija cheese is made using cow’s milk; it is an aged Mexican cheese, named after the town called Cotija. Cotija cheese is white in color and firm in texture; its flavor is milky and salty. When exposed to heat, it does not melt but gets softened. Cotija cheese is categorized into two types: aged and fresh. Although, the aged version is less soft. Cotija cheese is mostly used as finishing to enhance various recipes’ flavor.

Cotija Cheese Substitute

Feta cheese and queso fresco is the popular substitute for fresh cotija and aged cotija cheese parmesan or romano cheese. Also, Ricotta Salata is a better substitute for cotija cheese.

Cotija Cheese Recipes

Ingredients For Cotija Cheese

  • 2-liter full cream unhomogenized milk
  • 0.6ml of calcium chloride
  • 3-4 grains of mesophilic starter culture
  • 1ml liquid rennet
  • 1-2 teaspoons of salt

Cultivating

  • Pour milk and calcium chloride into the saucepan and stir well.
  • Heat it to around 38 degrees, constantly stir to prevent scalding.
  • Stop the heat, add mesophilic starter culture, rehydrate for 2 minutes, and stir well.
  • Cover the saucepan and leave it in for 20 minutes at a heated temperature, for example, in the oven or in the sink with surrounding heated water.
  • Add 1- 2 teaspoon un-iodized salt in a milk saucepan and stir thoroughly.

Renneting

  • Take 30ml of non-chlorinated cool water, add rennet until it completely dissolves.
  • Add solution in milk and stir it for 30 seconds. Then cover the saucepan and leave it undisturbed for 60 minutes.
  • After it turns fluffy, cut the curd into cubes.
  • Then leave the cubes for 10 minutes.

Pressing

  • Cover the curd into 2-3 layered cloth, leave it to drain the liquid for 10 minutes.
  • Then cover the curd and press it for 30 minutes with a press plate. By turning, from time to time, press it for around 16 hours at room temperature.

Brining

  • Prepare the brine solution and allow it to cool.
  • Remove cheese from the press, and place in the brine solution.
  • Further, remove the cheese from the brine solution and place it in a container with a draining tray. Then leave it in the refrigerator for two weeks.
  • During this course, flip the cheese every two days.
  • After these two weeks, the cheese will be ready to eat.

4#. Manchego Cheese

What is Manchego Cheese?

Manchego is cheese produced in the La Mancha region of Spain, from the milk of sheep of the Manchega breed. Manchega is an aged cheese as it is aged for about 60 days to 2 years. Small air pockets are formed in manchego cheese with a firm and consistent texture. The cheese is pressed in barrel-shaped molds. It is Spain’s most popular cheese, and its fat content is around 57 percent, which is responsible for its rich flavor.

Manchego Cheese Substitute

Manchego cheese is made from sheep’s milk, so a substitute for this should be sheep’s milk cheese. Zamorano, idiazabel, and local are substitutes for manchego cheese. Another sheep’s milk cheese made by aging is pecorino romano, a suitable substitute for manchego.

Other milk substitutes for manchego are asiago, gouda, swiss or mild white cheddar cheese.

5#. Oaxaca Cheese

What is Oaxaca Cheese?

Queso Oaxaca is a Mexican cheese called Quesillo, which is white in color and semi-hard in structure. The texture of Oaxaca is quite similar to mozzarella cheese. It is named after the state name Oaxaca in southern Mexico. The creation of Oaxaca cheese involves rolling and stretching using the pasta filata process. It helps in maintaining softness and elasticity.

Oaxaca Cheese Substitute

There are several substitutes for delicious buttery flavor and creamy texture with stretched semi-soft elasticity similar properties to Oaxaca cheese. Mozzarella is the closest substitute for Oaxaca cheese.

Also, Asadero cheese is firmer. Its gradable property and meltable capacity make it a good option for the Oaxaca cheese substitute. Stringed cheese, unaged monetary jack, also offers the closest mildness to Oaxaca cheese. Moreover, queso panela’s smooth, creamy, and salty flavor reminds you of Oaxaca cheese.

Oaxaca Cheese Recipes

Traditionally, Oaxaca cheese is produced using raw milk. Ingredients used for Oaxaca cheese are 2ltr full cream unhomogenized milk, ¼ cup of cultured buttermilk, ¾ teaspoon of citric acid, 1 ml liquid rennet, salt to taste.

Acidifying

  • Take 30 ml of non-chlorinated cool water into a measuring cup, and stir into citric acid up to dissolve.
  • Use a separate vessel, measure another 30ml non-chlorinated cool water and stir in the rennet.
  • Take the saucepan, pour milk and buttermilk into it, and stir well. Then, add citric acid and stir it well.

Renneting

  • Warm the milk up to 30 degrees, stir it throughout the heating.
  • Now, stop heating the saucepan, add the diluted solution, and stir for 30 seconds.
  • By covering the saucepan, let it rest for 60 minutes in a warm place (in the oven or kitchen sink with warm water).

Cutting & Heating

  • After the incision is produced, cut the curd into cubes into 2.5cm. 
  • Place the saucepan on the stove, warm the curd at 40 degrees C while stirring the curd gently.
  • Because of heating, yellow whey will separate, and curd will clump together.
  • Take the colander with cheesecloth, then add the curd for a drain.

Aging Process

  • Now, leave the curd for the night at room temperature; this adds more flavor to the curd and acidifies it.

Stretching

  • Heat two-liter water in a saucepan at 70 degrees C and maintain the temperature throughout the stretching process.
  • Wear gloves in hand, take the curd in a slotted spoon, immerse the curd into hot water for 40-60 seconds until the curd becomes stretched and melted.
  • Now, stretch the curd as far as possible, then fold it back. Repeat this until the curd turns into a long smooth string, flat length. Then, roll the string into the ball till it appears like a traditional Oaxaca cheese ball.

 6#. Queso Blanco

What is Queso Blanco?

Queso Blanco is a white cheese, soft and crumbly in texture, mostly used in Mexican and Latin American cuisines. Queso Blanco cheese is tangy and milky in flavor and not aged as it is made with acid rather than rennet. Also, it is easy to make at home.

Spanish people bought Queso Blanco to Mexico. Before that, it was produced only in Spain and Portugal. Queso Blanco is mostly used for toppings and garnishing because of its higher melting point. Generally, it is made with cow or goat’s milk.

Queso Blanco Recipe

Ingredients: ½ gallon whole milk, ½ cup whipping cream, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 4-5 tablespoon vinegar.

  • Heat the milk to 190 degrees F, stir it throughout heating. After reaching temperature 190 degrees F, turn off the heat.
  • Add vinegar slowly until the curd begins to separate from the whey.
  • Take the colander with a cheesecloth and add curd into it. Squeeze the cloth to get out the liquid, tie the knot and hang it by keeping the bowl below it. Let them drain for a few hours until queso Blanco reaches desired consistency.

7#. Panela

What is Panela Cheese?

Panela cheese is also called queso panela or basket cheese. It is a Mexican cottage cheese produced from pasteurized cows and skimmed milk. Additionally, Panela cheese is white and smooth, gluten-free, similar to Indian paneer.

When heated, it’s not losing its shape or melt. Panela cheese absorbs flavors and crumbles easily. Queso panela is served with salads and used as a substitute for meat in tacos. Also, you can fry or grill panela cheese, even though it will not melt. Panela is very similar to a queso fresco and queso blanco.

Panela Cheese Recipe

Ingredients for the panela cheese recipes are:

  • Low-fat, skim milk (you can even use goat milk)
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Kosher salt

Steps you have to follow for the recipe:

  • Take a beaker, add milk and yogurt and let it for 4 hours at room temperature.
  • After that, warm the mixture at 180 degrees F, stir it throughout heating.
  • Then, add the vinegar and stir until the curd starts to form.
  • Now, take the colander with cheesecloth. Set cheesecloth on a colander, then pour the curd over the cheesecloth and let the whey drip through it.
  • Now, take the curd into another large bowl, add salt and mix well with your hands. You can add other flavors if you want.
  • Then, press the curd into a mold and press it, adding force.
  • After that, cover it with plastic and add weight down on it for a compact effect. Refrigerate for a night or several hours.
  • Now, remove the cheese from the refrigerator, and your cheese is ready.

8#. Chihuahua Cheese

What is Chihuahua Cheese?

Chihuahua is a Mexican cheese with a soft white texture that originated at Chihuahua in northern Mexico. This cheese is famous among American Mennonites and taken to Mexico by missionaries and is also called queso Mennonite. Chihuahua cheese is generally used in melting form in various cuisines.

Cheddar and muenster are the most likely substitute for chihuahua cheese. Normally, this cheese is made with cow’s milk. Chihuahua is widely used with fried, breaded, and egg dishes. Fritos provide salty, slightly sour, and mild flavor. This cheese is pale yellow in color and semi-soft in texture. You can use this cheese to substitute Monterey jack and white cheddar cheese.

In Chihuahua cheese, nutrients include sodium, potassium, protein, magnesium, calcium, cobalamin, vitamin B6, and vitamin D, around 375 calories in 100gms of cheese.

9#. Asadero Cheese

What is Asadero Cheese?

Asaadero cheese is produced using a special process of stretching and kneading to make a stringy texture. Asadero is a good choice for melting when baking or grilling. The texture of Asadero is elastic and provides a tangy and sweet flavor. Because of its easy melting property, it could be a good substitute for Monterey jack, muenster cheese, and teleme cheese. Asadero cheese is an excellent choice for serving with nachos, sandwiches, hamburgers, and grilled cuisines, also crumble over salad and tacos.

In 1oz (28gms), Asadero cheese contains 200 mg sodium, 24mg potassium, 6.4 grams of protein, 101 calories, 8gms fat, and vitamin C, vitamin A, and iron.

Conclusion

Here, we discussed the types of Mexican cheese. It is very popular all over the world. Readers will find easy homemade recipes for various Mexican cheeses in this post. Also, we included the history and origin of Mexican cheese. By reading this post, people will know about cheese’s nutritional value and other properties.

Also, they will be able to decide which type of cheese is suitable for their cuisine.

Moreover, After reading this, They will get familiar with the various substitutes for every other Mexican cheese and how to use them in various cuisines. In addition, they will understand which type of flavor is included in a particular type of cheese. We added easy-to-understand recipes that people can easily make at their homes.

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