7 Mexican Cheeses You Need to Know

By F&W Editors Posted April 27, 2016

How many can you name?

This Cinco de Mayo, skip the pre-packaged "Mexican blend" and opt instead for authentic Mexican cheeses like mild cotija or ultra-melty Oaxaca. Here, seven excellent Mexican cheeses you should get to know and love, along with delicious ideas for how to use them.

1. Queso Fresco

Food & Wine:

This creamy, soft white cheese makes a fantastic topping for chorizo-studded guacamole, bright cabbage and avocado tacos or sweet-tangy grilled corn.

2. Queso Añejo

Food & Wine:

Queso añejo is the aged version of queso fresco. Well-aged batches can become quite firm and salty, making it an excellent garnish. Use it for this gorgeous rack of lamb.

3. Cotija

Food & Wine:

Try this Mexican hard cow's milk cheese in street food-style biscuits, sweet-salty corn salad or on top of spicy black bean dip.

4. Oaxaca

Food & Wine:

Similar to unaged Montery Jack, Oaxaca cheese is a white, semihard cheese that's excellent for melting. Try mild queso oaxaca for this awesome cheese-topped guacamole.

5. Panela

Food & Wine:

This Mexican version of cottage cheese is terrific for grilling. Chef Gonzalo Martinez grills chorizo, panela and chiles in salsa for these delicious steak tacos.

6. Manchego

Food & Wine:

This delicious cheese was introduced to Mexico from Spain. In Mexico, it's made with a mixture of cows' and goats' milk rather than sheep's milk. Try it with these incredible open-face quesadillas.

7. Asadero

Food & Wine:

Also known as queso quesadilla, asadero cheese is great for melting. Try it with these amazing vegetable chiles rellenos.

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