How many can you name?

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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

7 Mexican Cheeses You Need to Know
Credit: PHOTO © QUENTIN BACON

How many can you name?

PHOTO © QUENTIN BACON PHOTO © QUENTIN BACON

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

Rack of Lamb with Pasilla Chiles
Credit: © Antonis Achilleos

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

Spicy Black Bean Dip with Cotija Cheese

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

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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

Tacos

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

Open-Face Four-Cheese Quesadillas

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

Vegetable Chiles Rellenos with Walnut Sauce

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