If you love eating queso as much as I do, you will find this post extremely useful, especially in those dont-forsake-me moments where you need queso in a pinch.
If you ever find yourself needing queso fresco in a recipe but theres none on sight, you can always settle for other queso fresco substitutes that are completely reminiscent of queso in terms of flavor and texture.
Some of the best substitutes for queso fresco include mild feta cheese, ricotta salata, queso blanco, farmers cheese, paneer, monterey jack cheese, cotija (fresh), and tofu.
Below, well be discussing each of these options to see why theyre suitable alternatives to queso fresco!
- What Is Queso Fresco?
- Best Queso Fresco Substitutes
- What can I substitute for queso fresco cheese?
- What is queso fresco compared to?
- What is the best substitute for Mexican cheese?
- What kind of cheese is queso fresco like?
- What Mexican cheese is similar to queso fresco?
- What can I substitute for cotija cheese or queso fresco?
- Why not to eat queso fresco?
- Does queso fresco melt like mozzarella?
- What is the best Mexican melting cheese?
- What kind of cheese do Mexican restaurants use in enchiladas?
What Is Queso Fresco?
Queso Fresco is a fresh Mexican cheese with a mild, salty flavor. Its often used as a garnish for dishes such as tacos and enchiladas or served with fruit for dessert.
Queso fresco is also known by its Spanish name, queso Blanco.
This cheese is made from cows milk and has a crumbly texture that may remind you of feta cheese. Its typically unsalted, but it can be seasoned with herbs or spices.
A popular dish on Mexican menus is queso fundido cheese melted in a skillet with onions and chorizo (Mexican sausage).
Queso fresco can also be added to salads or used in place of Parmesan cheese on pizza toppings.
Best Queso Fresco Substitutes
1. Queso Blanco
Queso Fresco is one of the best cheeses in Mexico, so, understandably, people would want to use it in their cooking.
The fact is Queso Blanco has a more subtle flavor than Queso Fresco. This makes it easier to pair with other ingredients and flavors to control how much flavor comes through your dish.
One of the biggest differences between these two kinds of cheese is their texture.
While Queso Fresco has a very soft and spreadable texture (which makes it great for making quesadillas), Queso Blanco is much harder and drier. So when used in a dish like quesadillas, it works better as a topping than a filling.
2. Mild Feta Cheese
Mild Feta Cheese is a Greek cheese that has been aged for a long time. And it can be used in place of Queso Fresco.
The two slices of cheese are very similar and made the same way. They are both soft white cheeses with a mild flavor; however, Queso Fresco is usually saltier than Mild Feta Cheese.
Mild Feta Cheese does not have as much salt as other types of feta cheeses because it is aged for such a long time.
But its more expensive than other cheeses and has a stronger flavor. However, if youre looking for something that will melt easily without overpowering your dish, Mild Feta Cheese can be a good substitute for Queso Fresco.
Lastly, they are just as versatile as queso. You can use them generously in sandwiches, soups, and sauces, with toasted bread, pizzas, au gratins, fondues, souffls, omelets, etc.
3. Monterey Jack Cheese
If youre looking for a substitute for Queso Fresco, you may want to consider using Monterey Jack cheese.
Monterey Jack cheese is typically a blend of cheddar and Colby cheeses, making it creamier than its European counterparts.
Its often used as a substitute for queso fresco because of its similarities in texture and taste (though theyre not exactly identical).
Both are white cheeses meant to be used in Mexican-inspired dishes, but they have different textures and flavors.
Monterey Jack is a milder, softer cheese with subtle butter and pepper flavor notes. It melts well, making it ideal for use on pizza or in quesadillas.
Paneer is a fresh cheese made from milk, and it has a mild, slightly sour flavor. It can be used in place of Queso Fresco because its soft and creamy, just like Mexican cheese.
The texture of paneer is softer than queso fresco, but if youre looking for similar flavors and textures to use in your recipes, paneer will do the trick in sauces, soups, salads, tacos, and more!
5. Ricotta Salata
Ricotta Salata and Queso Fresco are both cows milk cheeses. However, Ricotta Salata is an Italian cheese that originated in Sicily.
Its got a very high butterfat content, so its soft and creamy when cooked, but it has a firm texture when eaten as is.
Ricotta Salata is saltier, drier, and denser than Queso Fresco. While it can be used in place of Queso Fresco in many recipes, Ricotta Salata is a better choice for salads as it will hold up to the dressing better than Queso Fresco would.
However, using a Queso Fresco when making quesadillas or melted cheese sandwiches would be brilliant since it will stay soft and creamy.
Tofu can be a great substitute for Queso Fresco because its a high-protein alternative with a similar taste and texture.
Tofu is made from soybeans, rich in vitamins and minerals, and protein. Its also made without any dairy products, so its a good choice for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan.
One of the biggest benefits of using tofu instead of queso fresco is that it doesnt melt when heated.
You can use it in dishes like nachos and baked macaroni and cheese without worrying about your meal losing its shape or consistency.
7. Cotija (Fresh)
Cotija and Queso Fresco have a mild, salty flavor that works well as a topping for many foods. Cotija cheese is often used as an ingredient in Mexican dishes, and it can be used similarly to Queso Fresco.
And they are made from cows milk and aged for several months.
Queso Fresco is more crumbly than Cotija cheese because of its higher moisture content, but both are crumbly enough to be easily grated into dishes like salads or tacos.
If youre looking for a way to add some spice without too much moisture, these two kinds of cheese are great options because theyre crumbly!
The next time you need a queso fresco substitute, try whipping up a batch of this queso blanco unless you can find some locally-made tofu that has been pressed and rinsed extensively.
I hope this article on substitutes for queso fresco opens the world of soft cheeses to your cooking adventures.
If you have any other ideas for homemade substitutes for grocery store staples, wed love to hear about them. Please share your advice in the comments section!
What can I substitute for queso fresco cheese?
Some supermarkets and Mexican merchants carry queso fresco. Feta cheese is an excellent replacement. If possible, use a mild one, or soak a block of feta in fresh water to reduce its tanginess. A young ricotta salata (firm Italian cheese available in most stores) may also suffice.
What is queso fresco compared to?
The nearest taste you can compare with it is fresh mozzarella or goat cheese. Queso fresco has a different way of creating it, and that’s what sets it apart from other well-known cheese. Queso fresco has a bolder, tangier flavor than mozzarella cheese but is smoother and saltier than that of goat cheese.
What is the best substitute for Mexican cheese?
The best substitutes are paneer, halloumi, or a very firm ricotta.
What kind of cheese is queso fresco like?
Queso Fresco is traditionally made with raw cow’s milk or a combination of cow and goat milk. This is what provides it with it’s slightly salty, but mildly tangy fresh taste. As a result, it’s very similar to farmer’s cheese.
What Mexican cheese is similar to queso fresco?
Those looking to substitute cotija for queso fresco can do so without compromising on quality, thanks to its similar crumbly texture and slightly salty flavor. Whether you prefer using it freshly grated or melted into your dish, cotija cheese is sure to add authenticity and zest to any Mexican meal.
What can I substitute for cotija cheese or queso fresco?
A good substitute for fresh cotija cheese is Feta. A good substitute for aged cotija cheese is Parmesan or Romano.
Why not to eat queso fresco?
Protect yourself and your family from unsafe queso fresco! Queso fresco that has not been made properly can cause the disease listeriosis. Listeriosis is very bad for pregnant women and babies. In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, premature birth, or stillbirth.
Does queso fresco melt like mozzarella?
Oaxaca is a mild cheese with a stringy texture similar to mozzarella that melts quickly. Cotija cheese has a harsh sour taste and a gritty texture that won’t melt, similar to aged parmesan. Queso fresco is a fresh cheese similar to feta with a little acidic taste and a crumbly texture that won’t melt.
What is the best Mexican melting cheese?
Queso asadero is Mexican cheese that’s great for melting. It is soft, white and creamy with a mild taste, and is often used to make pizzas, quesadillas and queso fundido.
What kind of cheese do Mexican restaurants use in enchiladas?
Queso Fresco and Cotija Cheese are two of the most well-known types of cheese served in Mexican restaurants. Queso Blanco is another popular kind of cheese. It’s used to top enchiladas and empanadas.