Mexican cuisine is renowned for its flavourful and diverse ingredients; cheese is no exception. Mexican cheeses are known for their rich, creamy texture and unique flavor profiles, resulting from centuries of tradition.
This article will explore the top 10 Mexican kinds of cheese, including their history, production methods, and culinary uses. Let’s dig in.
Top 10 Best Mexican Cheeses In 2023
Mexico is well known for its amazing variety of cheeses, from soft and creamy to hard and salty. The country has an incredible range of flavors and options to choose from.
Whether you’re looking for a unique variety or to taste something different, here’s a list of the top 10 Mexican kinds of cheese.
Cotija is a traditional Mexican cheese that has been around for centuries. It is made using an ancient method of cheese production that involves soaking the cheese in brine and aging it in caves or cellars.
Cotija cheese has a sharp and salty flavor and is crumbly in texture. Cotija cheese is typically made from cow’s milk, although goat’s milk is sometimes used.
The cheese is allowed to age for several months, during which it develops its distinctive flavor and crumbly texture. Cotija cheese is a popular ingredient in many traditional Mexican dishes, such as tacos, enchiladas, and tostadas. It is also used as a garnish for elite or Mexican street corn.
Manchego is a Mexican cheese with a rich and storied history that dates back centuries. It is made from the milk of the Manchega sheep, a breed that is native to the region.
Originally this cheese was a Spanish cheese and not a Mexican cheese. However, it’s very popular in Mexico and is widely used in Mexican cuisine. It is commonly used as a topping in dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, and other famous Mexican dishes.
Manchego cheese can also be paired with fruit and nuts in Mexican desserts, and it’s a popular cheese to serve with crackers and wine as an appetizer.
Qaxaca, also known as Quesillo and String cheese, is a trading Mexican cheese. This type of cheese originates from the Qaxacan region of southern Mexico. It’s a mild, soft, and stretchy cheese.
Qaxaca cheese is made from cow’s milk and produced through a process similar to mozzarella cheese. This cheese is commonly used in making dishes such as chiles rellenos, tamales, and also pizzas. Additionally, it can also be used as a substitute for mozzarella cheese.
4. Queso Blanco
Queso Blanco, also known as queso fresco, is a fresh, white cheese that’s also one of the most loved cheeses in Mexico. It is a semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk and is traditionally produced by hand.
Queso Blanco is a fresh cheese that is not aged, so it is eaten soon after its made. Its versatility makes it viable in many local and international dishes.
Queso blanco is commonly used in dishes such as chiles rellenos, quesadillas, and enchiladas. It can also be used in pizzas, sandwiches, and pasta.
5. Añejo cheese
Añejo cheese, also known as Queso Añejo, is popular in Mexico. Añejo cheese is made by aging for a minimum of 6 months in a controlled environment. During this aging process, the cheese develops its distinctive flavor and texture, which is mild, creamy, and slightly tangy.
It is commonly used as toppings for enchiladas and tacos and as a filling for chiles rellenos. Additionally, Añejo cheese can be used in non-Mexican dishes such as pasta and pizza.
6. Queso Chihuahua
Queso Chihuahua, also known as Queso Menonita, is a semi-soft, mild cheese. Historically, this cheese was created to store and preserve milk, as many Mexican peasants did not have access to coffee and other dairy products.
This cheese is made from cow’s milk and produced through a process similar to cheddar cheese. The cheese is aged for one to three months, during which it develops its unquiet taste and texture.
It’s commonly used in traditional Mexican dishes as well as foreign dishes. It is also popular for snacking alone or served with crackers or sliced fruits.
Asadero is a traditional Mexican cheese that has a long and storied history.
It is a semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk, and its production method is known as “pasta filata”, or stretched-curd cheese making, and involves stretching and kneading the curd before forming it into a ball or loaf shape. It has a firm, slightly springy texture and a mild, salty-sweet flavor with a hint of smokiness.
Asadero is most commonly used for quesadillas, tacos, burritos, and other Mexican dishes. Still, it can also be used to make cheese sauces, enchiladas, and even as a topping for salads and pizzas.
Requesón, also known as Queso Requesón, is a fresh cheese in Mexico. It’s a type of ricotta cheese made from the whey left over after making other cheeses. It has a slightly sweet flavor and a creamy texture that makes it a great cheese for desserts.
Furthermore, this cheese is not aged and is typically consumed within a few days of being made. Also, it’s commonly used in dishes like empanadas, tamales, and enchiladas.
It can also be taken with crackers or sliced fruits. Whether used in cooking or as a snack, this cheese will make the meal memorable.
Crema has been a staple in Mexican cuisine for many years. It tastes similar to sour cream but with a milder flavor and a thinner consistency.
It is commonly used as a condiment for tacos, tostadas, and other dishes, providing a cooling, tangy contrast to spicy or savory flavors. Crema can also be used in sauces, soups, and dips. It is also a key ingredient in chilaquiles, enchiladas, and huevos rancheros.
Furthermore, in addition to its trading culinary uses, Crema is also commonly used in modern fusion cuisine, where it is used to add a creamy texture.
Panela is an unaged Mexican cheese derived from the Spanish queso de la leche. It is made from cow’s milk and is recognized for its crumbly texture, mild flavor, and ability to melt easily.
It is commonly used as toppings for enchiladas and tacos and as a filling for chiles rellenos. Panela can also be used in non-Mexican dishes such as pasta and pizza.
Mexican cheeses offer various delicious flavors and textures that people worldwide enjoy.
From the sharp and crumbly Cotija to the creamy and tangy Crema, each cheese has a unique history, production method, and culinary use that reflects the rich culinary tradition of Mexico. Whether enjoyed on their own or used as ingredients in a wide range of dishes, Mexican cheeses are a delicious and important part of Mexican cuisine.
The top 10 Mexican kinds of cheese, which we have extensively discussed above, showcase Mexican cheeses’ diverse flavors and textures and are an essential ingredient in many traditional and modern dishes.