What Is Mexican Cheese?

Last Updated on April 6, 2023 by Lauren Beck

Mexican cuisine is known for its delicious and unique flavors, and cheese plays a big part in that. From tacos to quesadillas, Mexican cheese is a staple in many dishes. 

But what exactly is Mexican cheese? Keep reading to learn more about this flavorful ingredient.

What Is Mexican Cheese?

Mexican cheese refers to a variety of cheeses that are produced and consumed in Mexico. These cheeses vary in texture, flavor, and production method. Some are soft and crumbly, while others are firm and savory.

What Are the Origins of Mexican Cheese?

Cheese production has been a part of Mexican culture for centuries. The Aztecs and Mayans were known to make cheese from goat’s milk, and the Spanish introduced cow’s milk cheese to Mexico during colonization. 

Over time, Mexican cheese evolved to include unique flavors and textures that are now widely enjoyed.

Different Types of Mexican Cheese

There are many different types of Mexican cheese, each with its own unique flavor and texture. Here are some of the most popular:

  1. Queso Fresco: A soft, crumbly cheese that is mild in flavor. It is often used in salads, tacos, and enchiladas.
  2. Cotija: A crumbly cheese with a salty and tangy flavor. It is often used as a topping for dishes like tacos, salads, and soups.
  3. Oaxaca: A stringy and mild cheese that is similar to mozzarella. It is often used in quesadillas and grilled cheese sandwiches.
  4. Panela: A firm and mild cheese that is often used in salads and grilled dishes.
  5. Chihuahua: A semi-soft cheese that is mild and slightly sweet in flavor. It is often used in quesadillas and other melted cheese dishes.

Do Authentic Mexican Tacos Have Cheese?

Authentic Mexican tacos do not always have cheese. Traditional tacos are made with meat, onions, and cilantro, with a squeeze of lime. However, tacos al pastor, a popular type of taco in Mexico, may have cheese as a topping.

What Cheese Is Most Used in Mexico?

Queso Fresco is one of the most commonly used cheeses in Mexican cuisine [1]. It is versatile and mild in flavor, making it a great addition to many dishes.

What Cheese Is Closest to Mexican Cheese?

traditional mexican cheese

If you can’t find Mexican cheese in your area, you can try using feta or ricotta salata as a substitute. Both have a crumbly texture and a slightly tangy flavor that is similar to some Mexican cheeses.

What Can I Substitute for Mexican Cheese Blend?

Mexican cheese blend is a combination of shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, and other mild cheeses. If you can’t find this blend, you can try using shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack in equal parts.

Is Monterey Jack a Mexican Cheese?

Monterey Jack cheese was originally made by Mexican Franciscan friars in Monterey, California. While it is not technically a Mexican cheese, it is widely used in Mexican cuisine and is often included in Mexican cheese blends.


Mexican cheese is a delicious and versatile ingredient that is used in many dishes. From soft and crumbly queso fresco to stringy and mild Oaxaca, Mexican cheese comes in many different textures and flavors. While authentic Mexican tacos do not always have cheese, it is a popular topping for dishes like tacos al pastor and salads. If you can’t find Mexican cheese in your area, you can try using feta or ricotta salata as a substitute. With so many different types of Mexican cheese to choose from, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy this flavorful ingredient.


Lauren Beck
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