What Kind of Shredded Cheese Do Mexican Restaurants Use?

Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by Lauren Beck

In the dazzling world of Mexican cuisine, an unsung hero quietly steals the spotlight: shredded cheese. 

Having roamed countless Mexican eateries, I’ve uncovered the cheese varieties that weave their magic into dishes we can’t resist. 

Let’s embark on a flavorful journey and explore the irresistible cheeses gracing those iconic enchiladas and nachos.

6 Kinds of Shredded Cheese Mexican Restaurants Use

  1. Cheddar: A versatile classic that brings a sharp, tangy kick to Mexican dishes.
  2. Monterey Jack: Creamy and mild, it’s a top choice for its meltability and gentle flavor.
  3. Queso Oaxaca: Known as “quesillo,” this cheese is perfect for stringy, gooey dishes like quesadillas.
  4. Queso Asadero: Melts smoothly, making it an excellent option for dips and toppings [1].
  5. Cotija: A crumbly cheese sprinkled on top of dishes with a salty punch for a bold finish.
  6. Chihuahua: Mild and slightly nutty, this cheese melts well and subtly adds richness to various dishes.

Why Do They Put Cheese on Mexican Food?

Cheese isn’t just a garnish; it’s an essential component of many Mexican dishes. It adds layers of flavor, enhances texture and brings a comforting richness. 

Moreover, cheese’s melting properties make it an ideal binding agent for combining all ingredients.

What Is the Shredded Cheese at Mexican Restaurants?

The shredded cheese commonly used in Mexican restaurants is often a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. 

This combination strikes a perfect balance between the sharpness of cheddar and the creaminess of Monterey Jack, resulting in a cheese blend that complements a wide range of dishes.

What Is Authentic Mexican Cheese Called?

shredded cheese

While cheddar and Monterey Jack have become staples in Mexican-American cuisine, traditional Mexican dishes use a variety of cheeses native to the region. 

One example is “queso fresco,” a crumbly and mild cheese commonly sprinkled over tacos and salads. “Cotija” is another authentic choice, known for its salty and robust flavor.

Why Do Mexican Restaurants Use Jack Cheese?

Monterey Jack cheese’s popular in Mexican restaurants due to its exceptional melting properties. 

It doesn’t separate into oil and solids when heated, resulting in that beloved gooey consistency that we associate with melted cheese on nachos, burritos, and more.

Does Shredded Mexican Cheese Melt?

Yes, shredded Mexican cheese melts beautifully. The combination of cheddar and Monterey Jack in the blend ensures a smooth melt, making it perfect for gooey queso dips, quesadillas, and other dishes with a desired velvety texture.


After diving into the world of shredded cheese in Mexican restaurants, it’s clear that these humble toppings are no afterthought. They weave tales of tradition and innovation, texture and taste with each melt and stretch.

Whether it’s the smooth embrace of Monterey Jack or the crumbly bite of Cotija, these cheeses are the unspoken heroes behind the sizzle and spice of every dish. 

So, as you savor your next plate of mouthwatering Mexican fare, remember that the cheese on top isn’t just a garnish – it’s a crucial thread in the rich tapestry of flavors that makes every bite unforgettable.


Lauren Beck
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