Mexican cuisine is bursting with flavor, thanks to its diverse range of ingredients, with cheese taking center stage in many dishes. With a rich variety of textures, tastes, and uses, Mexican cheeses offer much more than you might expect.

Below is an in-depth guide to the most popular Mexican cheeses and how to use them in your next recipes.

Queso Fresco

To start off the list, we have Queso Fresco, the fresh cheese. Fresco is the most ubiquitous cheese in Mexican cuisine. It’s mild, slightly salty, and crumbly, making it perfect for topping tacos, tostadas, and salads. Queso Fresco can also be gently heated but it doesn’t melt, instead, it will soften into a creamy texture that maintains its shape.

Queso Añejo

Next up is Queso Añejo. Añejo is an aged version of Queso Fresco, developing a stronger, sharper flavor as it matures. It’s typically grated over dishes like enchiladas, or used as a topping for traditional soups like pozole and menudo. The hard texture of this cheese makes it suitable for grating.

Queso de Bola

Bola cheese, also known as Edam cheese, is a semi-hard cheese with a rich, nutty flavor. It originated from the Netherlands and is often used in Christmas dishes such as Ensalada de Noche Buena, but it can also be grated onto a variety of dishes to provide a delicious, savory touch.


Queso Panela is a white, fresh cheese that has a smooth, creamy texture. It’s mild in flavor, with a slight sweetness. It absorbs other flavors well, making it perfect for grilling or frying. Similar to halloumi, Panela holds its shape when heated, making it ideal for quesadillas or as a filling in chiles rellenos.

Queso Oaxaca

Named after the region in Mexico where it’s made, Oaxaca is a semi-soft, stringy white cheese with a mild flavor. This cheese melts beautifully, making it a popular choice for quesadillas, enchiladas, and Mexican-style pizzas. This makes it almost the exact opposite of the Edam cheese.


Up next is Queso Cotija, known as the Parmesan cheese of Mexico. Cotija is a strong-flavored, crumbly cheese that adds a bold flavor to any dish. It’s typically used to enhance the flavor of tacos, corn on the cob, and re-fried beans. Just like with Parmesan, a little bit of this cheese goes a long way.

Chihuahua Cheese

This cheese is a common soft white cheese that is available in braids, balls, or rounds and originates in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Chihuahua cheese has a flavor that ranges from mild to sharp, depending on its age. It melts wonderfully, making it ideal for baking in dishes like Mexican fondue, or in casseroles and chiles rellenos.


Though originally from Spain, Manchego has become a beloved cheese in Mexican cuisine. It has a semi-hard texture and a rich, creamy flavor. Manchego can be used in sandwiches, grated over beans, or melted in nearly any dish.

Queso Asadero

Lastly we have queso asadero, a semi-soft, creamy cheese that has a mellow and slightly tangy flavor. It’s a perfect melting cheese, often used in Mexican fondue, quesadillas, and nachos.

Mexican cheeses are as diverse as they are flavorful. Whether melted into a pot of queso fondue, crumbled over tacos, or combining them together into some quesadillas. With these cheeses, you can make just about any dish better. So the next time you find yourself making some Mexican cuisine try adding in some new cheeses, or mixing a few together to create some new and tasty flavors!

Make sure to check out our collection of recipes here, where you can try an incorporate some new Mexican cheeses!