Queso fresco is a Mexican cheese made from cow’s milk and is more similar to a fresh farmer’s cheese than any other kind of cheese. It has a mild flavor and crumbly texture that makes it ideal for tacos or burritos.
The traditional way to eat queso fresco is in the form of quesadillas (a tortilla grilled on one side then stuffed with a mix of elements like peppers, onions, etc., before being folded over). You can also use it in a salad.
Queso fresco is made in many parts of Mexico but the best comes from Oaxaca, where it’s known as quesillo. It can be eaten fresh (after about 3 days) or dried for up to 2 weeks and then cut into slices and fried – this is known as curado (cured).
Queso fresco is available in packets or large tubs. You can also make your own by adding a packet of direct-set mesophilic culture to 1-quart freshly-pasteurized goat milk that has been allowed to sit at room temperature for 10 – 12 hours after warming it up slowly and allowing it to ripen for 15 – 18 hours longer. Add rennet (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, depending on how much milk you’re using) and stir for a minute or two until it’s completely dissolved. Cover the pot and let it sit in a warm location at about 85ºF (29ºC) for 12 hours or until the curds have formed and separated from the whey. Remove the cheese from its cloth lining, drain off most of the whey by gently pressing with your hands, then transfer to a shallow dish. Cover and place in your refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days before serving.
Anyway, here are the best brands of queso fresco out there:
6. V&V Supremo, Queso Shredded Chihuahua Cheese
V&V Supremo has been making quality cheeses for decades. This traditional Mexican cheese is made with high-quality milk that’s rich in butterfat and protein, which gives it a smooth, creamy texture. It comes in a resealable bag that makes it easy to use when you’re cooking on the go.
5. Cacique, Oaxaca Cheese
Cacique is a company that specializes in the production of traditional Mexican cheeses. Cacique is one of the most popular brands for Oaxacan cheese and it has become widely available outside of Mexico due to its high quality. It’s not as crumbly or as dry as other quesos frescos, thanks to its special recipe and process. Cacique cheese is creamy, tangy, and has a strong flavor that is different from all other quesos frescos. It’s great for tacos, burritos, or as an appetizer to enjoy with beer or wine.
4. Queso-Melt Original Dip With Jalapenos
Queso-Melt is the original queso dip. Enjoy delicious melted queso cheese with a hint of jalapeño flavor in every bite. It’s ready to eat straight from the package or as an ingredient in your favorite recipe! A great alternative to processed cheese slices, this premium cheese product is perfect for making hard-shell tacos, nachos, and appetizers. Dip with tortilla chips or vegetables or use in your favorite quesadillas to get the real Mexican flavor.
3. Cotija Cheese El Mexicano Queso Cotija
This is an aged version of queso fresco, which means it’s been pressed and matured for a while. It has a very strong flavor that many people love but its texture can be crumbly so make sure to crumble it up with your fingers before using.
Cotija cheese is popular in Mexico as well as the US where you will find it on top of Tex-Mex dishes such as nachos or tacos. You will also find cotija grated over salads or enchiladas, and often on top of a bowl of guacamole. The best way to eat it is in quesadillas – simply butter one side of a tortilla (flour or corn) before grilling it then add slices of cheese, chopped onion, and peppers plus any other ingredients you fancy.
You can find cotija cheese with only 45% fat but if you are using it as an ingredient in recipes that require melting, go for the full-fat version.
2. Queso Menonita Los Altos Cheese
This is the mildest of the quesos frescos. It’s creamy with a nice clean aftertaste and works as an excellent melting cheese in grilled or scrambled eggs. Queso Menonita Los Altos Cheese comes from the Menonita community and is made from pasteurized cow milk. It has been aged for 3 weeks to give it a pleasantly tangy flavor that goes well with fresh fruit, crackers, corn chips, and salads.
1 . Queso Oaxaca- Quesillo Real De Oaxaca
Quesillo Real De Oaxaca is a tasty, melt-in-your-mouth cheese made in the same way that’s been done for centuries. It comes from the highlands of Oaxaca where it has been an ancient tradition to make this queso with cow’s milk.
Like most Mexican cheeses, Quesillo Real de Oaxaca is wrapped in a papel de cal (traditional paper made from corn) which aids in ripening and tenderizes the finished cheese. It comes in wheels that weigh anywhere from 7 to 10 pounds and it’s been aged for at least 2 months, which makes it a nice creamy cheese with a wonderful taste and texture.
It is delicious when used as queso fresco or Quesillo Oaxaca (cut into pieces, fried until golden brown on all sides then served with rice). You can also use this cheese in many different ways such as; melted inside tortillas, used as an ingredient for soups, or crumbled over enchiladas.
There are many different kinds of cheese to choose from. Don’t feel limited by what’s in your local supermarket or cheese shop. If you see something that interests you, try it – chances are you’ll be surprised at how good it is!
Some cheeses to consider trying to include fresh chèvre (goat cheese), pecorino romano, goat gouda, hard and soft cow’s milk blue cheeses like Roquefort and Stilton, Grana Padano or parmesan for your pasta dishes, asiago for your pizza. Of course, you can also try some of the other varieties listed above – some people even enjoy cheddar on their crackers!
While cheese is delicious and nutritious, it’s important to keep in mind that all cheeses contain a significant amount of fat. One slice (1 oz) of cheddar cheese can have as much as 25% of your daily caloric intake. If you’re on a low-fat diet or trying to lose weight, try cutting down the amount you eat with each meal – this will help keep calories under control while still allowing you to enjoy some variety in your diet.