What Cheese Do Mexican Restaurants Use

What Cheese Do Mexican Restaurants Use? Our 5 Picks

Last Updated on July 13, 2024 by Shari Mason

Cheese is well-known for its contribution to the flavor of Mexican dishes. It serves as a great complement to a range of Mexican meals, whether as a topping on enchiladas or empanadas, or as an ingredient in Chiles Rellenos. Its distinct salty taste elevates the intricate flavors of these dishes.

So, if you’re wondering what cheese do Mexican restaurants use, keep scrolling.

5 Top Cheese Variants That Mexican Restaurants Use

different kinds of cheese

1. Queso Oaxaca

Named from its namesake city, Oaxaca, Mexico, this creamy, semi-soft, and string-type cheese is made from cow’s milk. [1] 

It’s like Mozzarella. It has a savory mellow buttery flavor. It’s also slightly salty. Queso Oaxaca can be used as a melting cheese for quesadillas and enchiladas.

Find out why are my tamales taking so long to cook here.

2. Cotija

Named after a town of the same name in the Mexican state of Michoacán, this cheese is made from cow’s milk. It’s white, hard, and crumbly. It resembles feta cheese when young but becomes hard and crumbly like Parmigiano-Reggiano as it ages. 

It has a salty and bold flavor. Use it for grating on salads, tacos, and casseroles. You can also use it to top spicy black bean dip. But what blue cheese dressing do restaurants use?

3. Queso Fresco

Queso Fresco translates to fresh cheese. It’s aged for a few days, unlike other kinds of cheese that take months to age. It can be made from goat or cow’s milk. 

Queso Fresco is soft, creamy, and crumbly like feta. Its flavor is tangier and bolder than mozzarella. It’s perfect for Mexican quesadillas as it can also be melted. Queso Fresco is also ideal for sprinkling over tacos and bean dishes. 


4. Queso Chihuahua

Also known as Queso Menonita, this cheese is made from pasteurized or raw cow’s milk. It’s pale yellow in color and semi-firm in texture. The flavor is like that of Monterey Jack’s. Queso Chihuahua is rich and has a mild, buttery taste.

This cheese is perfect as a filling for Chiles Rellenos and tamales. It can also be used for quesadillas and casserole dishes.

Read: How Long Are Tamales Good For In The Fridge?

5. Jack Cheese

Jack Cheese, or Monterey Jack, is mild in flavor and melts very quickly. It’s similar in texture to cheddar, but Monterey Jack has a milder flavor. 

Its variations include Pepper Jack (pepper spiced) and Dry Jack (aged version). You can use Jack Cheese for Chiles Rellenos Squares, quesadillas, and enchiladas.

Read: How Long Is Sliced Deli Cheese Good For?

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Why Do They Put Cheese on Mexican Food?

pizza quesadilla with pepperoni and marinara sauce

They put cheese in Mexican foods because its rich flavors give more flavor and add texture to Mexican dishes. 

It also complements dishes like antojitos, empanadas, vegetables, soups, and quesadillas.

Read: Which Pepper Is Used In Chipotle Menu Items?


What kind of cheese do Mexican restaurants use in quesadillas?

Mexican restaurants use Queso Asadero in quesadillas. Queso Asadero is also referred to as Queso Oaxaca. It’s creamy and smooth. It also melts, making it perfect to use for quesadillas. However, one can also use other kinds of cheese, like Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Gouda.

Why do Mexican restaurants use Jack Cheese?

Mexican restaurants use Jack Cheese because of its high moisture, which means it melts quickly and well. It also has a milder flavor than cheddar cheeses. 

It has a slight sweetness and blends well with other kinds of cheese. It also comes in variants like Dry Jack (aged version) and Pepper Jack (a slightly spicy version with flavors of pepper and dried herbs.)

Final Thoughts

Mexican cuisine caters to various palates because of its outstanding regional variety. Mexican food is delicious and full of flavors. Among the ingredients in impeccable Mexican dishes is cheese.

Two of the most famous kinds of cheese used in Mexican restaurants are Queso Fresco and Cotija Cheese. Another kind of cheese that is popular is Queso Blanco. It’s used as toppings for enchiladas and empanadas.

Whatever kind of dish, cheese takes Mexican food from great to excellent.


Shari Mason

1 thought on “What Cheese Do Mexican Restaurants Use? Our 5 Picks”

  1. I found it interesting that you told us that most Mexican restaurants use Queso Asadero for their quesadillas, a creamy and smooth cheese that melts perfectly for such types of food. I’ve been craving cheesy food for a while now, so I was thinking of going for Mexican cuisine for lunch today. I’ll take note of this while I look for an authentic Mexican restaurant I can go to for my meal later.

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