There are many unique Mexican cheeses and absolutely none of them are Nacho Cheese in a big can or jar! These are real cheeses, some are aged and some are not. All are mildly delicious! Take a browse at these cheeses that are often found on your entrées in your local Mexican restaurant, like El Caminito in Sunnyvale, CA.
This is a freshly made cheese that is very white and crumbly. It is that white crumbled cheese that you see on top of your salads or bean side dishes in a Mexican restaurant. It has a very mild taste, milder than cheddar. It is somewhat like mozzarella in taste, but not texture. The milk used can be from cows or a combination of goat’s and cow’s milks. The aged version of queso fresco is queso añejo.
Queso Manchego is an aged cow’s milk cheese that is a cheese that’s served as is. You’ll eat it as a snack or appetizer typically. It is a little bit yellow and melts nicely. It makes a fine cheese for quesadillas.
Panela is a popular cheese that is made from cow’s milk that might remind you of the Indian cheese called paneer. It is a white, pressed cottage cheese type of cheese with a mild, but salty taste. It gets soft when heated but doesn’t melt. It’s often found crumbled or chunked on top of salads.
This crumbly, very white cheese is often found atop a side dish of beans. Eaten hot or cold, it is the perfect accent for Mexican entrées. It is made with cow’s milk alone, but some manufacturers blend cow’s milk with goat’s milk for this cheese.
Many Mexican restaurants will use American cheddar cheese to make their enchiladas, tacos and quesadillas. But when you see white crumbled cheese or any type of white cheese that doesn’t melt all the way then it is probably one of these popular white Mexican cheeses.