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The Best Alternatives For Queso Fresco Cheese

Maria Foster
Last Updated on
by Maria Foster

Have you ever tried queso fresco cheese, if you have not, then you are definitely missing out? This is a popular Mexican cheese, it is mild and has a creamy texture. 

Alternatives for Queso Fresco Cheese

It is a white cheese which is commonly used in different recipes, especially if they are Mexican, and it is often stirred into different sauces and lends them a creamy and rich flavor.

If you are cooking with queso fresco cheese you can sprinkle it onto salads, enchiladas, or tacos, the possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can do with this cheese. 

However, if you are struggling to find queso fresco, or you can not find an affordable way to get it, then you might be looking for some alternatives or substitutes which you can use to improve the flavor of recipes which would usually use it. 

While queso fresco cheese is quite unique, there are different cheeses you can find which will work as a suitable substitute for it in different recipes. 

So, if you are really looking forward to making a recipe, but it needs queso fresco cheese, then keep reading to get all of our favorite substitutions which will work just as well!

This is a white and soft cheese which has a crumbly texture, this means that there are some other types of cheese that are pretty similar to this.

Nutritional Value And Cooking Ratio For Queso Fresco Substitutes

Per OzCaloriesFatCarbProteinFiberRatio
Cotija 12010g0g7g0g1:1
Feta 756g1.2g4g0g1:1
Cottage Cheese271.2g1g3g0g1:1
Monterey Jack1068.6g0.2g6.9g0g1:1

What Does Queso Fresco Cheese Taste Like?

It originated in Mexico which is why it is so popular in their cuisine, however, it has now gained popularity all around the world.

The flavor of queso fresco cheese is quite subtle like a lot of similar cheeses, however, it does have a noticeably tangy taste as well.

This means it perfectly complements dishes that have bolder flavors just like a lot of Mexican cuisine. 

This cheese has been used in both savory and sweet dishes, being found in tacos and tart. The texture is firm when it is more fresh, however, when it ages it will start to soften. 

You can also melt it into different meatier hot dishes, but you can also use it as a garnish on something like a sauce or salsa as well.

So, while queso fresco cheese has a lot of unique qualities, we have managed to find a few different cheeses which will work as a suitable 

substitute for it!

Queso Fresco Cheese Nutritional Value

An ounce of Queso Fresco cheese contains:

  • 90 calories
  • 7g fat
  • 0.9g carb
  • 5.5g protein
  • 0g fiber

Substitutes For Red Pepper Queso Fresco Cheese

The best substitutes we have found which work in place of Queso Fresco Cheese include:

  1. Cotija Cheese
  2. Feta Cheese
  3. Ricotta Cheese
  4. Cottage Cheese
  5. Monterey Jack Cheese

1. Cotija Cheese

For one of the best choices when it comes to a substitute for queso fresco cheese there is cotija cheese.

This is also a crumbly cheese which is white and originated in Mexico as well. This cheese specifically originated in the Mexican state of Michoacán. 

The flavor is more close to something like feta, and the aroma is a little more pungent as well.

If you grate this type of cheese it will have a more granular and dry texture, but this means it works great as a garnish on savory dishes just like queso fresco cheese. 

For a simple comparison, you will often find that cotija cheese is called the Parmesan of Mexico, and this is because of the noticeably nutty and sharp taste that it has similarly to Parmesan.

One of the main reasons this is used as a substitute for queso fresco cheese is because it has a similar quality, especially with how crumbly the texture is and the flavor as well. 

2. Feta Cheese

We have already mentioned feta a couple of times, and this is because it is also one of the best options when it comes to a suitable substitute for queso fresco cheese. 

This cheese originated in Greece and its taste is sharp and salty too. It is well known for how crumbly its texture is as well.

It is often used in savory dishes with it often being added to salads or roasted vegetables. 

Furthermore, it does have other uses as well as how it can add flavor to pizza, sandwiches, or pasta.

If you want a vegan alternative, you can use feta cheese as a substitution for queso fresco cheese as well. 

This does not have a flavor that is too close to queso fresco cheese, however, the texture is quite similar, in spite of one not using animal products.

While the stronger taste can often intimidate people, it is well worth enjoying!

3. Ricotta Cheese

This cheese is often compared to feta, and that is why it is also here on this list as a suitable alternative for queso fresco cheese. 

This is an Italian cheese which is both soft and creamy, and you can find it being used often in a wide variety of recipes like pizza, lasagna, and cannoli.

It is technically considered a whey cheese since it is made when you combine cow’s milk with cream.

Ricotta tastes both fresh and mild and while the texture is creamy, it also becomes grainy when you cook it for longer. 

Ricotta is also known for being pretty versatile as well, and this is why it can work as a suitable substitute for queso fresco cheese.

This is why it works well in dishes like tacos, chili rellenos, and burritos. You want to avoid cooking it for too long otherwise the texture will become too grainy. 

4. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is similarly soft to queso fresco cheese and it also has a lovely creamy texture.

However, the taste is also pretty acidic when compared to queso fresco cheese and this can make it stand out a little too much. 

The texture is more dry and curd like and this means it crumbles pretty easily.

This cheese contains smaller lumps of firm cheese throughout it, and this makes it distinct when compared to different soft cheeses. 

This is why it can also work well as a substitute for queso fresco cheese, this is because it can be used in dishes like tacos and enchiladas because of how easy it is to crumble.

If you want to make it a little more unique you can add different herbs and spices, and even diced vegetables.

5. Monterey Jack Cheese

Monterey Jack is a delicious cheese everyone should try at least once, and because it has a more mild and buttery taste, it can be closely compared to queso fresco cheese.

The cheese has a firm but smooth texture, and this means it is easy to work with just like queso fresco cheese. 

This cheese actually originated in California, but by this point it is enjoyed around the world.

If you are struggling to source Monterey Jack, you can easily use queso fresco cheese as a substitute for it as well. 

You will want to ensure that the cheese you are choosing is both a little milder and has a less sharp flavor.

If you are using queso fresco cheese you want to soak this in hot water for about 15 minutes as this will give it a texture that is closer to Monterey Jack.

Some of the best recipes that use queso fresco use it as a topping, but others can melt it into a sauce, some of our favorites are:

  • Huevos Rancheros – This classic recipe is made even better with some queso fresco cheese crumbled on top.
  • Tacos – We all love how tacos can be customized to have whatever you want, but if you want to try something different, adding queso fresco is amazing!
  • Chicken Tortilla SoupIf you want to make some perfect comfort food for the colder months, then try making this chicken tortilla soup which is elevated by adding some queso fresco cheese.


Hopefully this guide has shown you just how many different options there are when it comes to substituting for queso fresco cheese.

You want to keep in mind what kind of purpose the  queso fresco cheese is fulfilling in the recipe as this will help you make a more informed choice when it comes to choosing an apt substitute.

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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