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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Panela Cheese Substitutes

Have you ever heard of Panelá cheese and its beautiful uses?

This type of cheese is beloved for its mild flavor and rubbery texture, making it a favorite ingredient in many recipes.

But what if you don’t have Panelá cheese handy or prefer not to use it?

Luckily, numerous substitutes provide nearly the same flavor and texture—but with a twist.

In this article, we will explore why you might want to substitute Panelá cheese, how to do so, and share our list of the best alternatives for this beloved ingredient.

What’s Panela Cheese?

Panela Cheese is an incredibly versatile, creamy cheese commonly produced in Latin America, mainly in Colombia and Venezuela.

It’s made from raw cow milk that’s been cooked or “scalded” to a semi-firm consistency and pressed together with a simple cloth and wooden boards, giving the final product a unique fluffy texture.

This cheese has a mild flavor that pairs perfectly with fresh veggies for a light but delicious hors d’oeuvre; it can also enhance pasta dishes, salads, and other savory meals.

Panela Cheese adds great depth without overpowering the other flavors – plus, its unique texture allows it to melt easily into any type of dish.

With its distinct taste and smooth texture, it’s no wonder why Panela Cheese is so beloved across Latin America – and making regular appearances in homes around the world.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Panela Cheese

If you’re looking for a replacement for Panela cheese, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are some of the best alternatives to Panela cheese that will provide a similar flavor and texture:

1 – Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a popular ingredient in Mediterranean recipes, from salads and pies to sauces and frittatas.

It is a soft, colorful cheese with an unmistakable tangy flavor; its texture varies from crumbly for ages feta to creamy for fresh young feta.

Feta can easily be substituted for panela cheese in a variety of dishes and cuisines, as it has a similar salty taste while also providing an extra level of tanginess.

To substitute feta in the place of panela cheese, crumble it finely, so it blends better with other ingredients.

Additionally, this will help create the desired salty flavor without overpowering other flavors in the dish.

Any recipe that calls for panela cheese can be spiced up by using feta instead – just remember to add small amounts at a time so as not to overpower the other ingredients.

2 – Queso Fresco

A staple ingredient in many Latin American dishes, Queso Fresco, is a mild-flavored, semihard white cheese.

Its texture provides just enough creaminess as it crumbles easily under pressure.

It has a slightly salty, tangy taste that accents many of the flavors found in Mexican, Central, and South American cuisines.

When pressed for a more intense flavor, it will hold firm while releasing its own lactic acid, making it an ideal substitute for panela cheese.

Queso Fresco can be used both raw or lightly cooked to maintain its creamy texture but still achieve a bit of that crispiness, making it a fantastic addition to tacos, enchiladas, and all sorts of classic Mexican dishes.

3 – Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is becoming increasingly popular among households.

Not only is it extremely versatile, but it’s also an excellent source of nutrient-rich protein that both the young and old can enjoy.

It has a spongy texture and mild, salty flavor profile, making it a go-to ingredient for everything from salads to baked goods.

Furthermore, cottage cheese is low in fat and cholesterol free.

As a result, it’s often used to substitute for higher-fat items such as paneer cheese.

Unlike harder cheeses which require hours of boiling, cottage cheese can be prepared quickly with a few simple steps; simply mix with chilis, garlic, and herbs for a flavorful spread or add fresh fruits for a sweet, creamy dessert.

4 – Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese is a unique dairy product well-loved throughout the world for its slightly sweet flavor.

It is a curd cheese produced by pressing sheep, goat, or cow’s milk whey until it forms a creamy white consistency.

The taste of ricotta can be described as mildly tart and delicate, while the texture is incredibly smooth and velvety.

If your recipe calls for panela cheese and you don’t have any on hand, ricotta is an excellent substitute.

It won’t provide the same chewy consistency, but it will add that subtle hint of sweetness found in panela cheese without any added sugar.

To sub in ricotta for panela, mix it with butter and seasonings to create a spread similar in flavor, and enjoy.

5 – Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a soft, unripened cheese made from mostly milk and cream.

Its texture is creamy yet slightly grainy, and its flavor is mild compared to other types of cheese.

That makes it a great substitute for panela cheese in several recipes since it takes on the flavor of whatever spices or condiments are used with it.

Cooking with cream cheese gives dishes a delicious level of richness that isn’t as heavy as panela cheese.

It also adds a pleasing tanginess which can enhance many favorite dishes while taking away excessive saltiness.

Additionally, cream cheese is easily accessible in most grocery stores, so you don’t have to go out of your way to find the right ingredients.

Try replacing panela cheese with cream cheese next time you’re cooking, and see just how delicious it can be.


In conclusion, any recipe that calls for panela cheese can be easily substituted with a variety of flavorful and versatile cheeses.

You can use feta, queso fresco, cottage, ricotta, or cream cheese to achieve the same creamy texture and delicious taste of panela cheese.

Each of these substitutes has its own unique flavor profile that can enhance any dish with subtle hints of sweetness or tanginess.

Just remember to add small amounts at a time so as not to overpower other ingredients.

With these options in mind, you’ll be able to make the most of your culinary creations without sacrificing flavor.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Panela Cheese

Can't find panela cheese? Don't fret! Explore our list of the 5 best substitutes that will provide similar texture and flavor to your recipes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Feta Cheese
  • Queso Fresco
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Cream Cheese


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Panela Cheese
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