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Cheese Lover’s Delight: 5 BEST Queso Fresco Substitutes

Finding the perfect queso fresco substitute can seem like a quest for the holy grail.

Especially if you’re a die-hard fan of that fresh, mild, and creamy goodness.

Lucky for us, the cheese aisle is brimming with options that can step up to the plate.

Folks, we’ve all been there.

You’re in the middle of cooking, you reach for that crumbly, tangy queso fresco, and panic sets in — it’s not there.

No sweat! We’re here to walk you through five awesome alternatives that won’t just save your dish; they’ll make it sing.

You see, cheese is more than just a topping or a filler.

It’s a flavor booster, a texture magician, and sometimes, the star of the show.

With the right substitute, your dishes will still have that wow factor, missing no beats.

What’s Queso Fresco Cheese?

Queso Fresco cheese is a white, soft, crumbly cheese that originated in Mexico but is now popular all over the world.

Its flavor is subtle yet tangy – a perfect combination to complement dishes with bolder flavors.

This versatile cheese can be used in both savory and sweet dishes like salads, tacos, and tarts.

Queso Fresco has a fairly firm texture when fresh, and it starts to soften as it ages.

It’s commonly served atop grilled meats or melted into quesadillas, topping off the dish with a nice flair of salty creaminess.

It also works great as a garnish or as an ingredient in salsas or sauces as well.

With its unique taste and interesting texture, Queso Fresco stands out as one of the most delicious cheeses around.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Queso Fresco Cheese

If you’re looking for a cheese that can stand in as an ideal substitute for queso fresco, then you’ve come to the right place.

Here are some of the best substitutes to achieve a similar flavor and texture:

1 – Cotija Cheese

Cotija cheese is a salty, crumbly white cheese originating from the Mexican state of Michoacán.

It has a flavor that can be compared to feta cheese, with a slightly more pungent aroma.

When grated, it has a dry and granular texture that makes it ideal for sprinkled atop tacos and salads.

Cotija is often referred to as the “Parmesan of Mexico” due to its nutty, full-bodied taste and sharpness.

Those looking to substitute cotija for queso fresco can do so without compromising on quality, thanks to its similar crumbly texture and slightly salty flavor.

Whether you prefer using it freshly grated or melted into your dish, cotija cheese is sure to add authenticity and zest to any Mexican meal.

2 – Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is an intriguing cheese originating from Greece.

It has a distinct sharp and salty taste, with a crumbly texture that’s perfect for crumbling over salads or onto roasted vegetables.

It can also be used as a flavor-enhancing addition to pizza, pasta, or sandwiches.

If you’re looking for a vegan alternative, try substituting feta cheese with queso fresco.

It won’t quite have the same flavor as feta, but it will bring some similar creamy texture without the need for animal products.

Feta makes a great addition to just about any dish – so don’t let its tangy taste intimidate you.

3 – Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese is a creamy, soft Italian cheese that is popularly used in many dishes, including pizza, cannoli, and lasagna.

It technically falls into the whey cheese category as it is made by combining whey with cow’s milk or cream.

The taste of ricotta is mild and fresh, and its texture starts off creamy but will become grainier when overcooked.

Due to its versatility, ricotta makes a great alternative to queso fresco in dishes like tacos, burritos, and chili Rellenos.

As long as you don’t bake it for long periods of time – otherwise, the texture will be grainy – ricotta can make for an excellent topping for any dish you wish to substitute queso fresco for.

4 – Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a soft, creamy cheese with a mild, slightly acidic taste.

It has a dry, curd-like texture that crumbles easily and contains small lumps of firmer cheese throughout, making it distinct from most other soft cheeses.

Cottage cheese can be an excellent replacement for queso fresco when used in dishes like tacos or enchiladas, as its crumbled texture complements the flavor of Mexican cuisine particularly well.

For further flavor variation, consider adding herbs and spices to the spread or even folding diced tomatoes and onions into the cheese itself before using.

5 – Monterey Jack Cheese

Monterey Jack cheese deserves its place on any cheeseboard.

It is a firm, smooth-textured cow’s milk cheese that has a mild, buttery taste.

Although it originated in California, cheese is well-known and enjoyed around the globe.

If you can’t find Monterey Jack cheese locally, you can substitute a similar cheese like queso fresco.

To do this successfully, make sure to select a mild, soft cream cheese instead of one with a sharper flavor.

Additionally, soak the queso fresco in hot water for 15 minutes before using it to partially melt the cheese and give it a similar texture to Monterey Jack.


In conclusion, there are many great options for substituting queso fresco cheese.

Whether you’re looking for a vegan alternative or just want to switch up the flavor profile of your dish, these five substitutes can all provide an excellent addition to any meal.

From the tangy feta and creamy ricotta to crumbly cotija and flavorful Monterey Jack, one of these cheeses is sure to meet your needs.

So don’t hesitate – to put the queso fresco aside and give these five options a try today.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Queso Fresco Cheese

No queso fresco on hand? Don't worry! These five substitutes offer comparable textures and flavors, making them perfect replacements for your Mexican-inspired dishes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Cotija Cheese
  • Feta Cheese
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Monterey Jack 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 Queso Fresco Cheese
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