The best cheese for tacos includes queso fresco, cotija, cheddar, and more!
Toppings are key in creating a harmonious combination of flavors. Choosing the right cheese is an essential part.
But not all varieties are created equal. Melty, sharp, mild, and crumbly, there is a range of flavors and textures.
Let’s explore the best cheese for tacos, so you can find the perfect match.
Best Cheese for Tacos
1. Queso Fresco
The saltiness can vary depending on the brand. However, this cheese is a great accompaniment to shrimp, pork, chicken, or ground beef tacos.
Use it like a garnish and sprinkle some on top.
2. Queso Añejo
Añejo means aged and queso means cheese. Put the two together and you have aged cheese. The maturing process makes this type firmer than fresh varieties.
Traditionally, it’s made from goat’s milk. Nowadays, you’re more likely to find it made with cow’s milk.
Queso añejo is a fine addition to enchiladas, burritos, and yes, tacos. Crumbled, shredded, or melted, it’s great all three ways.
Another type of Mexican cheese that’s widely available is cotija. It’s an aged cheese used in many Mexican dishes.
Named after a town in Michoacán, cotija has a distinct salty taste. The texture is also crumbly, working great as a topping. Try it with savory beef tacos and you’ll see what I mean!
Unlike cheddar or Jack, cotija is not a melty cheese. But it’s a versatile garnish great with meat and plant-based tacos alike.
4. Queso de Oaxaca
Don’t let it fool you, that’s not mozzarella! It’s queso de Oaxaca. This cow’s milk cheese is another popular choice in Mexican cuisine. It’s creamy, mild, and slightly salty.
Stringy and stretchy, queso de Oaxaca is a fine cheese for melting. Although, it’s also good used as a garnish.
Add it to carne asada, chorizo, nopales, squash, or chicken tacos. The creaminess is a great balance for fillings packed with spices.
5. Queso Asadero
Want a melty cheese for your taco night? Queso asadero is right up your alley.
Hailing from Chihuahua, this Mexican delight is a type of pulled curd cheese. Mild and creamy, it melts easily.
Add it to a tortilla to get it nice and melty. Then load up on your fillings. Queso asadero pairs well with steak, birria, and even chili relleno tacos.
6. Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar needs no introduction! For grilled cheese, burgers, or with crackers, we want it on everything. Tacos are also part of that list. Mild, medium, or sharp, all types work. Just match the flavor with the fillings.
You can sprinkle it on top or melt it for a gooey treat. It pairs great with sour cream, salsa, lettuce, and all kinds of meat.
Or, skip the protein and load up on cheddar with all the veggies.
7. Monterey Jack Cheese
Not too sharp or too salty, Monterey Jack is the perfect balance. The mild taste and semi-creamy texture make it a universal cheese.
It levels up spicy tacos without overpowering the meat. Yet, it also adds a complementary flavor.
One of the best things about this cheese is it melts well and grates easily. Seafood, meat, or plant-based, Monterey Jack is a prime addition to many kinds of tacos.
Choosing the Right Cheese for Your Tacos
When building tacos, it’s important to choose complementary toppings. The cheese you use is no exception. From the texture to the taste, it should enhance the overall flavor.
Creamy cheeses are great for spicy tacos. They help balance the heat and the spices flavoring the meat.
Sharp types like cheddar match bold proteins like ground beef. Milder kinds can also present a complementary contrast.
Also, think about what consistency you want. Crumbly cheeses are ideal as a garnish. Others melt easily creating a yummy gooey texture.
How to Use Cheese in Tacos
Believe it or not, cheese is not a traditional taco ingredient. But don’t let that stop you! It’s a great addition. It’s merely a matter of how you use it.
For authentic Mexican tacos, stick with the three standard toppings: white onion, cilantro, and salsa.
Otherwise, by all means, load up on the cheese! Cheddar, jack, queso de Oaxaca, use the best type to suit your fillings. There are three primary ways to add it.
First, you can sprinkle it on top. Crumbly types like cotija and queso fresco are excellent as a garnish.
Second, take the melted route. Add the cheese to a warm tortilla, followed by the meat and the other fillings.
The heat helps make it ooey-gooey. Also, be sure to use a type that easily melts.
Finally, turn it into a shell. It’s a fun twist that has a dual purpose. You get a high-protein taco shell and a nibble of cheese in every bite.
Any way you add it, it’ll be great!
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