Friday 20 April 2018

Best Cheeses to Turn Your Taco Dinner into a Fiesta

What’s the best cheese for tacos? If you’ve been making your tacos with cheddar, mozzarella, or a three-cheese blend, you might not have any complaints. After all, a mediocre taco is still a taco; which is to say, better than most foods anyway. But if you’ve become tired with your Taco Tuesday routine, or if you want to elevate your taco into something a lot more appetizing, then your cheese choice might need to be adjusted. There’s an entire world of cheeses that can elevate your taco from mediocre to miraculous.

History of Cheese on Tacos

According to Jeffrey M. Pilcher, a history professor at the University of Minnesota, tacos were likely invented in the 18th century by Mexican silver miners (and then reinvented by Mexican Americans in the southwest). The basic taco that many Americans are familiar with - hard shells, ground beef, cheddar cheese or queso, iceberg lettuce, and tomato - is a reinvention of the Mexican dish using more American ingredients.

Authentic Mexican tacos are a little different. They use small, soft corn tortillas (usually lightly grilled or steamed), meats (anything from beef to pork and chicken to seafood), and herbs and vegetables. These might include avocado, salsa, onions, and cilantro. Cheese isn’t necessarily a typical ingredient on an authentic Mexican taco. However, if it is used, it’s almost certainly not the bagged three cheese blend you find in the grocery store.

Best Cheese for Tacos

If you aren’t concerned with authenticity (or if you just love cheese), you’re probably still interested in the best cheese for tacos. There are a variety of fresh white cheeses that not only will give you a more authentic Mexican taco experience, but you might also find that they taste better.

Below, find a few of our suggestions of authentic Mexican cheeses that will make your taco night the most popular taco night in town.


Oaxaca is a semi-soft, stringy white cheese with a mild flavor. Its mellow and buttery notes make it a popular choice for quesadillas. Its texture and flavor are comparable to Monterey Jack. Oaxaca is a great choice for kids because of its mild flavor.


Cotija is a hard, crumbly white cheese from the Parmesan family; it is similar to feta cheese in appearance. Cotija has a strong, salty flavor and doesn’t melt. Not only is it a good cheese for tacos, it also can be sprinkled on chilis, salads, and soups.

Anejo Enchilado

Anejo Enchilado is one of the best cheeses for tacos, burritos, or enchiladas. It can be made from either goat milk or cow milk, but the result is a semi-hard, cheese with a strong, spicy, salty flavor. Some of the flavor notes of anejo enchilado are owed to the process of rolling aneja enchilado in paprika, meaning that the cheese wheel has a distinct, bright red exterior. The more this cheese ages, the more it is easy to shred or grate, which is when it becomes ideal for baking or grilling tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.

Queso Fresco (Adobera)

Queso Fresco is another popular choice for kids because of its mild, salty flavor. In some regions of Mexico, the cheese is also flavored with pepper or adobo (making it a bit more spicy), but overall, queso fresco is a mild, fresh cheese that’s an easy crowd pleaser.

Chihuahua (Menonita)

Chihuahua (or Menonita) cheese is similar in flavor and texture to mild, white cheddar or Monterey Jack. Unlike many Mexican cheeses, which are white, chihuahua cheese has a light yellow color. It melts well and has a mild, buttery taste that makes it ideal for tacos.

There are countless more varieties of cheese, Mexican and otherwise, that may make the perfect pair with your taco. Which cheese will you try on your next taco night? Are there any cheeses that you would never use on a taco?


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  2. Loved the description of each cheese and suggested uses. I believe I will try them all in the future. Thanks for the info.

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