MEXICAN CHEESE TYPES

ANEJO to REQUESON

ANEJO:  Aged queso fresco. Use crumbled or grated. Substitute: Romano

ASADERO:  Also called queso quesadilla because of its usefulness in that dish. Usually sold sliced, asadero melts well and can be used for nachos or burgers. Substitutes: Fontina, Monterey Jack, Muenster or Teleme (referred to as a "poor man's brie" from California)

CHIHUAHUS:  Melting cheese, similar to a mild cheddar or Monterey Jack; also known as queso menonita because it was introduced by the Mennonites. Use in queso fundido, chile con queso, cheese sauces or casseroles. Substitutes: Muenster, Medium Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mild Cheddar

CHONTALENO and CHONTALENO AHUMADO:  Dry, grating cheeses, "ahumado" means smoked.

COTIJA:  Salty, dry grating cheese, sometimes referred to as Mexican Parmesan. Use as topping for beans, Caesar salads and many other savory dishes. Softens but does not melt. Substitute: Parmesan

CREMA:  Not really a cheese but a dairy staple in Mexican cuisine. Crema is a heavy cream similar in taste to créme fraiche. Thicker versions of crema are used as additions to sauces and the thinner crema is used as a topping for tostadas, tacos, and enchiladas. Substitute: Créme Fraiche, or make your own.

ENCHILADO:  Literallly means "flavored with chile"; similar to cotija anejo but coated with mild chile or paprika. Substitute: Feta

MANCHEGO:  Mellow, firm cheese similar to a slightly aged Jack, with some nutty character; melts well; use in cooked dishes or as a snacking cheese. Manchego is actually a cheese from Spain. Substitute: Pecorino Romano

OAXACA:  Mild, firm, slightly tangy cheese similar in texture to mozzarella. Typically braided and shaped into a ball. It "strings" like mozzarella when heated and can be used in quesadillas and other cooked dishes. Look for a spicy version too which is flavored with cherry pits. Substitutes: Mozzarella or Armenian String Cheese.

QUESO CRIOLLO:  One of the few Mexican "yellow" cheeses very similar to Munster. This is a gratable cheese. Substitute: Munster

QUESO FRESCO:  Translates to "fresh cheese". The U.S. version is soft, moist, milk and crumbly cheese for sprinkling over enchiladas or black bean soup or crumbling onto a salad. Sadly, most the versions in the U.S. do not melt very well. In Mexico, the cheese is used to stuff chiles or for quesadillas. Substitute: Feta

REQUESON:  Fresh, mild, curd-like cheese similar to ricotta. Used in filling and desserts.

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