Cotija cheese is that crumbly cheese that graces so many of our favorite Mexican dishes. It’s salty, tangy flavor adds punch to everything from refried beans to elote. Let’s take a look at this delicious Mexican cheese, plus 20 ways to devour it!
Just saying the word sends me into a dreamy state as I think about all its creamy, salty goodness and the hundreds of varieties it comes in.
No doubt about it, I’m a cheese LOVER. I admire the way it can take on so many forms: creamy, buttery, funky, or sharp. But the one cheese I turn to when I want to add “umph” to a dish is Cotija.
Are you a fan? Let’s take a closer look at this important Mexican ingredient and 20 fantastic ways to use it!
what is cotija cheese?
Queso Cotija is a cow’s milk cheese made in the town of Cotija, Michoacán.
It is an aged cheese but you can buy it in varying states of aging. Cheese labeled, Fresh Cotija, is not actually a fresh cheese, it has just been aged less time and is moist and firm and crumbles into big chunks. Feta cheese or ricotta salata make a good substitutes for fresh Cotija.
The aged version is harder and drier and is perfect for crumbling or grating. Aged Cotija is more similar to parmesan or pecorino Romano or other aged Italian cheeses.
does cotija cheese melt?
Cotija cheese has very little moisture so it will soften with heat but still maintain its crumbly texture.
That doesn’t mean it should only be relegated to the garnish of a dish. Even though you aren’t going to get massive cheese pulls out of Cotija, I still love mixing it into recipes. Keep scrolling for some of my favorites!
where to buy it!
Nowadays you can find Cotija at almost every grocery store with the other Mexican cheeses like queso fresco and Oaxaca cheese.
If you can’t find it at your local store, check your neighborhood Latin market or ask your grocer to get with the program and start stocking it!
You can buy Cotija in blocks, wedges, or already grated.
more mexican ingredients to explore!
- 11 Delicious Ways To Use Tajín
- How To Make Mexican Chorizo From Scratch
- 17 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce Recipes
- What Are Flor de Jamaica?
- 21 Insanely Delicious Tomatillo Recipes
- Inside A Mexican Pantry: The Ultimate Guide
- 12 Jicama Recipes To Get Your Crunch On
what’s your favorite way to eat it?
Leave me a comment below and let me know! Did you try one of the recipes listed above? When you do please let me know by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see!