Oaxaca cheese, also known as Queso Oaxaca, Asadeiro, or Quesillo is a white, semi-soft, string-type cheese used mainly in Mexican or South American cuisine.
It is known as Mexican mozzarella cheese, as that is the closest alternative. It is usually shredded and added on top of tostadas, or sliced and added to main dishes such as quesadillas.
You can usually find Oaxaca cheese in supermarkets or Mexican specialty supermarkets, or if not, there are substitutes that you can use. Oaxaca cheese is the most authentic cheese you can use. However, there are still many ways you can substitute it for your future recipes.
Best Oaxaca Cheese Substitutes
When your recipe asks for Oaxaca cheese but you don’t have it at hand, pick some of the next substitutes and enjoy a lovely meal.
Fresh mozzarella cheese is very similar to Mexican Oaxaca cheese and just might be less salty. Buffalo mozzarella, mozzarella’s creamier relative, is the best substitute for Oaxaca cheese. It is available in cheese stores or regular supermarkets.
The best way to replace buffalo mozzarella with Oaxaca cheese is to sprinkle extra salt on it, to really resemble the flavor of the cheese. Bufala mozzarella is creamy and flavorful, and a great topping in addition to any dish you make, whether it’s tostadas, quesadillas, or tacos.
2. String cheese
String cheese is actually the easiest accessible cheese to use in place of Oaxaca because it has a slightly creamy, yet stringy consistency and a salty taste.
It melts really well and can be either sliced or grated to put on top or in a dish. A standard American string cheese that you find at the supermarket is a great alternative to Oaxaca cheese, and you can use it in the same way as well.
3. Unaged Monterey Jack cheese
Oaxaca has a mild flavor and can be compared to unaged Monterey Jack cheese, which is also a mild cheese that melts well.
You can use it in anything from pasta to sandwiches. If you can’t find Oaxaca cheese, you can use Monterey Jack cheese. It will provide the same results in your meals, whether you grate it or slice it. It is also available in most supermarkets, making it easier to find.
4. Muenster cheese
Muenster cheese is a semi-soft cheese from the United States. It is known for being great for melting and in recipes because of its mild flavor.
The texture and flavor can be compared to Oaxaca cheese and therefore it is a great substitute, and you can use Munster cheese in equal parts instead of Oaxaca. Whichever dish you make, you can use muenster cheese and achieve great results.
5. Asadero cheese
Asadero cheese is another Mexican, semi-firm cheese, giving it a slightly different texture to Oaxaca cheese. However, it is still working well with tacos, enchiladas, and tostadas.
Asadero cheese has a great flavor, melts well, and you can easily grate it. It’s a Mexican cheese to try if you can’t find Oaxaca cheese.
6. Homemade Oaxaca cheese
Although this takes a lot more effort than finding a cheese substitute, it is possible to make your own Oaxaca cheese. It is so similar to mozzarella, so you can find many recipes online.
All you have to do is boil milk with some kind of acid such as lemon juice. Then, wait until it forms curds, and stretch the curds out. Of course, this will take a bit of practice. However, if you want to make your own Oaxaca cheese, it definitely is possible.
7. Cheddar curds
Cheese curds are the mass that is separated from the whey once the milk is boiled. And it is essentially unfermented, slightly squeaky cheese.
Cheese curds are most famously used on poutine and you can easily find them in the US or Canada. Thanks to their mild taste and great texture, they make a good substitute for Oaxaca cheese. They melt well and have a great, yet mild flavor.
8. Armenian Style string cheese
Armenian Style String Cheese is a great type of cheese to use instead of Oaxaca because it’s incredibly similar in both taste and texture.
It’s a semi-soft white cheese made from goat’s milk. It is stretched in a similar manner to Oaxaca cheese, making it perfect to put on tacos, enchiladas, or tostadas. You can easily find it if you live near an Armenian or Middle Eastern shop. It is sometimes available in supermarkets as well.
9. Queso Panela
Queso Panela is another white Mexican cheese with a smooth texture. You can usually find it in salads or quesadillas, which makes it a good substitute for Oaxaca cheese.
It has a creamy and salty flavor and melts well. So, if you can’t find Oaxaca, a good Mexican cheese to use in place of it is Queso Panela. Queso Panela is also known as Queso Canasta.
10. Ricotta Salata
This cheese does not have exactly the same texture as Oaxaca cheese.
However, its salty, savory taste makes it a great substitute for Oaxaca cheese. It is widely available in supermarkets. However, unlike regular ricotta which is super soft, Ricotta Salata is much firmer and saltier and usually sold in blocks.
It is perfect for grating and crumbling, making it a good substitute for Oaxaca cheese.
What is Oaxaca cheese?
Oaxaca cheese (pronounced wa-ha-ca) is a Mexican cheese from the Oaxaca area in Mexico. It is a semi-soft, stringy cheese made of cow’s milk. You can use it in many Mexican dishes because it can be grated or sliced and melts well.
You will see Oaxaca cheese on Mexican foods like quesadillas, Tostitos, etc. It is a very sought-after cheese outside of Mexico. It is also available in supermarkets or specialty food stores.
Is Oaxaca cheese like Mozzarella?
Oaxaca cheese can be compared to mozzarella because the two are made in similar ways and have similar flavor profiles, as well as having the same, stringy texture.
In fact, the best substitute for Oaxaca cheese is using creamier buffalo mozzarella cheese and adding more salt to it. This cheese resembles Oaxaca cheese the most. Oaxaca cheese is almost the Mexican version of mozzarella cheese.
What is the white crumbly cheese on Mexican food?
The white crumbly cheese on Mexican food is called Queso de Cotija. It resembles a saltier feta cheese. The cheese is super flavorful and works well on top of salads, tostadas, or tacos.
It is a staple in Mexican households and another great Mexican cheese to try. Another popular Mexican cheese is Queso Fresco, which is a creamy, unaged cheese made from cow’s milk.
What can I substitute for Queso Fresco?
Queso fresco is a unique, creamy cheese, but you can find substitutes for it.
The best substitutes are paneer, feta cheese, ricotta Salata cheese, and mild goats cheese. However, Queso Blanco is the most similar to queso fresco and it is also a Mexican cheese worth trying. You can put Queso fresco on top of salads or tacos. Or any Mexican dish.
A lot of Mexican dishes call for cotija cheese, queso fresco, Oaxaca cheese, or Queso Blanco, as they are the most common cheeses and can be used interchangeably.
What can you use Oaxaca cheese for?
In Mexican cooking, Oaxaca cheese is usually grated over tostadas or used as a topping or it can be sliced and used in quesadillas. This cheese melts really well and has a mild flavor. So, it won’t overpower the other ingredients in the quesadilla.
You can use Oaxaca cheese for anything. Many people have used it in pasta or burgers because it is such a versatile cheese.