4 Best Cotija Cheese Substitutes for Your Favorite Mexican Dish

Cotija is a cow’s milk cheese from Mexico. It has a tough, crumbly texture. It is ideal for any Mexican recipe, particularly savory ones. If you don’t have this sort of cow’s cheese at home, don’t panic; there are plenty of substitutes.

The Substitutes for cotija cheese are:

  1. Feta cheese
  2. Parmesan cheese
  3. Romano cheese
  4. Queso fresco.

Please keep reading to discover more about these replacements and their applications.

What Is Cotija Cheese

Cotija is a crumbly Mexican cheese produced from cow’s milk with a salty, acidic taste. Cotija is one of those cheeses that does not melt well, hence it is frequently used as a garnish or topping on dishes.

Cotija cheese is often found in Mexican dishes such as burritos, tacos, enchiladas, Elote (hot corn), salads, and sour cream and cheese dips.

Cotija cheese comes in two varieties: aged and fresh. The aged variety has a firm texture and a harsh flavor, as compared to the fresh version, which has a soft texture and a softer flavor.

This wonderful cheese complements both savory and spicy foods.

Cotija Cheese Substitutes

Feta Cheese 

Feta cheese is a curd cheese that originated in Greece. In fact, the term Feta in Greek means “slice.” Feta is a soft and crumbly cheese with a white tint and a salty taste.

I’m sure you’ve all used this cheese at some point in your life; after all, who hasn’t placed a little crumbled feta cheese in their salad bowl?

Salads, sandwiches, pizzas, soups, roasted vegetables with olive oil, pies, and pastries all combine well with feta cheese. This white cheese adds a salty flavor to any meal.

Recipes With Feta Cheese

  • Salad with Feta cheese, tomato, cucumber, onions, olives, green peppers, and fresh mint leaves from Greece. This is the perfect salad for a hot summer day or evening, and it is also incredibly simple to prepare.
  • Use It As A Stuffing-Mix some eggs into your crumbled feta cheese and put it into your favorite pies, pastries, or even peppers.
  • Pizza-Sprinkle some feta on top of your pizza and top it with fresh tomatoes and olives for a more fresh, Mediterranean taste.
  • Roasted Feta-Oven roast the feta cubes with olive oil, tomatoes, and basil. Serve with warm baguette bread or other toasted bread.
  • Tirokafteri Dip-A Greek dip comprised of feta cheese, Greek yogurt, and spicy pepper. It’s usually accompanied with pita bread or chips.
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Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan is a hard-textured Italian cheese that is used for grating over meals. Parmigiano Reggiano is the genuine parmesan cheese and hence the most costly on the market, despite the fact that there are other parmesan cheese alternatives and imitations.

Parmesan is a hard cheese similar to cotija, except it is less salty and has a nutty flavor. Parmesan is a popular ingredient in many pasta meals as well as other foods throughout the world.

Parmesan Cheese In Cooking And Baking

One of the most popular cheeses at the grocery shop is parmesan. With its sharp and nutty flavor, this wonderful aged cheese can do it everything.

Combine it with your favorite crackers and fruits, grate it on top of your spaghetti, add it to pastries to make them more flaky and cheesy, or melt it in your cheese sauce or mashed potatoes.

 Recipes Using Parmesan

  • Table Cheese- Served on a platter with crackers and grapes, parmesan is a fantastic snack for when visitors arrive and you don’t have time to prepare anything.
  • Grilled Steak-After removing the steak from the grill and placing it on a platter, grate some thicker pieces of parmesan over it. It not only improves the flavor of the meat, but it also looks great on the platter.
  • Roasted Cauliflower-If you’re a parent who battles to convince your children to eat their vegetables, this is the recipe for you. Grate a substantial quantity of parmesan cheese over your previously oiled cauliflower pieces. Bake it for 20 minutes on medium heat and serve with dill dip or ranch sauce.
  • Roasted Potatoes-10 minutes before they’re done, toss in half a cup of finely grated parmesan cheese and some chopped chives. Parmesan has excellent melting characteristics and will coat each potato with a gooey, cheesy layer.
  • To make the chicken breading extra crispy, add more parmesan to the breading mixture.

Queso Fresco


Mexican Queso fresco is a light, fresh, and creamy cheese prepared from raw cow milk and sometimes goat milk. The word fresco means “fresh” in Spanish, and that is precisely what this cheese provides to every meal.

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Unlike heavier cheeses, queso fresco has a mild taste that may freshen and contrast hefty dishes like enchiladas, tacos, or anything spicy. This cheese is predominantly used in Mexican cuisine, but it has found its way into many other cuisines as well.

Recipes With Queso Fresco

  • Salad-Queso fresco is a great alternative for feta in salads. Enjoy the flavor of summer in a bowl by topping your salad with crumbled queso fresco and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Enchiladas-This fresh cheese is one of the most significant toppings for an Enchilada.
  • Refried Beans-Add some crumbled queso fresco on top of your refried beans for some freshness and saltiness. Because beans are a heavy food, this cheese will have a softer taste.
  • Chicken Tacos-Queso fresco works well in chicken tacos, particularly when made hot.
  • Buttered Corn-Add some queso fresco dip to your buttered corn, or just sprinkle the queso cheese on top of the corn with some fresh cilantro.

Romano Cheese

Pecorino Romano is a salty, firm cheese from Italy with a gritty texture. It is often grate on top of spaghetti, exactly like parmesan cheese.

A real pecorino romano cheese is created from sheep’s milk, whilst other types of romano cheese are made from cow’s or goat’s milk.

Because of its firm texture and nutty taste, this cheese is often used in place of parmesan in recipes. Romano cheese has the same nutty and sweet taste as parmesan, but it is more saltier and has more fat and moisture.

Types Of Romano Cheese

  • Pecorino Romano-This is the authentic Romano cheese. It is a cheese manufactured from sheep’s milk, which gives it a unique flavor. It has a crumbly texture and a powerful, pungent flavor.
  • Vaccino Romano- This is a cow’s milk-based romano cheese. Its flavor is still rather strong, but it is a gentler form of pecorino romano.
  • Caprino Romano-This cheese has one of the strongest flavors and aromas I’ve ever encountered. It’s prepared using goat milk.
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Recipes With Cotija Cheese

  • Elote-This roasted, spicy, and flavorful maize is even better when topped with aged cotija cheese.
  • Cotija Cheese Biscuits-Due to its crumbly nature, Cotija works nicely with biscuit dough. It adds moisture and flakiness to your biscuits.
  • Salad with Cotija Cheese-Like feta cheese, cotija is a light cheese that can brighten up any salad.
  • tortilla-Add some cotija cheese to any style of tortilla to make it more light and salty.


What Mexican cheese is closest to cotija?

Fresh cheese

Queso Fresco translates to “fresh cheese” in Spanish. If you can obtain cotija in shops or have some on hand, this is the finest replacement. It has a similar taste to cotija but is a little milder. It’s already a popular component in Mexican cuisine, so it’s not a huge leap.

What does cotija cheese compared to?

Because of its salty taste, solid texture, and ease of crumbling, cotija is often likened to feta. Feta is a Greek cheese that is primarily produced with pasteurized goat milk. However, in the United States, feta cheese is often prepared using cow’s milk, making it more similar to Cotija.

What is a good substitute for Mexican cheese?

Paneer, halloumi, or a firm ricotta are the finest replacements.

What can I use instead of cotija cheese in Oaxaca?

Alternatives to Oaxaca cheese

Asadero cheese, from the state of Chihuahua in northern Mexico, is a popular replacement. If you can’t locate asadero, try mozzarella, Monterey jack, or Muenster, which are all commonly accessible in the United States.

Which is better cotija or queso fresco?

Taste: Queso fresco has a milder taste and is not nearly as salty as cotija, particularly aged cotija. Texture: Queso fresco is softer and moister than cotija, which is drier and more hard.

Is Queso Blanco similar to cotija?

Blanco Queso versus.

For sprinkling or crumbling, cotija or queso anejo, which have a drier texture and stronger taste than queso blanco, might be substituted.

What is the most similar to cotija cheese?

The Top 10 Cotija Cheese Substitutes
Fresh cheese.
Feta Cheese.
Parmesan is a kind of cheese.
Crumbles of goat cheese.
The Romano cheese.
Grana Padano cheese.
Romano Pecorino.

Is Oaxaca cheese the same as cotija cheese?

Is Oaxaca cheese the same as queso fresco or cotija? Oaxaca cheese is not the same as queso fresco or cotija cheese. Oaxaca is a mild cheese with a stringy texture similar to mozzarella that melts quickly. Cotija cheese has a harsh sour taste and a gritty texture that won’t melt, similar to aged parmesan.

Do Parmesan and cotija taste the same?

Parmesan. Parmesan and Romano cheeses are hard cheeses that may be used in place of aged cotija. In fact, some individuals believe cotija to be the Mexican equivalent of parmesan cheese. Parmesan cheese has a taste profile similar to cotija, but with fruity and nutty overtones.

What can I substitute cotija cheese with?

Feta cheese is the finest like-for-like alternative for cotija cheese overall. You may use it the same way you would cotija (as a filler or garnish). It has a similar crumbly texture, salty and mild taste, and is available at most local supermarkets.

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