Cotija Cheese

Cooking with cotija cheese? Count us in!

Cotija cheese makes the world a little better. When cotija is around, everything gets a little zestier. Simply put, it makes the sweet sweeter, the tang tangier and the yum yummier - especially when cooking your favorite Mexican recipe!

One of Mexico's most famous cheeses, cotija is a semi-hard, slightly aged cheese with the crumbly texture of parmesan but a stronger, saltier flavor. Try as you might, cotija cheese won't melt, so it's sprinkled or crumbled on everything from soups and salads to tacos and tostadas. Once you try this Mexican-style beauty, you'll always want to keep a stash in your fridge. Gracias, Mexico, for introducing us to this one-of-a-kind classic.

Where can you crumble cotija cheese?

Cotija brings out the flavor in anything, but we like to sprinkle or crumble it on enchiladas, tostadas, chilaquiles, and rellenos. Taco salad gets its zest on when you crumble cotija on top. And don't be afraid to try it on pasta or pizza – cotija shines everywhere you would normally use parmesan.

For beverages, when cotija is in the mix, we're getting thirsty for a margarita or a Mexican lager with lime. Aguas frescas – cold freshly made Mexican juices – pair nicely with this cheese variety. Basically anything that's light and fruity with citrus is going to ring cotija's bell.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: What is cotija cheese?

What is cotija cheese?

Cotija is a Mexican-style cheese from the town of Cotija in the state of Michoacán. Made from cow's milk, fresh cotija resembles feta cheese. After aging, it's more like crumbly parmigiano-reggiano, and Cotija cheese is very versatile, so it can be used in a variety of ways. In Mexico it is often used to enrich the flavor of savory hot dishes.

How is cotija cheese made?

Cotija cheese is made by milling the cheese curd into small pieces, mixing it with salt, pressing the cheese for extended time to remove moisture, soaking it in a salt brine for several days, then allowing the cheese to age 2 to 12 months.

What does Cotija mean?

Like many of the cheeses made in Wisconsin, the name comes from the place that the cheese originated. Cotija is the name of the town in the state of Michoacán, which lies in the south west of Mexico.

Is cotija cheese the same as queso fresco or oaxaca cheese?

Cotija cheese is quite different from queso fresco and oaxaca cheese. As its name implies, queso fresco is a fresh cheese, while cotija is typically aged 2 to 12 months. Cotija has a hard, granular texture and does not melt, so it is used sprinkled on top of various dishes to enhance them with its sharp tangy flavor. Queso fresco is softer and creamier with a milder flavor than cotija. Oaxaca cheese, on the other hand, has a different texture altogether – it's more stringy and elastic like mozzarella.

The best Parmesan of Mexico is in…Wisconsin?

Why go north to Wisconsin for a cheese originally from the south in Mexico? Because Wisconsin is where cheesemakers go to become Cheese Masters. Because great cheese knows no borders. And basically, because we make dang good cotija cheese.

It's not just Mexican-style cheese like cotija that thrives in Wisconsin. Our cheesemakers have pioneered and perfected cheeses from all over the world, winning piles of prizes in the process. Cheesemaking's been part of our culture since 1837, a decade before Wisconsin became a state. Cheese is to Wisconsin what sunshine is to Mexico – it's everywhere. In fact, we do more flavors and varieties of cheese than anywhere else on earth, and we win more awards than any country or state. (Not trying to brag – that's just a fact.)

So next time you get the chance to taste cotija cheese from Wisconsin, don't hesitate to say "Si, por favor."

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

Back to Categories

Wisconsin Cheese Feed

Check out the world’s largest cheese platform.

Join our
ever-expanding Cheese Feeds:

View our Current Issue

View Now