In Wisconsin, we crave the queso

Most Americans have yet to catch on to Hispanic-style cheeses. Maybe they've tasted queso quesadilla at a local taqueria, or had a sprinkle of cotija on the grilled corn at the local Mexican food truck. But there's so much more to know and taste when it comes to wide world of south-of-the-border cheeses.

In Wisconsin, we're big on queso because we're big on cheese. Whoever makes it, wherever it's from, we want to find it, taste, make it, and then make it better.

So let us be your introduction to the world of queso – from the super melty oaxaca cheese and queso quesadilla, to the incredibly crumbly and tangy cotija cheese, to the fresh world of flavor that is queso fresco and our own GranQueso®.

Ready to roll? ¡Vamonos!

Pick a queso. Any queso.

Here's a quick rundown of some of the highlights of Hispanic-style cheese from Wisconsin – and what to drink them with.

Queso Fresco – this moist and milky white cheese is most like a ricotta or farmers cheese – an easy-to-crumble, super tasty, fresh wonder. Try it with a Mexican lager with lime, a pilsner, or a pale ale. For wine, you can't go wrong with light whites or rosés. And tequila is never not an option.

Cotija – this tasty crumbler is nicknamed the "Parmesan of Mexico" for its crystalline texture and salty, tangy flavor. A margarita or Mexican lager with lime pair well, along with any fruity, citrusy beverage.

Queso quesadilla – a mild and creamy super-melty Mexican cheese, this queso variety is a versatile cheese that makes any quesadilla feel like the luckiest dish in the world. Pair it with pilsner, lager, or kolsch. White wines and rosés will do, too. For a kick with your queso quesadilla, try fellow native-Mexican mezcal.

GranQueso® – this manchego-style cheese from our own Roth's Cheese has been a big winner on the red cheese carpet award circuit for seven years in a row. Hand-rubbed with a blend of cinnamon paprika, this cheese is the star of any cheese board spread. We recommend rioja, vinho verde, and albariño, or port, sherry, and tequila.

Oaxaca – this fresh, white, high-moisture melter is made with the same process as mozzarella. Its mild flavor goes well with lighter beverages – champagne, pinot grigio, and sauvignon blanc. For beer, a pilsner, American pale lager, or wheat ale works well. If liquor is on the menu, a light rum pairs nicely with oaxaca cheese.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: What is queso?

What is queso fresca?

Queso fresco is a fresh Mexican cheese with a moist but crumbly texture and a mild flavor. Queso fresco is often used as a garnish for soup, a complement for sweet salads, or a snowy white topping for tacos, enchiladas, huevos rancheros, and other Mexican dishes. It gets softer when heated, but it's difficult to melt.

What is queso quesadilla?

Queso quesadilla is a creamy, smooth, semi-soft white cheese that originates in northwestern Mexico and melts beautifully. It's the cheese that is said to have inspired the name "quesadilla."

What is cotija cheese?

Cotija is a Mexican 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 parmesan and is sometimes called the "Parmesan of Mexico". As cotija cheese does not melt, it's usually grated and sprinkled atop dishes.

What is Oaxaca cheese?

Oaxaca is a semi-soft cheese from Mexico with a flavor like a young monterey jack but a texture like mozzarella or string cheese. It's named after the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, where it originated. Oaxaca cheese is made with the same Italian string cheese process that is used to make mozzarella. A fresh white cheese with a mild buttery flavor, oaxaca melts easily, making it an excellent cheese for baking.

Okay, so…Wisconsin queso?

Wisconsin makes killer queso. There, we said it. You don't have to get queso fresco from Campeche or cotija from, well, Cotija. You can get exceptional, award-winning queso from the master cheesemakers in the heart of America's dairy land.

In Wisconsin, where we've been making cheese for 175 years, we combine the best traditions with the latest innovations, always striving to make a more perfect cheese, to make more cheese, and to make more kinds of cheese than anybody else.

And so far, so good. On the quantity front, we're the largest producer of cheese in America, making one- quarter of all cheese and nearly half of all artisan cheese – like Mexican queso – produced in the U.S. And when it comes to quality, well, we've bagged more cheese awards than any country or state on earth – including 156 for our Hispanic-style cheeses. (Bet you didn't see that coming!)

So when you're looking for great queso, look north to Wisconsin. We'll hook you up with the some of the freshest, brightest, and tangiest Hispanic-style cheeses you'll ever sprinkle on elote or melt on a tostada. No need to thank us. Your "¡Ay, Dios mío! This queso's the bomb!" is all we really need.

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?

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