Queso fresco recipe

Today I want to share Queso Fresco recipe, a mexican fresh cheese that you can make easily at home. You only need a few ingredients to enjoy this delicious cheese that will go wonderful with your favourites mexican dishes.

This type of cheese is made from raw milk (or store-bought) and there’s no need for rennet because the vinegar and yogurt will do the trick.

What is Queso Fresco?

Mexican fresh cheese is a soft, white cheese with a fluffy and soft texture. It is prepared mainly with cow’s milk and sometimes with a mixture of goat and cow’s milk.

It is a dairy product widely used in Mexican cuisine and it accompanies countless dishes; from the classic mexican antojitos to more traditional and elaborate dishes such as enmoladas.

This cheese is perfect for crumbling on top of flautas, taquitos or tostadas. Personally, I love adding it to green mexican spaghetti or on my frijoles de la olla as well. Whatever you choose, I assure you that it will enrich the flavor of your dishes.

How to store

This queso fresco last only a few days in the fridge (about 4-5 max). So keep this in mind that when making the recipe. To store it place it in a glass container preferably and put it in the coldest spot in fridge.

Can you freeze cheese?

Yes. Even though experts will tell you to never freeze fresh cheese (or any other type for that matters). I do it all the time because is the best way for me to storage my homemade queso fresco. So, what I do is to cut the cheese in small portions, then wrap it in parchment paper and place it in the freeze.

Once I’ll need the cheese, I’ll just defrost it in the fridge for a couple of hours before using it.

Queso fresco displayed on cheesecloth

Ingredients for homemade Queso Fresco

MILK – The best Queso Fresco comes from a unpasteurized milk. But these days is not so easy to find it. Use store-bought whole milk instead and avoid using low fat milk or any vegetable beverages such as almond milk, soy milk, etc.

YOGURT – Greek yogurt gives a nice texture and helps making the curd; but it’s totally optional. If you not adding the yogurt, add one extra tablespoon of vinegar.

VINEGAR – White vinegar or apple cider vinegar are a good option.

SALT – Any type of salt, I prefer sea salt.

Utensils

  • A large pot where you can place 1 gallon (4 liters) of milk or more.
  • A digital thermometer for accurate reading. It can be done also without it, just pay special attention when the milk will be ready to boil.
  • A medium bowl to place the colander over.
  • A medium colander to place the curd to drain off the excess of whey.
  • Cheesecloth. If you don’t have one, also a cotton kitchen cloth or paper kitchen towels works fine.

Queso fresco recipe – Step by Step

Place the milk in a large pot. Let it heat until the milk is about to boil, that is, between 80 ° C and 90 ° C (178 to 190F).

If you do not have a thermometer, you will notice that the milk begins to bubble around the edges of the pot before boiling, that would be the exact moment that is called “to the point of boiling”.

Milk in a pot with a thermometer.

Turn of the heat and then add the yogurt. Stir for 10-15 seconds and let it sit for 2 minutes.

Adding yogurt to milk to make the cheese

Add half the vinegar and mix again for 10 seconds. Then let it sit for another 2 minutes. Stir in the other half of vinegar and mix slowly for one minute.

Adding vinegar to the pot with milk to make queso fresco

You will notice how the milk has become a curd and has started to separate from the whey. Set aside until it reaches room temperature (about 1 hour).

Queso fresco curd, mixing with a spoon

Line the colander with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel and set over large bowl.

Transfer curds to prepared colander, cover exposed top with cloth, and allow to drain for about 20 minutes.

Placing cheese onto a cheesecloth

When most of the whey has drained off, lift the edges of the cheesecloth up and twist, wrapping the cheese into a ball; then carefully squeeze off excess whey.

Squeezing the cheese with hands

Place the cheese on a container and add salt to taste. Mix well with a wood spoon but try to not overmix otherwise you’ll end up with cream cheese.

Mixing cheese and salt in a bowl with a spoon

The cheese is ready. So, use molds to give it a shape or make it rounded with your hands. You can also use a bowl and place it there. Just try to not press too much or it won’t crumble easily.

Shaping queso fresco using two cheese molds.

Place Queso Freso in the refrigerator and let it sit for a couple of hours before consuming it.

Recipe Notes

  • If it’s the first time you make the Queso Fresco recipe, you might notice that the cheese is a bit creamy (like cream cheese); this may be for several reasons. For example overmixing when seasoning with salt or pressing so hard when shaping.
  • You can omit the yogurt if you want, just add one more tablespoon of vinegar.
  • I’ve noticed that when I don’t let the curds cool completely, the cheese tends to get creamy, so it’s important to let it cool completely if you want a cheese that crumbles well.
  • Making Queso Fresco with the exactly crumbly texture from the store-bought version takes a bit of practice. The first few times it will tend to be creamy, other times it will be a little crumbly (like cottage cheese). The important thing is the taste. So don’t get discouraged and keep trying until you’ll reach the texture you prefer.
  • This queso fresco recipe yields 740 gr (about 1 ½ lb) of fresh cheese.

Queso fresco recipe

Today I want to share Queso Fresco recipe, a mexican fresh cheese that you can make easily at home. You only need a few ingredients to enjoy this delicious cheese that will go wonderful with your favourites mexican dishes.
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 10 minutes
TOTAL 1 hour 40 minutes
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 1

Ingredients 

  • 1 gallon ( 4 liters) whole milk
  • cup (80 gr) greek yogurt (optional)
  • cup (160 ml) white vinegar
  • salt

Instructions

  • Heat milk in a large pot over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until it registers between 80°C to 90°C (178 to 190F) on the thermometer. (see notes)
  • Turn of the heat and then add the yogurt. Stir for 10.15 seconds and let sit for 2 minutes.
  • Add half the vinegar and mix again for 10 seconds. Then let it sit for another 2 minutes. Stir in the other half of vinegar and mix slowly for one minute.
  • You will notice how the milk has become a curd and has started to separate from the whey. Set aside until it reaches room temperature (about 1 hour).
  • Line the colander with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel and set over large bowl.
  • Transfer curds to prepared colander, cover exposed top with cloth, and allow to drain for about 20 minutes.
  • When most of the whey has drained off, lift the edges of the cheesecloth up and twist, wrapping the cheese into a ball; then carefully squeeze off excess whey.
  • Place the cheese on a container and add salt to taste. Mix well with a wood spoon but try to not overmix otherwise you’ll end up with cream cheese.
  • The cheese is ready. So, use molds to give it a shape or make it rounded with your hands. You can also use a bowl and place it there. Just try to not press too much or it won’t crumble easily.
  • Place Queso Freso in the refrigerator and let it sit for a couple of hours before consuming it.

notes

  • This recipe yields 740 gr (about 1 ½ lb) of fresh cheese.
  • If you do not have a thermometer, you will notice that the milk begins to make little bubbles around the edges of the pot, that would be the exact moment when you need to add yogurt and vinegar.
  • I’ve noticed that when I don’t let the curds cool completely, the cheese tends to get creamy, so it’s important to let it cool completely if you want a cheese that crumbles well.
  • If it’s the first time you make the Queso Fresco recipe, you might notice that the cheese is a bit creamy (like cream cheese); this may be for several reasons. For example overmixing when seasoning with salt or pressing so hard when shaping.
  • You can omit the yogurt if you want, just add one more tablespoon of vinegar.
  • Making Queso Fresco with the exactly crumbly texture from the store-bought version takes a bit of practice. The first few times it will tend to be creamy, other times it will be a little crumbly (like cottage cheese). The important thing is the taste. So don’t get discouraged and keep trying until you’ll reach the texture you prefer.
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