Have you ever tried Mexican nachos and quesadillas? Perhaps you have, but you may not know what cheese they use in those tasty foods. It’s called Oaxaca and it’s one of the creamiest, stretchiest and meltable types of Mexican cheese.
Oaxaca is used in many Mexican dishes including cheese quesadillas, nachos, chile rellenos, tacos, burritos, salads and chicken enchiladas.
It’s similar to mozzarella, and in case you want to make one of these dishes at home but don’t have Oaxaca in hand, you can refer to our list of substitutes.
They will help you keep the texture and the taste of your dish so that the end-result will be similar to the original recipe.
These are the best substitutes for Oaxaca cheese:mozzarella, string cheese, Monterey Jack, Queso Panela, Armenian style string cheese, Muenster cheese, Manchego Cheese, Asadero cheese, ricotta cheese, ricotta salata and cheese curds.
10 Substitutes for Oaxaca Cheese
As mentioned above, Oaxaca cheese is similar to mozzarella, and mozzarella is undoubtedly one of the best and easiest substitutes for Oaxaca. It comes with the same creamy and stretchy texture only with a rather spongy nature than soft and stringy.
It melts at high temperatures just like Oaxaca cheese and the result is almost the same in many dishes. As for the taste and flavor, mozzarella is less salty but no worries: you can sprinkle some salt on it and the taste will be the same.
For the best results, use Buffalo mozzarella cheese as it’s softer and creamier than other varieties of mozzarella.
2. Monterey Jack
Monterey Jack is a popular semi-hard cheese originating from California. It has a melting nature and tastes like Oaxaca. Make sure you use an unaged version of this cheese to get the desired result.
Monterey Jack cheese makes a good match with Sandwiches, pastas, pizzas and Mexican recipes calling for Oaxaca. You can easily get it from grocery stores and supermarkets. Just slice it or grate and use it the same way as Oaxaca cheese.
3. String Cheese
The next easy-to-find substitute is string cheese. It is a good combination of cheddar and mozzarella and melts quite well in hot dishes. Depending on the type, the flavor may be slightly different.
Overall, string cheese has a milky, slightly salty and tangy taste. You can use it either grated or sliced in the same recipes as Oaxaca cheese.
Between Italian, Mexican and other varieties of string cheese, the easiest and most popular one to get is American string cheese. So, if you have it in hand, then you’ll get what you need.
4. Muenster Cheese
Another American semi-soft cheese is Muenster cheese. Compared to Oaxaca it is pale yellow but the texture is quite soft and melty.
It comes with a slightly sweet taste but since the texture is creamy, you can choose it instead of Oaxaca and balance the flavor with the help of seasonings.
It is a perfectly melting cheese to use in hot dishes like pizzas, quesadillas, grilled dishes, tacos and enchiladas. You may add it to casseroles, sandwiches, tacos and salads as a topping too.
5. Queso Panela
Queso panela, also called Queso Canasta, has many similarities with Oaxaca. It’s another Mexican cheese that quickly melts in hot dishes. It is often used in sandwiches, pastas, pizzas and Mexican recipes calling for Oaxaca.
You can easily get it from grocery stores and supermarkets. Just slice it or grate it and use it the same way as Oaxaca cheese.
6. Armenian Style String Cheese
Armenian style string cheese may not be that popular but you can get it from Armenian stores or nearby Middles eastern stores and use it instead of Oaxaca cheese in many dishes.
It is quite similar to Oaxaca cheese in texture and flavor. It’s a semi-soft cheese made from sheeps’ or goat’s milk.
Several types of this cheese may contain nigella seeds, which make it unique and add an interesting flavor. You can put it in quesadillas, tacos and enchiladas.
7. Manchego Cheese
Although Manchego cheese is made of sheep’s milk and has a firmer texture than Oaxaca, it still has that subtle buttery flavor that can be used to replace Oaxaca in many dishes. Since it takes up to 2 years to be aged, it gets that firm and yellowish color.
Choose manchego cheese as a pizza topping or add to pastas or lasagna. It also makes a heavenly match with nuts, dried tomatoes and olives as a snack or side dish.
8. Asadero Cheese
Made from cow’s milk, Asadero is another popular Mexican cheese similar to Oaxaca. Although it’s not easy to find this cheese, you may see it in some supermarkets or Mexican stores.
It is made with the same process as many other types of string cheese and the flavor is quite similar to Oaxaca.
You can use it in place of Oaxaca in Mexican baked dishes and roasted recipes as well as in pastas and pizzas. It has a slightly salty flavor.
9. Cheese Curds
Cheese curds are small pieces of moist pieces of curdled milk. They are freshly made curds and you can not only use them as snacks but also add to hot dishes, salads and many more.
You can find them either in white or orange colors. They come with a milky, slightly salty and mild flavor to match with many seasonings.
Use cheese curds in versatile recipes instead of Oaxaca cheese and don’t be afraid to experiment with different seasonings and herbs. Cheese curds have the ability to absorb other flavors and bring out interesting notes.
10. Chihuahua Cheese
Choose to use Chihuahua cheese instead of Oaxaca cheese for breaded dishes, fondue, enchiladas, egg dishes, quesadillas or just as a snack. This cheese originates from North Mexica and has a salty taste with a mild sour flavor.
How to Use Oaxaca Cheese
One popular way to use Oaxaca cheese is in quesadillas. The cheese melts easily and gives the quesadilla a gooey, cheesy texture. Oaxaca cheese can also be used in enchiladas or as a topping for nachos.
If you’re looking for a lighter option, try using Oaxaca cheese in a salad. The creamy texture of the cheese pairs well with crisp greens and juicy fruits.
No matter how you choose to use it, Oaxaca cheese is sure to add delicious flavor to your meal.
How do you melt oaxaca cheese
To melt Oaxaca cheese, cut it into small pieces and place it in a double boiler over low heat. Stir the cheese frequently until it is completely melted.
You can also melt Oaxaca cheese in the microwave by heating it on 50% power for 1-2 minutes, stirring and putting it back every 30 seconds until the cheese is fully melted.
Once melted, the cheese can be used for dips, sauces, or as a topping on nachos or enchiladas.
Where to buy Oaxaca cheese
There are a few different ways that you can purchase Oaxaca cheese. One option is to go to a local grocery store that specializes in Hispanic food items.
Another possibility is to look for a Mexican cheese supplier online. If you have difficulty finding Oaxaca cheese at your local grocery store, you may want to try a Latino-themed grocery store or an international market.
Although oaxaca cheese is a delicious ingredient, there are many substitutes that can be used in its place.
These cheese can easily be found at most grocery stores and will help to add flavor to your dishes. With so many options available, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs and tastes.