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Top 15 Oaxaca Cheese Substitute Options

In our article, we will dive into options available for those seeking Oaxaca Cheese Substitute. Check out the list with 15 of the best alternatives.

If you love Mexican food, it’s likely that you also love Oaxaca cheese. Oaxaca cheese boasts a remarkable texture and flavor, making it incredibly versatile. You can often find it in quesadillas, enchiladas, and tamales. Adding Oaxaca cheese gives these traditional Mexican delicacies a rich and cheesy touch.

However, fret not if you find yourself without Oaxaca cheese or if you’re inclined to explore alternative flavors. Rest assured; you will find an excellent substitute for your culinary needs.

A ball of Oaxaca cheese on top of cutting board.

What Is Oaxaca Cheese?

Oaxaca cheese is a native Mexican cheese from the state of Oaxaca. It has a long history and is an important part of traditional Mexican cooking.

This cheese is popular for its mild and creamy flavor. It boasts a balanced taste that won’t overwhelm your taste buds.

Oaxaca cheese has a wonderful mix of flavors. It includes notes of butter, a hint of sourness, and a little sweetness.

The cheese also has a light sharpness that makes it taste better and gives each bite more depth.

What is special about Oaxaca cheese?

Among the most remarkable features of Oaxaca cheese is its exceptional melting ability. When you melt it, it develops a luscious texture. For this reason, it makes a great choice for recipes that need a smooth and rich consistency.

The cheese’s ability to melt and stretch easily makes it great in quesadillas and enchiladas.

Beyond its melting properties, Oaxaca cheese is versatile; you can use it in hot and cold dishes. Depending on the recipe, you can grate, chop, slice, or melt it.

Oaxaca cheese is perfect in sandwiches, salads, or as a topping for soups and casseroles.

Best Oaxaca Cheese Substitutes

Many options can meet your needs if you need a substitute for Oaxaca cheese.

Oaxaca cheese indeed brings its unique qualities to dishes. However, some alternatives can step in and provide similar flavors and characteristics.

1. Cheese Curds

A bowl filled with cheese curds.

Cheese curds are a type of fresh cheese that originated in the United Kingdom. They are the milk solids that separate from the whey once you boil the cow’s milk.

These cheese curds possess a mild flavor similar to Oaxaca cheese. They also exhibit a delightful texture like that of feta cheese.

Cheese curds are a great replacement because they melt once you heat them. It gets stretchy like Oaxaca cheese. That said, making it the best substitute for a dish like quesadillas.

In fact, cheese curds work best in recipes that call for melting the cheese.


Cheese curds are very similar to Oaxaca cheese in taste and texture. You can use a 1:1 ratio when using them as a swap. For the best results, use Cheddar cheese curds specifically.

2. Muenster Cheese

Muenster and other cheese varieties on the cutting board.

If there’s a cheese that’s ideal as an Oaxaca replacement, it’s Muenster cheese.

Muenster cheese closely resembles Oaxaca cheese in terms of flavor. For this reason, it is an ideal alternative. This semi-soft cheese has a mild, creamy, and buttery taste that blends well with a variety of dishes.

Plus, Muenster cheese melts beautifully, just like Oaxaca cheese. This cheese transforms into a smooth and velvety texture when you heat it. Beyond that, it is also a highly versatile cheese you can slice or grate easily.


Use the same amount of Muenster cheese as the amount of Oaxaca cheese called for in your recipes.

3. Mozzarella Cheese

Plate with 3 balls of mozzarella cheese next to fresh tomatoes.

Mozzarella and Oaxaca cheese may not be the most similar in flavor and texture. Still, there are some cases where you can use Mozzarella as a substitute.

If you are to use Mozzarella, the best substitute is Buffalo Mozzarella. This variety of Mozzarella is creamier than your regular fresh Mozzarella. Buffalo Mozzarella is closer to the taste of Oaxaca cheese. It’s a great topping to dishes. However, it does not melt the same way that Oaxaca does.


Mozzarella is less salty than Oaxaca. That said, you must add a bit more salt to your recipes when using it to replace Oaxaca cheese.

You may use the same amount of Mozzarella to replace an equal amount of Oaxaca cheese.

4. Asadero Cheese

Plate with sliced wheel of asadero cheese.

A great way to capture the taste of Oaxaca cheese is by choosing a substitute that hails from the same place. That said, Asadero cheese, another Mexican cheese, makes an ideal replacement for Oaxaca.

Asadero cheese is a semi-firm cheese with a slightly different texture from Oaxaca cheese. It does have a similar flavor, and it melts and grates well.

One important thing to note when using Asadero cheese is that it’s drier than Oaxaca cheese. Oaxaca cheese has a stringy and elastic texture, while Asadero cheese has a firmer consistency.


Because of how similar the two are, you may opt for a 1:1 ratio when using Asadero as an Oaxaca cheese alternative.

5. Monterey Jack Cheese

Monterey Jack makes a great Oaxaca cheese replacement because it is widely available. You can find it in most grocery stores, making it a quick option.

Like Oaxaca, Monterey Jack cheese also has a mild buttery flavor. It can enhance dishes but not overwhelm them.

This cheese also has tangy notes similar to what you will find in Oaxaca cheese. It is also a great melting cheese but not as stringy.


For the closest flavor match, opt for an unaged Monterey Jack cheese.

6. String Cheese

Sliced string cheese and apples on top of the cutting board.

Another accessible swap for Oaxaca cheese is American string cheese. Oaxaca cheese is a string cheese, after all, so it makes sense to use another string cheese to replace it.

American string cheese has a similar texture and saltiness to Oaxaca cheese. However, it is not as creamy and flavorful, so your dishes may be different.

String cheese melts beautifully, much like Oaxaca cheese, but you can grate and slice it. Basically, you can use it in place of Oaxaca cheese in any dish.


Because string cheese is a little blander than Oaxaca cheese, using more of it in your recipes is best. Use a 1:1.5 ratio of Oaxaca to string cheese as a starting point.

7. Queso Fresco

Wheel of Queso Fresco on the wooden serving board.

An important thing to keep in mind when cooking with Oaxaca cheese is that it has a mild flavor. So, substituting it with another cheese with a mild taste, like Queso Fresco, is a good idea.

Queso fresco, or “fresh cheese,” is one of the most popular Mexican cheeses due to its versatility.

As an Oaxaca cheese replacement, you will never go wrong with this cheese. It has a similar flavor that can add an authentic Mexican flair.

However, Queso Fresco does not easily melt. This characteristic plays an important role when choosing a replacement for Oaxaca cheese. This cheese is a decent option if you don’t need something that melts quickly.


When substituting Queso Fresco for Oaxaca cheese, starting with about half of the amount of Oaxaca called for in your recipe is advisable. Using too much Queso Fresco can make your dish too salty.

8. Manchego Cheese

Slices of Manchego cheese on the white plate.

With a similar soft and buttery texture, Manchego cheese is one of the best swaps for Oaxaca cheese.

Manchego cheese is a cheese that uses from sheep’s milk, originating from La Mancha, Spain.

The flavor of Manchego cheese is nutty and earthy, which is not the same flavor as Oaxaca. Still, it does a great job of replacing Oaxaca because it melts well.

Manchego cheese tends to be saltier than Oaxaca cheese. So, it’s important to consider the overall salt content in your recipe.


Use less Manchego cheese than you would Oaxaca cheese to ensure your dish is not too salty. You can always add more Manchego if the flavor payoff is not enough.

9. Queso Blanco

Queso Blanco, which translates to “white cheese” in Spanish, is a soft and crumbly fresh cheese. It is popular in Mexican and Latin American cuisines.

Queso Blanco has a tangy and milky flavor, but it is not too similar to the taste of Oaxaca cheese.

However, one challenge in using this cheese is that it is not a good melting cheese. For this reason, you should skip it in recipes that call for melted cheese.

You can still use it to replace Oaxaca cheese, though, especially in recipes that call for using it as a garnish. Queso Blanco is also a great topping.


Skip this alternative for recipes that need the specific taste of Oaxaca cheese. Choose another option as well if you need stringy cheese. Unlike Oaxaca cheese, queso Blanco can get crumbly.

A 1:1 ratio is a good starting point when using Queso Blanco instead of Oaxaca cheese.

10. Cotija Cheese

Dish with shredded Cotija cheese.

Like Oaxaca cheese, Cotija cheese is a cheese that’s a staple in Mexican food. It’s the white, crumbly cheese (that looks like feta cheese) commonly seen in famous Mexican dishes.

Oaxaca cheese and Cotija cheese can be quite different. Still, Cotija can make for a decent substitute.

After all, it melts beautifully. Despite its crumbly texture, it can be like Oaxaca cheese when you heat it.

When using Cotija cheese, it’s best to use younger kinds. Aged Cotija is saltier, so it can affect the overall flavor profile of your dishes. However, if only aged Cotija is available, you can still use it.


A 1:1 ratio will give you the best results if you’re using younger Cotija cheese. However, when using aged Cotija, opt for a smaller amount to begin with.

Then, adjust until you find the right amount for your recipe. Doing so ensures that it does not overpower the other ingredients in the dish.

11. Ricotta Cheese

Blue bowl filled with ricotta cheese.

Ricotta cheese is an Italian cheese that people often use in pasta and pizza dishes. For this reason, it’s a good replacement for Oaxaca cheese if you intend to use it in the same dishes.

Ricotta cheese, known for its mildness, has a more subtle taste than Oaxaca cheese. This characteristic is good, though. You can be sure it won’t overpower the other ingredients in your dish.

One disadvantage here is that it has a lot of water compared to Oaxaca cheese. Before use, it’s best to drain it out thoroughly first with a cheesecloth before using it.

This cheese retains its crumbliness even after you drain it, though. It’s a decent substitute, but there are better options if you need a similar texture.


Using a 1:1 ratio is acceptable when using Ricotta as an Oaxaca alternative. However, since Ricotta cheese has a lot of moisture, you may need to add more to bring out more flavor.

12. Ricotta Salata

Ricotta Salata is much like ricotta cheese but has a sharper taste and drier texture. This cheese is aged, pressed, and salted Ricotta.

It isn’t as easily accessible as the regular Ricotta cheese. However, it makes for a better substitute for Oaxaca cheese.

Its savory taste makes it a better substitute than Ricotta which can be too mild because of its moisture.

The texture is also closer to Oaxaca’s since ricotta salata is drier than Ricotta cheese. It is still different, though, since it tends to be crumblier.

Ricotta salata is perfect for dishes that call for grated or sliced Oaxaca cheese.


Ricotta Salata is saltier than Oaxaca cheese. For this reason, it’s best to start with half the amount of Ricotta Salata as you would Oaxaca cheese.

13. Requeson Cheese

Requeson cheese is another option you have for an Oaxaca cheese alternative. This cheese is the Hispanic version of Italy’s Ricotta.

That said, it shares almost the same properties as Ricotta cheese. It is lumpy and creamy, with hints of tanginess.

Requeson cheese is also mild in flavor, which is great with almost anything. Use it in taquitos, enchiladas, and tamale recipes. You may even opt for this Mexican cheese in dips.

One challenge here, however, is that it is difficult to find. You are less likely to see it in regular grocery stores, so it is not a quick replacement.

You may have to visit a Mexican specialty store to get this cheese. Better yet, order it online ahead of time.


As with Ricotta, you should remove most of this cheese’s water before use. After draining, use a 1:1 substitution ratio when replacing Oaxaca cheese in recipes.

14. Queso Panela

With a firm and smooth texture, Queso Panela makes a great substitute for Oaxaca cheese. This ingredient is another white Mexican cheese you’ll often find in salads and quesadillas.

Similar to Oaxaca cheese, Queso Panela boasts a mild and creamy flavor. However, Queso Panela tends to have a slightly saltier taste than Oaxaca cheese.

Its taste makes it an ideal, if not the best, Oaxaca cheese substitute.

Despite not having the stringy nature of Oaxaca cheese, it still works wonders in recipes calling for Oaxaca cheese.

One of the advantages of Queso Panela lies in its versatility and ease of use. Its block form allows for convenient slicing or cubing.


When using Queso Panela to replace Oaxaca cheese, following a 1:1 ratio is a great starting point. They are similar in flavor, but you may need to adjust because of the saltiness of Queso Panela.

15. Queso Chihuahua

Another Mexican cheese you can use instead of Oaxaca cheese is Queso de Chihuahua. It hails the Mexican state of the same name (This state is where Asadero cheese also comes from).

Oaxaca cheese and Queso Chihuahua are two of the best melting cheeses in Mexico. So, if you need a melted Oaxaca cheese substitute, there’s no better way to go than Queso Chihuahua.

This cheese, however, is not a string cheese like Oaxaca cheese. It comes in rectangles and is also drier than Oaxaca cheese.

Despite these differences, it is still one of the best substitutes for Oaxaca cheese as long as you adjust it according to the needs of your recipe.


Using the same amount of Queso Chihuahua as you would Oaxaca cheese in recipes is best.

How To Choose The Best Oaxaca Cheese Substitute

Some crucial factors must be considered when selecting the finest substitute for Oaxaca cheese.

Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the best Oaxaca cheese substitute:

1. Pay Attention To The Flavor

Oaxaca cheese boasts a gentle and creamy flavor. When seeking a substitute, look for cheeses with a similar flavor profile. Muenster, Asadero, and Queso Fresco are all known for their mild taste. They can serve as excellent alternatives.

On the other hand, if you want to explore different flavors, feel free to use Queso Blanco or Cotija cheese. They don’t have a very similar taste to Oaxaca, but their other properties make them an ideal swap.

2. Watch Out For The Melting Properties

One of the exceptional qualities of Oaxaca cheese is its remarkable melting ability. It becomes delightfully gooey and stretchy when you heat it.

When looking at alternatives, consider those cheeses that also melt well. Muenster, Mozzarella, and Asadero are your top options. All these options are great melting cheeses so that they won’t fall short of meltiness.

If you are not going to melt the cheese, Queso Blanco and Queso Fresco are great options.

3. Consider The Texture

Oaxaca cheese possesses a stringy and slightly elastic texture. Therefore, finding a substitute that can replicate this characteristic is important. Cheese Curds, Mozzarella, Asadero, and Queso Panela offer a similar texture. These kinds of cheese will ensure a similar mouthfeel.

Ricotta is a perfect swap for recipes that do not require a texture similar to Oaxaca.

4. Take Note Of Availability

Cheese availability can vary depending on your location. That said, it’s best to consider the accessibility of different cheeses in your area. Doing so will ensure you can find a suitable substitute.

If you want something easy to find, opt for string cheese. However, if you live near a Mexican store, Requeson is a better option.

What Is Oaxaca Cheese Similar To?

Oaxaca cheese has a mild flavor and stringy texture. It is similar to several other types of cheese, including Mozzarella and Asadero cheese. Mozzarella shares similarities with Oaxaca cheese, particularly in terms of its stringiness. On the other hand, string cheese is pretty much Oaxaca cheese that hails from America. Asadero cheese is another Mexican cheese that resembles Oaxaca cheese.

What Is Oaxaca Cheese Known For?

Oaxaca cheese is renowned for its exceptional melting properties. When melted, it develops into a smooth, creamy texture that elevates various dishes. Its mild flavor complements other ingredients without overpowering them. For this reason, it is a favorite among kids and adults alike.

Is Oaxaca Cheese Used In Queso?

Yes, people commonly use Oaxaca cheese in queso. Queso is a popular and beloved cheese dip often enjoyed with tortilla chips. This dip is also a common topping. Oaxaca cheese’s mild and creamy flavor makes it ideal for creating the perfect queso dip.

Is Oaxaca Cheese Spicy?

No, Oaxaca cheese is not spicy. It has a mild and creamy flavor, and there is no trace of spiciness to it. However, some Mexican dishes with Oaxaca cheese may be spicy because they have chili peppers and spicy sauces.

How Do You Use Oaxaca Cheese?

One popular way to use Oaxaca cheese is by melting it. Melted Oaxaca cheese is perfect for quesadillas, enchiladas, and tacos. Another way to use Oaxaca cheese is by slicing or shredding it. Sliced or shredded Oaxaca cheese is a fantastic addition to sandwiches, burgers, or wraps. Whether making grilled cheese sandwiches or a Mexican-inspired wrap, Oaxaca cheese is a great choice.


Queso Oaxaca is a mild and creamy cheese popular in Mexico. Although it’s an important part of Mexican dishes, it is not always available, especially in other parts of the world.

In place of Oaxaca cheese, you may opt for string cheese, Queso Fresco, Muenster cheese, and Ricotta Salata, among others. Even Cotija cheese is a good Oaxaca cheese substitute.

Each option has its taste, texture, and melting properties. Of course, you may need to make some adjustments to make it blend well with other ingredients in your recipe. Feel free to experiment and adjust until you find the best option for Oaxaca cheese in your dishes.

A ball of Oaxaca cheese on top of cutting board.

Top 15 Oaxaca Cheese Substitute Options.

Natalia-Flavorful Home
However, fret not if you find yourself without Oaxaca cheese or if you’re inclined to explore alternative flavors. Rest assured; on our list, you will find an excellent substitute for your culinary needs.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • Cheese Curds
  • Muenster Cheese
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Asadero Cheese
  • Monterey Jack Cheese
  • String Cheese
  • Queso Fresco
  • Manchego Cheese
  • Queso Blanco
  • Cotija Cheese
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Queso Chihuahua


  • Pick the best substitute from our list for your recipe.
  • Adjust the recipe if needed.
  • Adjust the seasoning and moisture content if needed.


Pay Attention To The Flavor.
Oaxaca cheese boasts a gentle and creamy flavor. When seeking a substitute, look for cheeses with a similar flavor profile. Muenster, Asadero, and Queso Fresco are all known for their mild taste. They can serve as excellent alternatives.
Watch Out For The Melting Properties.
One of the exceptional qualities of Oaxaca cheese is its remarkable melting ability. It becomes delightfully gooey and stretchy when you heat it.
When looking at alternatives, consider those that also melt well. Muenster, Mozzarella, and Asadero are your top options. All these options are great melting cheeses, so they won’t fall short of meltiness.
Consider The Texture.
Oaxaca cheese possesses a stringy and slightly elastic texture. Therefore, finding a substitute that can replicate this characteristic is important. Cheese Curds, Mozzarella, Asadero, and Queso Panela offer a similar texture. 
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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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