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12 Best Cheeses For Tacos To Elevate Your Mexican Dish

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Making some tacos? If you are a fan of Mexican cuisine and all hot and spicy like me, I am sure you can not imagine a week without making some delicious tacos at least once a week,  

Although cheese is not a traditional ingredient in tacos when it comes to true Mexican cuisine, it is a popular ingredient in our tacos here in the US. Because of that, it is essential to choose the right cheese to enjoy the best flavors. 

Whether you are planning to use it as a topping, melty layer, or cheese taco shells, below you will find out what is the best cheese for tacos, and what they have to offer. 

1. Cheddar Cheese: Truly The Best Cheese For Tacos

Cheddar cheese

If you are more into Tex-Mex cuisine, you know what reputation cheddar cheese has. There, its role as the best cheese for tacos is especially noticeable. 

Cheddar cheese has it all when it comes to filling tacos. It has a distinct flavor profile with a rich, creamy, and slightly tangy taste that complements other taco flavors perfectly. Cheddar is one of the best cheeses for my favorite queso dip.

Aside from that, you can also find it at almost any grocery store or supermarket in the US, as it is one of the most popular and available types of cheese here. 

However, I have to emphasize that there are a few types of cheddar cheese based on the aging process. A distinct flavor profile is great, but a too mature cheddar cheese can be a treat to flavors of other ingredients. 

Because of that, I would recommend you choose a medium cheddar, as it is not too overpowering, but still strong enough to do the job. 

You can use melted or unmelted cheddar cheese, but make sure not to overdo it if you don’t want your tacos to turn into a gooey, overly heavy mess. 

Aside from using it as a topping, you can also use it to make hard taco shells. Cheddar cheese pairs particularly well with ground beef, jalapenos, spicy crema, and pickled carrots if you plan to use it as a filling. It’s also one of the best cheeses for turkey sandwiches and you can use it as a substitute for Gruyere cheese.

2. Queso Fresco: A Traditional Mexican Choice

Queso Fresco

It is one of the most popular types of cheese in Mexico and it is widely used in many of their popular dishes, including enchiladas, salads, tostadas, and, of course, tacos. 

When translated from Spanish, “Queso fresco” actually means “fresh cheese”, so you can easily conclude what kind of cheese it is. 

If you’ve ever tasted feta or ricotta, and I am sure you have, you’ll know what I am talking about. Queso fresco is soft, moist, and crumbly, just like they are. 

The only real difference is that Queso fresco is a bit milder, but that is actually a good thing when it comes to tacos because it is able to enhance the other flavors without overpowering them. 

This popular Mexican cheese doesn’t melt completely, so it is best to rather use it as a topping where its crumbly texture and slightly tangy flavor can enrich this Mexican delight perfectly. 

However, you can also add Queso fresco inside your tacos. It won’t melt, but it will soften enough to add a nice creamy texture.

Although you can add this Mexican cheese to every taco variety, in my opinion, it pairs best with the spiciness of beef tacos.

Queso Fresco is readily available in many supermarkets, particularly in areas with a significant Hispanic population, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding it. 

3. Cotija: Parmesans Brother From Mexico

Cotija cheese

Here in the United States we have Parmesan, while Mexicans have Cotija, their popular cheese that reassembles Parmesan flavors very well. 

This Mexican cheese, which comes from the town of Cotija in the Mexican state of Michoacán, is well-aged, and consequently a very firm type of cheese.

Another result of the aging process is a rich and strong flavor, with some salty and tangy undertones. 

However, Cotija doesn’t melt, so there is no point in adding it to the taco filling or heating overall. If you want to achieve a strong flavor profile from your tacos, it is best to shred some Cojita over them in the process. 

If the Cojita is at room temperature, it will have a crumbly texture, while the heating will cause it to soften just a little bit, but nothing special. In my opinion, it is best to stick with that crumbly texture because it can provide a truly unique tasting experience to the dish. 

Regardless of whether it is beef, chicken, or even vegan tacos, Cojita provides all of them with a complex and sharp flavor profile that will excite everybody’s taste buds. 

The only downside to Cojita is the fact that it is not as readily available as the previous two types of cheese, as it can typically be found in well-stocked supermarkets, specialty cheese stores, or stores that carry a variety of international or Mexican ingredients.

4. Mozzarella: A Dash Of Italian Cuisine


Mozzarella is mainly used in some Italian culinary classics like pizza, lasagna, and various Italian salads, but there is nothing wrong with introducing it to some Mexican culinary delights as well. 

One of those is tacos and it is proven that mozzarella can do wonders with taco flavor profile. It is perfect for those of you who want milder tacos with a starchy and melted cheese component. 

This is because mozzarella has a mild and slightly sweet flavor, and it melts quite well, i.e., it becomes gooey and stringy when heated, which can also add a nice texture and visual appeal to your tacos. 

It works particularly well in tacos with Italian or fusion flavors, such as chicken Parmesan tacos, caprese-style tacos, or tacos with marinara sauce.

It is best topped with a cheese blend, as well as a dash of cilantro, crema or heavy cream, picante sauce, and tomatillos.

The great thing about mozzarella is the fact that you don’t have to go to too many grocery stores to find it, as it is widely available in most of them at affordable prices. 

5. Oaxaca: Mexican Mozzarella


If you are not so into the idea of adding an Italian cheese like mozzarella to your tacos, a similar Mexican cheese known as Oaxaca is a perfect alternative.  

Also known as Quesillo, Oaxaca is a traditional Mexican cheese that originated from the region of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. 

Once you see it, a ball of white string cheese will appear in front of your eyes, similar to the appearance of mozzarella. Aside from that, Oaxaca also has a creamy consistency and it melts easily. Actually, “Oaxaca is the king of meltability“, as stated by Bon Appetit.

Oaxaca is also known for its stringy and stretchy texture that can add a fun and enjoyable element to your tacos. 

As you take a bite, the cheese stretches and pulls, adding a playful and satisfying mouthfeel. It enhances the overall eating experience, making your tacos more enjoyable.

The only difference from mozzarella is the fact that they do not taste exactly the same. While Oaxaca is also mild in flavor, it has a slightly salty taste with a hint of butteriness, quite similar to Monterey Jack. 

Since it melts well, you can use it as a filling in quesadillas, burritos, or chiles rellenos. Aside from that, it can also be turned into shredded cheese and used as a garnish on top of soups, tostadas, beans, and of course, tacos. 

6. Monterey Jack: American Style

Monterey Jack

I already mentioned that Oaxaca cheese has a somewhat similar flavor to Monterey Jack, and since Oaxaca is one of the best options for tacos, it is no surprise that this popular American cheese found its place on this list. 

It is also one of the best cheeses for turkey sandwiches, so you can see that it is a truly versatile option. 

Monterey Jack is a semi-hard cheese that has a mild flavor and it is known for its versatility in various culinary applications. 

The mild and creamy flavor that blends well with other ingredients without overpowering them makes it an ideal option for all taco varieties. 

It pairs well with both mild and bold flavors, which makes it a flexible ingredient in a range of recipes. 

Since it is a semi-hard cheese, it has a smooth and slightly elastic texture. It is softer than aged cheeses but firmer than soft cheese. Because of that, you can use it for both grating and melting purposes. 

Actually, Monterey Jack has excellent melting properties, i.e., it melts smoothly and evenly, and those properties contribute to its popularity in Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine, although it is not a traditionally used ingredient. 

The great thing about this cheese is the fact that there are various varieties to choose from, including pepper jack (with added spicy peppers), garlic jack (infused with garlic), and jalapeno jack (with added jalapeno peppers). 

Finally, Monterey Jack is widely available at most grocery stores and supermarkets in the US, and it’s quite affordable as well. 

7. Swiss Cheese: Slightly Underrated Option

Swiss Cheese

I will start by saying that Swiss cheese is not a traditional option for tacos, especially in Mexican cuisine. However, when lacking other options, it can provide you with some interesting flavors that some people may find appealing. 

Namely, the cheese is popular for its “eyes” and its origin in the country known for various classic kinds of cheese, Swiss cheese is there to enrich your tacos with a mild and nutty flavor that can add a subtle compliment to the flavors of taco fillings. 

The best thing about Swiss cheese is that there are a few different types of it: hard cheese, extra-hard cheese, semi-hard cheese, soft cheese, cream cheese, processed cheese, and cheese spread. Semi-hard cheese and soft cheese are my two favorites for tacos.

This type of cheese is quite versatile as it pairs well with ingredients such as roasted vegetables and grilled meats, or even alongside traditional taco toppings like salsa, guacamole, or sour cream. 

The main problem with Swiss cheese is the fact that it doesn’t have the creaminess of other traditional cheeses for tacos. Although it has decent melting properties, it may not have the same stringy and stretchy quality as some other melting cheeses. 

So, if you are after some unique flavors, but don’t mind the slightly different texture and consistency, you can try this cheese classic. 

8. Colby Jack Cheese: Unique Cheese Blend

Colby Jack Cheese

Like the previous option, Colby Jack is also not a traditional choice for tacos. It is more suitable for American-style dishes, but like everything in the culinary world, possibilities are limitless and nobody can tell us to stop experimenting. 

Colby Jack is a combination of Colby cheese and Monterey Jack cheese, and it is popular for its marbled appearance and mild flavor. 

It has a mild and slightly sweet flavor that the flavors of various taco fillings, and its mildness allows the other ingredients of the taco to shine. 

This means that, if you don’t want a dominant cheese flavor in your tacos, Colby Jack can be a good option. 

Another great thing about this cheese is the fact that it can be shredded or grated and added to the taco meat, but you can also melt it on the tortilla for a creamy texture. 

Colby Jack has good melting properties and, when melted, it is able to create a gooey and cheesy texture that binds the fillings together and adds richness to the taco. 

Finally, you can find this popular American cheese at most grocery stores and supermarkets. 

9. Feta: Mediterranean Twist


Most types of cheese that I mentioned on this list were mainly from Mexico, while a few of them were from Italy. The first one that comes from Greece is a popular feta cheese. 

Again, feta is definitely not the first type of cheese that comes to mind when making tacos, but it can certainly serve some taco varieties pretty well. 

First, let’s say that feta cheese is much lighter and tangier compared to other cheeses on this list, and it is very crumbly. And there is also a higher saltiness level, so it is very important to go easy with the salt when making your tacos.

When it comes to melting feta, I have to say that it doesn’t melt like other cheeses. In fact, it stays mostly crumbly. However, this can provide your tacos with an interesting mouthfeel.

You can either crumble feta directly onto the taco or dice it into small cubes to distribute evenly among the other ingredients. The choice is yours. 

Finally, feta pairs pretty well with certain ingredients like beef, chorizo, pork belly, and other heavy meats. One interesting ingredient that can be added to feta cheese is pineapple, but this combo is not for everyone. 

There are also mint, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and various Mediterranean herbs, as well as some more traditional toppings like avocado, cilantro, or lime for a unique flavor combination. 

I also have to say that Queso Fresco and Cotija cheese are one of the best substitutes for feta cheese, not only in tacos but overall. 

10. Asadero: Softness and Creaminess 

Asadero cheese

Queso Asadero cheese, or simply Asadero, is a popular Mexican cheese that originated in the northern regions of Mexico. It is a semi-soft cheese with a mild and slightly tangy flavor. 

Its mildness allows the flavors of other ingredients, such as seasoned meats, fresh veggies, and spicy salsa, to shine through while adding a subtle and creamy background note. 

The incredible melting properties of Asadero make it a great option for melting it into the tortilla or over the taco filling, adding a smooth and stringy texture. 

Proudly Cheese Wisconsin explained Asadero’s melting properties perfectly: “…it melts easily to a creamy texture without giving off oil, even at the highest temperatures.”

All in all, Asadero cheese has a creamy texture that adds a luscious and velvety element to your tacos. From my experience, Asadero cheese is best for beef tacos, but there is nothing wrong with adding it to chicken, pork, seafood, or vegetable tacos. 

You can also melt it into your quesadillas or put it on top of your tacos as a garnish. 

11. Pepper Jack: Jack Of All Traits 

Pepper Jack

Pepper Jack is actually a variation of Monterey Jack, but it built its reputation to such an extent that it became a cheese for itself, especially when it comes to Mexican cuisine. 

Namely, although it comes from the United States, Pepper Jack has become increasingly popular in Mexican-style dishes, due to its spicy flavor from the addition of jalapeno peppers. 

So, if you are more into hot and spicy tacos, pepper jack would be your best bet. Aside from that, pepper jack cheese has a creamy and smooth texture that melts beautifully when heated. 

You can easily shred or slice it and then melt it over the fillings to create a deliciously gooey and flavorful layer that binds the ingredients together. 

When it comes to fillings, pepper jack is there to add a spicy kick to grilled chicken, seasoned beef, sautéed vegetables, or even seafood. 

Pepper Jack is incredibly versatile, as it works harmoniously with fresh toppings like tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, adding a zesty punch to the combination.

Its creamy and spicy nature also complements other condiments such as salsas, guacamole, or sour cream.

12. Menonita Cheese: It’s All About Melting

Menonita cheese

My final recommendation is another cheese very popular in Mexico. Menonita cheese originated from the Mennonite communities in Mexico. 

It is a semi-soft cheese with a mild flavor and a smooth and creamy consistency. But what is most important are its melting properties. 

When heated, this Mexican cheese becomes smooth and creamy, making it a great option for melting into a tortilla or over taco fillings, which creates a luscious and indulgent texture. 

You can also shred it and sprinkle it over the assembled tacos, allowing it to melt slightly and provide a delightful cheesy finish. 

Menonita cheese works well with a variety of taco fillings. 

Whether you’re making grilled chicken, seasoned beef, roasted vegetables, or even vegetarian options, Menonita cheese’s creamy and mild flavor can complement and balance the flavors of the fillings. 

It can be paired with traditional Mexican flavors like cilantro, salsa, avocado, or lime for a delightful combination.

Best Cheese For Tacos With 12 Tasty Combinations