Queso fresco, literally "fresh cheese," is a popular type of cheese used in Mexican dishes. If you have it on hand for a recipe, you may begin to wonder how long it lasts after opening and how to make it last longer. Look no further. We have researched all about this for you.
Queso fresco stays good for anywhere between three days to one week. Homemade queso fresco does not stay fresh as long as store-bought queso fresco does. Store-bought queso fresco lasts up to two weeks.
Keep reading to learn more about queso fresco, including how to tell when it has gone bad, whether or not it is a good melting cheese, and what goes best with it.
All There Is To Know About Queso Fresco
We are here to talk all about queso fresco! It is a Mexican cheese, usually made of either raw cow's milk or goat's and cow's milks combined. Queso fresco is a classic lightly pressed farmer's cheese.
The texture of queso fresco can be likened to feta or ricotta, working as substitutes if you happen to run out. Queso fresco is meant to be eaten the day it is made or within the same week. It is crumbly and soft, a perfect addition to most meals.
It is used to enhance Mexican dishes such as tacos and empanadas. Queso fresco is tangier and bolder than mozzarella cheese as well as saltier and smoother than goat's cheese. It is used as a filling for stuffed chiles too.
In order to keep queso fresco fresh, you should properly store it in an air-tight container. If you do not have an air-tight container, then saran wrap will work. You just have to wrap it tightly against the bowl or container that you use.
Some people confuse queso fresco with queso blanco. Queso blanco is what you eat with tortilla chips when you eat at an authentic Mexican restaurant. Queso blanco is a dip, unlike queso fresco.
How to know if Queso Fresco is bad?
The way to tell if queso fresco has spoiled is by examining it for white or green spots of mold. This mold sits on top of the cheese and sometimes on the lid of the jar if it is store-bought.
White mold may be difficult to see on top of white cheese. The green spots are more obvious. If you see any sign of mold that is an indication that your queso fresco has gone bad and should be thrown away.
Can you freeze queso fresco?
You can technically freeze homemade queso fresco for approximately two months. It is best to freeze it in an air-tight container or freezer-safe bag. It has a high moisture content though so it is not necessarily the best idea to freeze it.
If you purchase queso fresco at the grocery store it should be consumed within two weeks of opening. Alternatively, keep it frozen for approximately three to six months.
Sometimes cheeses dry out when they are frozen. Cheeses also have the potential to become freezer burnt which is never pleasant. If you must freeze queso fresco so that it does not get wasted, we have some suggestions for you.
Whenever you are just going to thaw the cheese to use in a recipe it is fine to leave it on the kitchen counter overnight. It is ready to use in your recipe after 12 hours of thawing.
It is important to take note of the fact that solid blocks of cheese take more time to thaw than shredded cheese does. You can allow your queso fresco to defrost for up to 24 hours.
It is okay to either let your queso fresco thaw on the counter or put it into a bowl and cover it with saran wrap. You should keep it wrapped in its original packaging or in plastic so that the cheese retains moisture as it thaws.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can you keep queso in the fridge?
Queso does not keep very well in the fridge. You can keep fresh queso in the fridge for about five days. Queso with preservatives like what you will find in a grocery store lasts about two weeks.
If you buy queso from a restaurant it should keep in the refrigerator for three to five days. Always keep an eye out for mold on the surface.
Is queso fresco a good melting cheese?
Queso fresco is not a good melting cheese. If you want a melting cheese it probably is not the one you want. That is because queso fresco does not melt well with heat, like other cheeses do.
It is most often used as a filling rather than as a dip. It softens but does not melt when heated.
A few alternatives for better melting cheeses are cheddar, mozzarella, and provolone. An alternative Mexican cheese, similar to Monterey Jack, is Oaxaca cheese. It pairs well with guacamole.
How do you eat Queso Fresco?
There are several ways to eat queso fresco. It goes with both heavier dishes and light dishes. Queso fresco complements enchiladas, huevos rancheros, quesadillas, and carne asada just as well as salads and grilled vegetables.
Queso fresco is creamy and fresh. When it is homemade you allow milk to acidify and curdle. After that the curdled milk is strained by way of a cheesecloth, then pressed. Some people let it age for a few days while others sell or consume it immediately.
The thing with queso fresco is that it is crumbly. It is easily added to any dish. You can eat queso fresco with tortilla chips and add a scoop of sour cream or salsa alongside the cheese.
You can also stuff tacos with queso fresco or add it to salads. Queso fresco tastes great on re-fried beans as well. By the way, after preparing your Mexican fare, check out "How To Properly Store Refried Beans."
Queso fresco can also be sliced or cubed instead of crumbling. If you slice it or cut it into cubes, it goes well with dried fruit and meat. That is one healthy snack combination!
You'll want a festive serving dish for cubed or crumbled queso.
What to do with your old queso fresco
What is Queso Fresco cheese good for?
Queso fresco cheese is a great addition to just about any Mexican dish. You can easily crumble queso fresco and put it on top of supreme nachos, quesadillas, tamales, enchiladas, and empanadas to name a few. It is good to add to salads as well.
Queso fresco works as a great filler for tacos too! You can buy a lazy susan taco station and use one or two of the bowls for the cheeses that you would like to have in your tacos.
What is queso fresco similar to?
The texture of queso fresco is similar to that of feta and ricotta. Queso fresco is a crumbly cheese. It does not melt well and is used more to complement a dish instead of a cheese that melts better which can then be used for dip.
Dinner ideas with queso fresco
Queso fresco pairs well with just about any Mexican dish. It can be used as a topping or a filling. Spicy dishes are balanced more out when you add queso fresco.
Tacos are a fantastic dinner option for any night of the week. You can choose between hard shells and soft shells for your taco night or even a mixture of both. Crumble some queso fresco to add in with the rest of your taco toppings.
The thing about supreme nachos is that they can be whatever you want them to be. You can top your nachos with anything from beef, lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes, jalapenos, and onion, to shredded cheddar cheese and queso fresco.
Quesadillas are easy to make and taste great with queso fresco. Just add in some queso fresco with your chicken or beef to make delicious quesadillas.
Tamales are made up of corn dough with beans and/or meat inside. You can easily add queso fresco into your tamales. Just crumble some and add it on in with the rest of your tamale stuffing.
Enchiladas are similar to burritos. Top off your enchiladas with queso fresco. It not only adds flavor but is visually appealing when it is placed on top of enchilada sauce as well. Check out, "Should You Fry Flour Tortillas For Enchiladas?" before preparing this dish.
Empanadas traditionally have a source of protein such as beef, chicken, or pork accompanied by some simple vegetables such as carrots or corn. They are similar to turnovers in the way that they are a pocket of dough with a filling inside of them. Queso fresco can be added to whatever meat and vegetable combination that you choose.
Queso Fresco, or fresh cheese, stays good for about two weeks as long as it is stored properly. Fresh traditional queso fresco only keeps for a few days. It goes great with Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, quesadillas, and empanadas.
Queso fresco should not be confused with queso blanco. It is a farmer's cheese as opposed to queso blanco, which is more commonly used as a dip. Since it is not the best melting cheese queso fresco is usually used as a filler rather than a dip.