How To Make Queso Fresco | A Quick & Easy Method

How To Make Queso Fresco | A Quick & Easy Method | Como preparar queso fresco en casa

Contrary to what Mexican inspired restaurants will lead people to believe, Mexican food is never drowning in cheese. Sure Mexican cuisine uses cheese but not to the extent that those aforementioned restaurants use.

Cheese in Mexican cuisine is most often used as a light topping — light being the key word. When used as a filling then of course the amount of cheese required is more, and we do actually have a few dishes that are all about the queso, like quesadillas, chiles rellenos, seared cheese and queso fundido. But other than that in a real authentic Mexican restaurant, and home, you’ll never be served dishes with so much cheese you can barely tell what’s underneath the cheese.

Oh, and spiced cheese bag or mixed “Mexican” cheeses do not exist in real authentic Mexican food. But that and other non-existing foods is a story for another day. Perhaps one can use the amount of cheese on a plate as a measuring point to the authenticity of the food in a restaurant?

The Spanish conquistadors are who originally brought cheese making, and milk based products for that matter, to Latin America. Later as Swiss and German settlers arrived in different parts of Mexico they introduced their own dairy processes and cheeses. Modern day Mexican cheeses range from soft fresh cheeses to firm aged cheeses. The variety is small compared to let’s say French cheese, but the small variety do their job perfectly in Mexican cuisine.

Queso fresco, or literally fresh cheese, is the crumbly and mild cheese popular in Mexican cooking. It’s used as a topping or filling, but it doesn’t melt too well. It’s a very easy cheese to make and anyone can do it. You’ll be pleasantly rewarded with this slightly tart cheese that you won’t want to wait to devour.

Get the milk out and start your queso for tonight’s Mexican dinner!

How to make #Mexican #QuesoFresco from scratch! It's so easy & you only need 4 ingredients. | Como preparar queso fresco en casa.

How To Make Queso Fresco | A Quick & Easy Method

I feel the results were pretty good and considering this was the first cheese I’ve ever made, not bad at all. The taste was creamy, soft with very little acidic undertones. We ate half of the cheese the first day I made it. The next day the leftover cheese had come together ever more and lost a bit of the looseness in the curds. I think next time the draining time will be longer. But the taste was still very creamy and I was able to spread it on some bread. Can’t wait to try a second version, spiced perhaps.


How To Make Queso Fresco | A Quick & Easy Method

Queso Fresco The Easy Way, Version 1 & Nancy Lopez-McHugh
Who knew that making queso fresco is one of the easiest things on Earth. Homemade cheese tastes as good as it sounds!
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Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings


  • one lt. or 34oz of whole fat milk I used 3.5% fat
  • one cup of buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh squeeze lemon juice extra if needed
  • salt to taste


  • In a large pot heat the milk under medium heat. Allow the first bubbles to form prior to boiling – do not bring to a boil. The temperature should be warm but not hot that sticking a finger in the mild will burn you. Turn the heat off.
  • Gently pour and stir in the buttermilk. Next stir in the fresh lemon juice. Keep stirring until curds begin to form. If no curds form after a couple of minutes you will need to add more lemon juice. Cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Place a colander with cheese cloth over a large container to catch the whey. Pour all of the pot contents into the lined colander. BE CAREFUL the liquid is hot. Gather all sides and tie over a wooden spoon or just twist. Remove the colander and place the gathered cloth over a deep container. You don’t want the curds to touch the liquid, it needs to drain off. Leave draining for 30 minutes and tightening the cloth from time to time.
  • Once drained untie the cloth and place the cheese into a large container. Salt and season as desired while working the salt into the cheese. Gather the cheese and place in a container to mould and cover. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour, until chilled or overnight.


Yields one 240g or 1/2 lb cheese
**If leaving overnight make sure to reserves some of the liquid to pour back in the container with the cheese. Otherwise the cheese will come or stick together and become more of a softer consistency , great for spreading.
* This quick methods yields wetter curds that after left together will bind and become a softer or creamier cheeses. Perfect for spreading.
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicamademeatless!


How To Make Queso Fresco | A Quick & Easy Method

How about you, ever made your own cheese at home?

How To Make Queso Fresco | A Quick & Easy Method

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  1. Hi Nancy,
    This is great way to make fresh cheese, and my grandmother use to make this kind of cheese also, just without lemon juice and buttermilk..but I am guessing it helps to sour faster onto crumbles. Looks fantastic to be honest with you! Really easy and delicious recipe..and I love your photos, very rustic and pretty!

  2. Hi Sandra, Thank you:) Yes the lemon in place of rennet and once you add it to the milk it begins curdling right away. The buttermilk cultures the milk.

  3. This cheese is new to me Nancy. I often make Paneer or cottage cheese at home. But I use either butter milk or vinegar or lime juice to curdle the milk. I will try making this cheese for sure 🙂

  4. I'm so glad you talked about the difference between tex-mex and authentic Mexican in the amount of cheese used. Too much cheese can spoil a dish, that's for sure. I love your step by step pictures! This looks awesome, I actually think I may try this after I go for groceries since I don't usually have buttermilk on hand.

  5. Beautiful! =) Well, you I adore queso fresco and fortunately it's readily available here, but it's always more satisfying when I make it myself. Thanks for the link!!

  6. @Natalie, Thanks, you should try this is so easy!

    @Heidi, Yes! I hope you do try it:)

    @Heather, Thank you! Yes I know you had so many recipes I thought I send them to your club:)

    @Leanna, Thanks! Well everyone has different tastes:) You should, why not?

  7. I have never made cheese before! Thank you for sharing this. I'm really excited to try it at home.

    When I visited Mexico, I was pleasantly surprised that cheese is only used as a garnish and to add texture, but to your point, the dishes were never drowning in cheese! This looks like a great addition to salads or just about anything.

  8. All this while, I have this faint suspicion that mexican food will never appear to be drowning in cheese and this is the vices of the misinterpretation of this amazing cuisine! Apparently, you have proved my suspicion right. 🙂

  9. @Michelle, It is quite sad what people try to pass off as “Mexican” food. But it's also great when people recognize and appreciate real authentic Mexican cuisine 🙂

    @Mitinita, Oh what a great discovery then :)!

  10. gracias por aclarar el HORRIBLE mito del queso amarillo en nuestra grandiosa Cocina Mexicana y gracias por compartir ésta receta.

  11. I love fresh creamy cheeses. This sounds simple enough for a cheese novice like me. The amount of yellow cheese on anything bothers me, too, now that you've mentioned it.

  12. This looks so familiar! We make paneer the same way, and press it under a heavy weight if cubes are called for. Great first cheese, lovely pics!

  13. Thanks evryone for your comments!

    @Tadka, I threw the whey out. I didn't know what to do with ? I read something about using it as a soup base. What do you recommend?

  14. We use it in soup, dal-lentils, beans, curries, and breads, wherever a liquid is needed, and a bit of acid won't hurt. It gives a richer and slightly tangy taste to the dish.

  15. Great job for a first go around. Very detailed instruction too. Queso fresco and Cotija are some of my favorite cheeses. I can get them fairly easily here in Miami.


  16. That reminds me a lot of making ricotta cheese! The only difference is the buttermilk vs. heavy cream, but otherwise it's very very similar. I've made ricotta and mozzarella before. I really should make more cheese, even though it's readily available, it can be really fun and exciting to do it yourself 🙂 I also am so glad you pointed out that Mexican food drowning in cheese is not authentic. It bothers me so much when I go to Mexican restaurants.

  17. I love this and the history…I think I told you Adam has made this cheese at home and it is wonderful, mild and tasty! Gorgeous as always 🙂
    Hugs and wishing you a great weekend!

  18. Tell me about it! I live in Southern California and I grew up in Texas and it's so true about the cheese. I really should branch out and try using queso fresco in my cooking. What a very informative post!

  19. I've made ricotta like this before, I ate it still warm with honey on toast, delicious! Also I made labneh (a yoghurt cheese)by straining greek yoghurt then adding sumac, dried mint & cumin. It's so good and so easy!! I love your glass tray & congrats on Top 9!

  20. Thanks again guys, loving all your great feedback:)

    @foodblogandthedog, Oh that sounds so so good! Will have to try that soon. Thanks I had no idea I was on the top 9, yay :)!

  21. There is something lovely about making cheese at home. I have made a very simple cream cheese with yogurt – which was also very nice. Your cheese looks wonderful.

  22. Very interesting to know that Mexican food isn't loaded with cheese – some large brands would lead you to believe it is – have you seen the cheese in a jar? Bleaugh!

    I am definitely trying this Queso Fresco, Nancy. I've always wanted to try making cheese and this is a great one to start with. Congrats on Top 9!

  23. having been raised on true Tex-Mex not northern style, we had cheese on dishes but it was never the main event! Thanks for showing us how to make our own Queso Fresco, I have never made cheese and this looks easy enough even for me.
    Now I'm hungry for a nice mexican breakfast….sigh
    Congrats on the top 9!

  24. Aye aye aye…I wish I could pick up a fork and dig in!! YUM!
    When I first went to Mexico I expected not to like the food because I'm not crazy about “USA” Mexican food… to my surprise, I LOVED Mexican food in Mexico! 🙂

  25. I have a hard time eating at most chain Mexican resteraunts because of all the cheese that smothers the food. I do however love making my own at home. Living here so close to Mexico there are some great ingredients and cheeses on hand.

    Making my own is on the very top of my 'To Do' list. thanks for the great tutorial!


  26. When I went to Mexico and my friends there took me out, I honestly couldn't remember eating much cheese, if any. So what you said here is absolutely right! I've never made any fresh cheese at home but looking at this beautiful post, I'm inspired to try it ;-).

  27. I just tried queso fresco for the first time this year…so yummy! I know your homemade version is even better!!!!

  28. hello foodie! great recipe.. just wondering if it’s safe to use the whey waste or bi-product and do you have any suggestions.. thank you

    1. Hi Alex,

      Yes, it is perfectly safe to use the left over whey. It can be added to soups or used in baking. I hear it’s quite nutritional. Enjoy!

  29. Love this – and why not? It’s just like making ricotta or even Indian paneer, although that is pressed so that cubes can be formed. Always so much better than buying cheese! By the way, I made your cheese panela – it will be the next post on my blog. So good!!! I’ve already made it twice!

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