Oaxaca Cheese

Oaxaca cheese: the mozzarella of Mexico

We think you'll melt for Oaxaca, because Oaxaca will definitely melt for you. This semi-soft, super meltable Mexican cheese is a lot like mozzarella cheese – the curds are stretched and kneaded into long ribbons that are gently wound into a ball or knot. That's no coincidence – the mozzarella-making technique that was brought to Mexico from Italy by Dominican friars.

Oaxaca cheese (it's pronounced wa-ha-ka) has mild, earthy flavor like a young monterey jack, but more buttery and with far more melt. Its light flavor and texture make it a favorite of children; its melty, gooey deliciousness make it a favorite of everyone else.

You really haven't lived until you've had a quesadilla with this gorgeously melty cheese. But lucky for you, the mozzarella of Mexico is now made in Wisconsin. Here in Wisconsin we take inspiration from the fact that cheese has no borders and love being able to produce and eat this yummy melty cheese right at home. You really haven't lived until you've had this classic Mexican cheese in a quesadilla or burrito. Don't take our word for it, try out a Wisconsin made Oaxaca for yourself!

What to have with oaxaca cheese

Mild and melting oaxaca cheese is a natural for quesadillas, tostadas, and empanadas, and it really ups its game as a topping for refried beans or stuffed squash blossoms. We love it as a hot queso dip for tortilla chips or veggies. And oaxaca fits right in anywhere you'd use mozzarella, like on pizzas and baked pastas. If you're looking for a special breakfast treat, try a fresh-from-the-garden veggie & egg scramble with a melted layer of oaxaca cheese. Now that's a reason to get up in the morning.

As far as beverages go, this mild and friendly cheese goes well with lighter fare. If you're popping corks, try champagne, pinot grigio, and sauvignon blanc. For malt beverages, pilsners, pale lagers, and wheat ales are a fine match. Rum makes a nice drinking buddy if you're looking for liquor.

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FAQs: What is oaxaca cheese?

What is oaxaca cheese?

Oaxaca is a semi-soft cheese that originated in Mexico with a flavor like a young monterey jack but a texture like mozzarella or string cheese. It's named after the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, where it originated. Oaxaca cheese is made with the same Italian string cheese process that is used to make mozzarella. A fresh white cheese with a mild buttery flavor, oaxaca melts easily, making it an excellent cheese for baking.

How is oaxaca cheese made?

The process of making Oaxaca cheese is a little different. Once the curds have been cut into pieces, they take a quick dip in a hot pool of whey or water. The cheese is so light and fluffy it floats up to the top to tell you that it's ready for the next step. After the quick bath they're kneaded and stretched into long ropes. The last step is taking these strands and gently winding them into a structure that resembles a ball of yarn.

Is oaxaca cheese good for melting?

Oaxaca cheese is perfect for melting on a wide variety of Mexican dishes, as well as pastas and pizzas.

Is Oaxaca the same as queso fresco or cotija cheese?

Oaxaca cheese is quite different from queso fresco or cotija cheese. Oaxaca is a mild cheese with a stringy texture like mozzarella, and it melts easily. Cotija cheese is more like aged parmesan, with a sharp tangy flavor and a granular texture that won't melt. Queso fresco is a fresh cheese like feta with a moderately tangy flavor and a texture that crumbles easily but won't melt.

Oaxaca. Waukesha. Let's call the cheese thing off.

We know what you're thinking: how can Midwest cheesemakers possibly make great Mexican cheese?

Well, with cheese today, it's not about where you are. It's about what you know. And our cheesemakers know a lot. (Seriously, they're like the Jeopardy champions of cheese.) Maybe it's because we have the only Master Cheesemaker program in the world outside of Switzerland. Perhaps it's because we've been making cheese since before we were a state. Or maybe it's because we are a people obsessed with cheese and determined to push the boundaries of what cheesemaking can be.

Whatever the reason, our drive to make the best cheese in the world seems to be working, judging by the 5,552 awards we've won. And by the sheer amount of cheese we sell to the rest of the nation and the world.

The beauty of cheese is that it can inspire cheesemakers around the world. Yes, Oaxaca cheese originated in Mexico, but Wisconsin knows cheese. And our Oaxaca is dang good and you can count on our Oaxaca to elevate any Mexican dish you cook up.

Bottom line: it doesn't really matter if your oaxaca cheese is made in Mexico or Menominee, as long as it's the best cheese in the world. And trust us, it is.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

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