How To Melt Queso Fresco Perfectly

Queso Fresco, Spanish for ‘fresh cheese,’ is a staple in many Mexican dishes. If you are reading this, you’re probably frustrated and looking for tips on how to melt queso fresco. This mild, soft, tangy white cheese doesn’t melt well. 

Queso fresco can melt; it won’t give you that creamy end product. Queso fresco melts better when shredded or grated and heated with evaporated milk.

Still, the queso fresco will remain a little grainy. You can melt queso fresco on a stove or in the microwave.

What Is Queso Fresco? 

Queso fresco is a soft, fresh cheese usually made from raw cow milk — sometimes mixed with goat milk.

The milk is acidified with lemon or vinegar and left to curdle. Unlike other types of cheese, queso fresco is not aged to give it a fresh taste. 

When they started making queso fresco, refrigerators and the maturing process didn’t exist.

They had to use a base, an acid, and some seasoning to make it tasty and non-perishable.

For that reason, queso fresco is traditionally consumed fresh. 

What is Queso Fresco Cheese Used For? 

Queso fresco is a popular ingredient in Mexican dishes. It’s also incredibly versatile, used in many recipes and cuisines, from enchiladas to tacos.

Below are various ways you can use queso fresco at home: 

  • As a garnish on top of food
  • Toss it into fruit salad
  • Shred it to make quesadillas — alongside other cheeses 
  • Serve on pizza
  • Smear it on street corn (elote) in the summer 
  • Crumble it on top of enchiladas, tacos, or any other classic Mexican dish

How to Make Queso Fresco

As you can see, queso fresco can be quite a handy ingredient, and you might wonder whether you can make it at home.

Fortunately, queso fresco is very easy to make at home. You don’t need any fancy ingredients or special equipment. 

Here’s a list of the things you’ll need to make queso fresco at home: 

  • Whole milk (one gallon)
  • White vinegar (a quarter cup) or lemon juice
  • A pinch of sea salt (not iodized)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Kitchen thermometer

Once you’ve gathered everything on the list, you can start making your queso fresco. Here’s how to make queso fresco in a few simple steps:

  1. The first step is to simmer the milk in a saucepan over a medium flame.
  2. When the milk reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit, turn off the stove, add white vinegar (or lemon juice), and stir well.
  3. Let it sit for about half an hour. The reaction between the milk and acid in vinegar or lemon juice will cause the mixture to form curds. 
  4. Cut the curds using a knife and use a slotted spoon to remove them.
  5. Place the curds on the cheesecloth. Sprinkle the sea salt on the curds. 
  6. Use a piece of string or rubber bands to tie off the edges of the cheesecloth to make a ball off it.
  7. Place the cheesecloth over the sink and let it drip until it becomes firm.
  8. Take off the cheesecloth and shape the curd into an even circle
  9. Put the queso fresco in an airtight container and store it in the fridge until you are ready to use it

READ ALSO: Where To Find Farro In Grocery Store + Quick Farro Recipes

How to Melt Queso Fresco At Home

Now that you know how to make it at home, let’s shift our focus to how to melt queso fresco.

If you use your queso fresco as an ingredient, you may want the cheese to melt on top of your food. That’s not easy to achieve with this type of cheese. 

Queso fresco doesn’t melt like other types of cheese. That’s because it’s made with acid and milk as the main ingredients.

If you heat queso fresco in a pan, it clumps up and becomes stringy in texture. 

However, queso fresco can melt, though the creamy end product you get with other cheeses is elusive with queso fresco.

You must also use the right method, which may vary depending on whether you are melting queso fresco on a stove or microwave. 

Melting Queso Fresco on a Stove

The stove is the best option when it comes to melting queso fresco. Here’s how to melt queso fresco using a stove:

  1. Grate or shred your queso fresco
  2. Pour evaporated milk into a saucepan or wide skillet and put it on the stove 
  3. Set the stove on medium-low heat and wait for the evaporated milk to steam or bubble
  4. Add your crumbled queso fresco to the saucepan or skillet
  5. Keep stirring the mixture with a whisk as the cheese melts

Breaking the queso fresco into small pieces via shredding or grating ensures it heats quickly and evenly.

The evaporated milk ensures it remains a cohesive mixture during the process. Whisking helps achieve a smoother texture. 

Melting Queso Fresco In A Microwave

Melting queso fresco in a microwave is also effective, but you must be careful not to burn the cheese. Here are the steps to melt queso fresco in a microwave:

  1. Similarly, the first step is to grate or shred your queso fresco
  2. Put the shredded cheese in a microwave-safe bowl, leaving some space at the top to accommodate the bubbling
  3. Put the queso fresco in the microwave and set the timer to one minute, then stir
  4. Keep microwaving the queso fresco in 30-second increments and stir every time until it melts fully
  5. Add a tablespoon of milk to thin out the queso fresco if it’s too thick

You must ensure it stays warm if you use your melted queso fresco as a dip. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water to keep the melted cheese warm. 

Why’s My Queso Fresco Not Melting?

Follow the above steps to ensure your queso fresco melts. If it’s not working, you’re skipping an important step.

For instance, failing to shred your cheese and attempting to melt it as a block won’t work. 


Queso fresco doesn’t melt well but can melt using the correct method. The process can be frustrating, but we hope our guide on how to melt queso fresco helps you get better results.  


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