Queso fresco is a firm, fresh cheese that melts easily and can be served on nachos, tacos, or sandwiches.
It’s ideal for those who are lactose intolerant because it contains little or no lactose.
Queso fresco has a creamy texture similar to Monterey Jack and can be topped with chiles, herbs, or spices.
You can freeze fresh, homemade queso fresco for up to two months.
It’s best to freeze it in a heavy-duty freezer bag or airtight container.
This cheese can be frozen before or after cooking, but you must cook it if you’re freezing it for later use.
If you’d like to prepare the queso fresco as an appetizer, include cilantro and chopped chiles with the cheese before serving.
In this article, we will guide you by freezing homemade queso fresco and reheating it on the stove.
What’s Queso Fresco?
Queso fresco is a fresh, white cheese that melts easily. It has a firm structure and a salty, creamy flavor.
It’s also referred to as queso Blanco or “fresh cheese” because it contains no rennet.
Queso fresco is popular in Central American countries like El Salvador, Belize, and Guatemala.
Markets in these areas sell fresh cheese wrapped in tortillas or corn husks for customers to take home and eat immediately.
This cheese is also used as a dessert topping and in salads.
In the United States, queso fresco can be found in specialty grocery stores with a selection of Latin foods.
It’s also sold in some mainstream supermarkets where it’s labeled as “Mexican cheese.
” There are many ways to serve queso fresco, but the most common is to melt it on tacos or nachos.
Does Freezing Affect Queso Fresco?
Queso fresco freezes well without losing its flavor or texture.
If you plan to use queso fresco for cooking, then it’s best to go ahead and freeze the cheese before you cook it.
This way, you can thaw the cheese first to not overcook in the oven or a hot pan.
This is especially true if you plan to use frozen cheese in recipes that require a long baking time.
You can bake cheese dishes like quesadillas or flautas ahead of time as well.
Freezing also prevents the formation of ice crystals, which may affect the texture and flavor of your cheese dish once it’s cooked.
How to Freeze Queso Fresco?
Freezing queso fresco is simple and can be done in several ways.
You can freeze your cheese in a heavy-duty freezer bag or an airtight container.
The method you use will depend on how much queso fresco you want to freeze and the storage methods available to you.
If you have a very small amount of queso fresco, it’s best to store it in an airtight container.
You can use a glass container or bowl covered with plastic wrap and placed in the freezer.
It’s best to freeze the cheese in a container because it will protect the cheese from absorbing freezer odors.
Another option is to vacuum seal your cheese.
If you have a vacuum sealer, it’s best to use it because it also prevents freezer burn.
Vacuum sealed portions of queso fresco can be cooked straight from the freezer without thawing and still taste delicious.
Here’s how you can prepare queso fresco for freezing:
- Cut the cheese into small pieces before you freeze it. You may use a sharp knife or kitchen shears. It doesn’t matter if the cheese is frozen once you cut it.
- However, smaller pieces will defrost quicker than large hunks of cheese, especially if your freezer is packed.
- Freeze queso fresco in a freezer bag if you don’t have any storage containers on hand. It’s also important to place the cheese pieces so that they don’t touch each other.
- Transfer it to the freezer and mark the package with the date to know how long it’s been in the freezer.
- They will last for about two months in the freezer once properly frozen.
How to Thaw Frozen Queso Fresco?
If you’re just defrosting the cheese to use it in a recipe, then thaw it out overnight on the counter.
The cheese is ready to use after 12 hours on the counter.
You can speed up this process by placing the queso fresco in a bowl and covering it with plastic wrap until it’s defrosted.
You can also leave the cheese in the fridge overnight.
It will take 24 hours to defrost in the fridge.
Don’t forget to place it on a plate so that the cheese doesn’t sit in puddles of condensation as it thaws.
It’s best to plan so that the cheese is completely thawed when you’re ready to use it.
How to Use Thawed Queso Fresco?
You can use frozen or thawed queso fresco in several ways.
It’s best to add the cheese at the last minute so that your dishes don’t have an overly strong flavor or odor.
We highly recommend thawing the cheese and use within three days for optimal quality.
You can use thawed cheese in place of the fresh queso fresco in any recipe.
If you added too much-frozen cheese, that’s fine because it melts as you cook and use it.
Here’s are some ideas to use your thawed queso fresco:
- Add it to a cheese sauce for enchiladas or Spanish rice.
- Use it in a Mexican grilled cheese sandwich recipe like the Spicy Quesadilla Melt with Avocado and Bacon.
- You may use this as an alternative to cheddar cheese, Parmesan, or muenster.
- Grill it with a bit of oil and use it in quesadillas or tacos.
- You can also add it to a fresh salsa if you want a rich and creamy texture.
How to Tell if Queso Fresco is Bad?
You can tell if queso fresco is bad by checking the cheese’s texture, smell, and color.
If the queso fresco has a very sour smell, then it’s spoiled.
If the cheese is dry or crumbly, then there’s an issue with its freshness.
Queso fresco should have a creamy texture when you touch it.
You can also tell if the cheese is bad by looking for signs of mold, such as spots or a fuzzy, grey residue.
Do not eat it if you see any discoloration or slime.
Finally, check the expiration date on the package to determine how long it’s been in your refrigerator.
If there isn’t an expiration date, use the “use by” date to determine how long it will keep.
In conclusion, queso fresco is a tasty, creamy, and fresh Mexican cheese that’s great for cooking or snacking.
It’s also very versatile, so you can use it in almost any meal by adding fresh flavors to your queso fresco.
By freezing it, you prevent food waste and save money as well.
The key to keeping queso fresco is in proper storage.
It doesn’t matter if the cheese is fresh or frozen when you store it because it will taste just fine once defrosted.
So, now that you know how to freeze cheese try freezing queso fresco using the instructions above.
It’s an easy way to enjoy this Mexican treat daily.