Crumbled young cow cheese pieces on a pile on white background

Don’t worry if you are out of Cotija Cheese in your kitchen, today I am sharing the best Cotija Cheese Substitutes. So if you want to know about substitutes for Cotija Cheese then this article is for you.

Are you cooking Mexican cuisine and can’t find the hero of your dish, Cotija cheese? Definitely no Mexican dish, for example, burritos, tacos, salads, enchiladas, etc. complete without a sprinkle of cotija cheese.

But due to its expertise in fitting the best with Mexican dishes, it is very rarely available in America or any other market. 

Also Read: What Does Cottage Cheese Taste Like?

You can very conveniently use a lot of Cotija Cheese Substitutes like feta cheese, romano, parmesan, goat cheese crumbles, etc to replace Cotija cheese if you reside in any American or non-Mexican state. It is made by using curd prepared from cow’s milk and adding some salt to it. Due to its salty and tangy flavor profile, it adds life to bland and non-delightful dishes like soups, salads, etc. 

Read the article below to know in detail about the six best and easily available substitutes for cotija cheese.

6 Best Cotija Cheese Substitutes

So, below I am going to include the best 6 Cotija Cheese Substitutes, all these substitutes are highly recommended and you can use them in the place of Cotija Cheese.

Feta Cheese

Cotija Cheese Substitutes

Feta cheese is definitely the first one that should come to your mind when looking for a substitute for Cotija cheese. 

It is basically known as brine curd and is made from goat and cow milk. When we talk about its texture it has a grainy but soft kind of texture which is very similar to cotija cheese’s texture.

This type of cheese is rich in calcium. The taste of feta cheese is also very tangy and salty just like cotija cheese. You can substitute cotija cheese with cheese in almost all Mediterranean dishes like tacos, pizza, salads, etc. 

You can substitute feta cheese with cotija cheese in a ratio of 1:1. 

Queso fresco

Cotija Cheese Substitutes

The second best Cotija Cheese Substitutes after feta cheese is queso fresco to use in place of Cotija cheese. If you search for the meaning of queso fresco, it will say “fresh cheese”. 

You can conveniently make it at home by pressing cow’s milk. It is definitely a little milder but salty in taste. Its texture is again grainy and soft. You can also prefer using it in place of cotija cheese because it has fewer calories.

Though Queso fresco has a very different taste and a very different texture you can use it as a substitute in a lot of dishes is baked. This substitute for cotija cheese is much cheaper and affordable for you and that’s why used by many! 

With baked dishes, it is also used on top of salads and in making cheesy dip.

Romano Cheese

Cotija Cheese Substitutes

Romano cheese, as the name suggests, originated in Rome. It is indeed a perfect substitute in terms of texture and tanginess to be used in place of cotija cheese. It is generally made with the milk of cows, goats, and sheep. Just like the other two this one is also salty and soft and in fact creamy in texture.

You can substitute cotija cheese with romano cheese in a ratio of 1:1. It can be used in dishes like tacos, or on top of salads or quesadillas, sauces, etc. It is an Italian version of cotija cheese. 

Romano cheese too just like queso fresco is definitely very cheap than cotija cheese and surely more available in general stores.

Parmesan Cheese

Cotija Cheese Substitutes

Yes, this pale and yellow-looking solid thing can definitely be a great substitute for cotija cheese. 

It has a very strong and more prominent flavor than cotija cheese. It is also known as hard cheese and is ages old. So, definitely not crumbly in texture and you can grate it properly into fine thread-like structures. This is prepared with the milk of a cow and is much saltier than cotija cheese.

Parmesan cheese is much more expensive than cotija cheese because it need ingredients in larger quantity i.e., milk but you definitely get this type of cheese in more stores. With Mexican dishes like tacos, etc. it can also replace cotija cheese in Italian dishes too like pasta, etc. 

One thing you should remember is that this cheese does not melt on heating, so you should use it accordingly. 

Goat’s Cheese Crumbles

Goat’s cheese surely has a very different flavor profile when compared to cotija cheese but in terms of look they give the same touch to your dish. Just like cotija cheese, it is also very similar in saltiness and creaminess. 

It is made by using the milk of a goat and putting salt into it. Some producers of this type of cheese may also prefer to add some herbs in it to enhance the flavor.

Both of these cheeses are very crumbly and grainy and can be used to sit on top of soups, salads, tacos, etc. You can replace this type of cheese with cotija cheese in a 1:1 ratio

This is also a good substitute to use in pasta, pizza and in fact to serve roasted vegetables that are wrapped up in this type of cheese.

Ricotta Salata

If you are wondering if, ricotta is much softer in comparison to cotija cheese, then how can it be a substitute for cotija cheese? Well, definitely you can use it as a Cotija Cheese Substitutes because of its similar saltiness

It is made by using the milk of sheep and the process takes about 90 days to prepare this type of cheese.

Ricotta Salata is a perfect substitute for cotija cheese when you have to use it in some kind of wrap like a filling, for example, you can use it in enchiladas, ravioli, etc

You should remember that it is very mild in comparison to cotija cheese so you will have to use additional salt and lemon juice while using it as a replacement.


So now you know the six best substitutes for Cotija cheese. Definitely, cotija cheese is the hero for Mexican dishes but you can use either of these Fita, Parmesan, Romano, or goat cheese crumbles and make your dish just the same as it would have been by using cotija cheese. 

However, you should be aware of the mildness or intensity of the flavor in each type of substitute and use it accordingly but you don’t have to think twice before using any of these cheeses in place of cotija cheese. 

If you also know about some best Cotija Cheese Substitutes that we didn’t include in our list then please do let us know. We love to hear your suggestions.

By David McGill

David McGill who is the owner of the American City Diner blog is a big-time foodie, professionally he is a software developer who works at Amazon Web Services in Seattle, Washington. In his free time, he tries different food recipes in his home, and whenever he gets a chance he tries to visit and review restaurants across the state.

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