Friday, June 4, 2010

Recipe: Make Your Own Queso Fresco

I'd like to make a confession: I'm addicted to cheese. Doesn't matter if it's hard, soft, or blue. I love it all. Gruyere, Manchego, Emmental, Brie... the mere utterance of one of these words makes my mouth water. Given my strong affinity for cheese, I decided it was high time I made my own.

Queso fresco, the crumbly cheese that's a staple in Mexican food, literally means "fresh cheese." It's quick and simple to make - the only ingredients you'll need are milk, vinegar, and salt. Get the best quality milk you can find; since the recipe has so few ingredients, the milk's taste will be amplified when it turns to cheese.

At the end of this process you'll have a cup or two or cheese on your hands, and well over a quart of whey. While most people drain the whey down the sink, it can also be refrigerated and used later to make ricotta cheese. You can even substitute it for the water when cooking pasta or bread. It's full of nutrients and protein, so go ahead and save it if you're so inclined.

Queso Fresco
2 quarts very fresh milk
1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt or sea salt
3 tbsp white vinegar

Combine milk and salt in a pan and slowly turn up the heat to avoid scorching. Once milk is at a boil, immediately turn the heat to low and stir in the vinegar. The milk will start to curdle; gently stir with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes until curds are fully developed.

Strain milk into a cheesecloth-covered strainer with a bowl underneath to catch the whey.

Squeeze any remaining liquids out of the cheesecloth.

That's it! The cheese is basically ready to eat now, but if you prefer, you can press it to make it more firm. To do this, squeeze out all liquid and shape the ball of cheese in a bowl, then cover with weighted plates and dishes to press the cheese.

Above: my makeshift cheese weights.

Store cheese in a closed container in the refrigerator.


  1. Great assist by the Forbes Jar of Pork!

  2. I think it looks really good. We need to learn how to make it!

  3. So funny, Jodi. Tell Marin it is so easy, she could probably do it all by herself!