7 Best Substitute For Oaxaca Cheese

Oaxaca Cheese Substitute

Oaxaca cheese, fondly referred to as the “Mexican mozzarella”, is a semi-hard, white cheese originating from the southern region of Mexico. Renowned for its superior meltability and mild, creamy taste, it effortlessly elevates any dish it graces. Traditionally used in Mexican cuisine, Oaxaca cheese adds a perfect blend of flavor and texture to quesadillas, empanadas, and enchiladas. Yet, there may be instances when this star ingredient is missing from your pantry or unavailable in your local stores, leaving you wondering about its suitable substitutes.

Fortunately, the world of cheese offers numerous variants that could match the unique properties of Oaxaca cheese. Our comprehensive guide curates the seven best substitutes, each bearing a close resemblance to Oaxaca cheese in terms of taste, texture, and meltability. They have been chosen for their versatility in diverse culinary contexts, accessibility, and overall appeal to the palate. So, whether you’re preparing a classic Mexican recipe or experimenting with new flavors, these substitutes can certainly save your day.

What is Oaxaca Cheese?

Oaxaca cheese, pronounced ‘wa-ha-ka’, is a traditional Mexican cheese named after a region in southern Mexico. It is a white, semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk. Its string cheese-like properties make it a preferred choice for dishes that require melted cheese. With its creamy texture and mild flavor, it goes especially well with traditional Mexican dishes like quesadillas, empanadas, and enchiladas. But it is its unique kneading and stretching process that gives it a characteristic unspooling feature, adding a delightful element to the culinary adventure.

The Cheese Parade: Your Handy List of Oaxaca Cheese Substitutes

  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Provolone Cheese
  • String Cheese
  • Gouda Cheese
  • Asadero Cheese
  • Queso Quesadilla
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Best Substitutes For Oaxaca Cheese

While each cheese has its distinctive attributes, several options can come close to substituting Oaxaca cheese based on its texture, taste, and melting ability. We have picked the best seven for you.

Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella cheese shares a striking resemblance to Oaxaca cheese in terms of its mild flavor and stellar melting qualities. Originating from Italy, mozzarella is made using cow or buffalo’s milk. It is renowned for its smooth and creamy texture that melts beautifully, much like Oaxaca cheese.

In terms of flavor, mozzarella is slightly tangier than Oaxaca but is sufficiently mild to make it a decent substitute. It’s this distinct yet subtle flavor that makes it a favorite in dishes like pizza and pasta, as it complements other ingredients without overpowering them.

Using mozzarella as a substitute for Oaxaca cheese is easy. Just replace it in equal quantities in your recipe. Whether it’s a Mexican pizza or a cheesy baked dish, mozzarella will do the job splendidly with its excellent melt and stretch.

Monterey Jack Cheese

Monterey Jack, another Mexican favorite, is a fantastic substitute for Oaxaca cheese. Made from cow’s milk, it is semi-hard, creamy, and melts effortlessly, making it an excellent choice for dishes requiring a gooey cheese pull.

The flavor of Monterey Jack is mild with a slight tartness, akin to mozzarella but not as tangy. It’s this mildness that makes it a versatile cheese that pairs well with spicy Mexican food, just like Oaxaca cheese.

In dishes requiring Oaxaca cheese, Monterey Jack can be used in the same quantity. Its meltability and subtle flavor will blend in perfectly with the other ingredients, rendering an equally delicious outcome.

Provolone Cheese

Provolone is an Italian semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk. Like Oaxaca cheese, it has a white or pale-yellow color, a similar consistency, and an excellent ability to melt. The Provolone is a cheese with two faces. Its flavor can range from mild and sweet when it’s young to sharp and tangy when it’s aged.

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The dual nature of Provolone makes it an excellent substitute for Oaxaca cheese. If your recipe calls for a mild, melty cheese, go for young Provolone. If you want to add a tangy note to your dish, aged Provolone is your friend.

Substitute Provolone for Oaxaca cheese in a one-to-one ratio. This cheese works exceptionally well in Mexican cuisine, from quesadillas to lasagna, bringing a mouthful of creaminess with a balanced flavor profile.

String Cheese

Another excellent replacement for Oaxaca cheese is string cheese, especially if you value Oaxaca for its fun stringy texture. Commonly made from mozzarella, string cheese has the same softness and melt-in-your-mouth quality as Oaxaca cheese.

The flavor of string cheese is quite mild and creamy, closely resembling Oaxaca. It’s perfect for a snack on its own or as an ingredient in various recipes that call for a cheese that can melt smoothly.

Just like with the previous cheeses, you can substitute string cheese for Oaxaca cheese in equal quantities. It’s an excellent choice for pizzas, stuffed bread, or casseroles where you want that stringy, melty cheese effect.

Gouda Cheese

Originally from the Netherlands, Gouda cheese is semi-hard to hard cheese with a creamy texture. Gouda comes in many varieties, but the younger ones can substitute Oaxaca cheese effectively due to their mild, creamy, and slightly sweet flavor profile.

Gouda’s melting quality is impressive and similar to Oaxaca, making it suitable for dishes that require a creamy, melted cheese. While Gouda’s flavor is a bit richer than Oaxaca’s, it doesn’t overpower the overall taste of the dish.

You can use the same quantity of Gouda as Oaxaca in recipes, especially for grilled sandwiches, pasta bakes, and Mexican dishes.

Asadero Cheese

Asadero is a traditional Mexican cheese and therefore an excellent choice to replace Oaxaca. It’s a semi-soft, creamy cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a mild, slightly tangy flavor that makes it versatile in many dishes.

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Asadero cheese melts beautifully, creating a rich, creamy texture similar to Oaxaca. It’s an excellent cheese to use in baking or grilling recipes due to its high meltability.

Use Asadero cheese in equal amounts as Oaxaca cheese for recipes. It works wonderfully in quesadillas, enchiladas, and even stuffed peppers.

Queso Quesadilla

Queso Quesadilla is another traditional Mexican cheese, which gets its name because it’s perfect for making quesadillas. It’s a creamy, mild cheese that melts to a smooth consistency, just like Oaxaca cheese.

Its mild flavor won’t compete with other ingredients in your dishes, making it a versatile cheese for many Mexican and other cuisines. It’s also great for snacking on its own due to its delicious, creamy taste.

To use Queso Quesadilla as a substitute for Oaxaca, replace it in equal amounts in your recipes. Whether it’s for a cheese sauce, a baked dish, or a cheesy topping, it will give your dish a creamy, cheesy goodness.

Substitutes for Oaxaca Cheese: Nutritional Profile

CheeseGluten (g)CaloriesFat (g)Carbs (g)Fiber (g)Protein (g)
Mozzarella Cheese0856107
Monterey Jack Cheese01069007
Provolone Cheese0988107
String Cheese0806108
Gouda Cheese01018007
Asadero Cheese0907106
Queso Quesadilla0907106

(Please note that the nutritional values are given per ¼ cup and might slightly vary depending on the brand and production process)


Finding a substitute for Oaxaca cheese is not as daunting as it may seem. With many cheeses sharing similar textures, flavors, and melting capabilities, you can easily switch out Oaxaca cheese for another in your recipes. From mozzarella to Queso Quesadilla, there are plenty of cheeses that can step in to save the day when you’re out of Oaxaca cheese. And remember, each cheese brings its unique touch to a dish, so don’t be afraid to experiment! You might just find a new favorite combination along the way. Happy cooking!

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