Queso Fresco – Easy to Make Cheese

      54 Comments on Queso Fresco – Easy to Make Cheese

Queso Fresco

See also Raw MilkΒ and How to Make Cottage Cheese from Sour Milk.

Super Easy Homemade Cheese!

Sometimes I find milk marked down for quick sale because it’s close to expiration. I buy it when I can to make my own queso fresco, cottage cheese, and other dairy products. If heavy cream is marked down I buy it forΒ making butterΒ or sour cream.

Queso fresco is Spanish for ‘fresh cheese.’ I’ve had it from the local Hispanic grocer, and it is excellent. I found a recipe that looked super easy (sorry, I can’t find the link now!) and I like easy recipes!

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Here is the Recipe I Used:

1/2 gallon whole milk

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

Pour the milk into a stainless steel, 1 gallon pan. Bring to 180 F and remove from heat. Stir in vinegar until curds form. Line a colander with cheesecloth and set in a large bowl. Pour the curdled milk into the colander and drain in the fridge overnight. Add salt and stir into curds. Gather cheesecloth and tie. Hang over a bowl until it stops dripping. You can also put your cheese curds into a form and add weight to it for a firm round of cheese.

Here’s How I Made Queso Fresco

I made some changes and it still turned out great. I used just a sprinkle of salt and was happy with the flavor. You might want to use more. The other change I made was to only drain the cheese for about an hour in the colander. I didn’t leave it overnight (too impatient) and I didn’t put a weight on it to make a firm cheese.

queso fresco


Or, You Can Make Queso Seco

If you decide to make this cheese and you want to keep it for a while in the refrigerator, I would suggest using the 1/4 tsp of salt and draining it longer. If you press the moisture out of the cheese, you will have queso seco (Spanish for dry cheese). Which, I am sure, will also taste wonderful, but much saltier. It doesn’t take much salt for me to be satisfied, and I can make this recipe so quickly that I will probably stick with the queso fresco the way I made it today.

Notes on Making Queso Fresco

There were a couple things I thought worth mentioning. I started with a half gallon of milk and ended up with about 2.5 cups of cheese and almost a half gallon of whey. The whey tasted almost like skim milk, with just a hint of the vinegar detectable to me. I am planning to use some for making baked goods, like muffins. I’ve also read that you can use the whey for smoothies. So there won’t be any waste from the original gallon of milk. I like that…a lot!

Β Do you make your own cheese? What is your favorite kind to make? Leave a comment!

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54 comments on “Queso Fresco – Easy to Make Cheese

  1. Pingback: Your Guide To The Self Reliance Challenge ~ Week 2 - The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

  2. Brianna

    This is great! My husband grew up in Mexico so he loves this stuff! I never thought it would be so easy! Question: do you leave all the whey in the bowl while draining in the fridge or do you empty it? Also does it stick to the cheesecloth? Thanks!

  3. Pingback: Frugal Milk, Cheese & Yogurt

  4. Joy

    Thank you! I just got home from vacation. Before we left I asked my husband to put our half gallon of milk in the freezer we have in our garage so we would have milk when we got home. He put it in the fridge instead. We are back ten days later and the milk had soured. I wondered if there was anything I could do besides toss it out so searched on the Web and found your article on making cottage cheese from sour milk. It was so easy! Now I may never buy cottae cheese again!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Joy,
      It happens to the best of us! Glad you were able to use the sour milk. I sure hate to waste food and I was so glad to find a way to use old milk too. Best wishes!

  5. Pingback: Cottage Cheese – Made From Sour Milk

  6. Pingback: Top Ten Uses for Whey

  7. Leti Dutschmann

    The liquid that drains from the curds can be heated up once more and you will get a second batch of cheese: cottage cheese or “requeson”.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      That is wonderful to know Leti! Thanks for educating me πŸ™‚ I love to learn more frugal ways of using what I have. Thanks for visiting!

      1. Jo

        I went to a cheesemaking demo at Wholefoods. We made the queso blanco first and it was great. We tried it still warm. Yum! Then we reheated the liquid left over and made ricotta cheese from the whey since the first whey still has a lot of milk solids left in it. The second heating is a bit higher temperature (203F for the ricotta while the queso blanco was heated to 195F). So you actually get two batches of cheese out of the 1 gallon of milk.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Sara!
      I know, it’s a lot! I used some to make oatmeal this morning and my son and I liked it, Tom…not so much, but he’s not much of an oatmeal eater anywhey πŸ™‚

  8. KarenLynn

    Lisa Lynn this looks amazing! I really need to try my hand at making cheese at home too……I know it is such an art and takes some practice and I so appreciate you sharing your experience and expertise in self sufficiency at “The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post” I am so glad to be back! I have so missed my Saturday connections with my fellow homesteading blogging friends!

  9. Haworth

    Thank you so much for this recipe, Lisa! It sounds (and looks!) delicious and I can’t wait to try it. I’m hoping you can use regular whole milk from the store since I don’t have access to raw milk. (And I’m with you…. 14 tsp of salt sounds like WAY too much!!) Thanks again!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      I’m so happy I could share the recipe! It was very yummy. πŸ™‚ I am gettting ready to try ricotta cheese this afternoon, made in a similar recipe to this.

      You will get normal results from whole milk from the store. I choose raw milk mainly because I don’t want to use homogenized milk. But that is for health reasons. Best wishes with your cheese making adventures!

  10. Angi@schneiderpeeps

    oh, yum! I can’t wait until you make the raw cheese. I made yogurt and ricotta for the first time recenly and was disappointed that I had to heat my milk up so much. But I recently found a recipe to make raw yogurt. I’ll be trying that soon.

    Great blog, thanks for inviting me over.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Angi! I’ve been planning to make ricotta, and just realized that I forgot the buttermilk at the store again…drat! Hmmm, I wonder if you really need the buttermilk?

      Thanks for stopping by! So glad to have you here!

  11. Gretchen

    I’ve been dabbling in cheese making lately – this recipe looks easy enough for me at this point. I’ve been trying to find ways to use the whey as well.

  12. Linda

    I recently took a cheese making class and thought it was both interesting and fun. I must confess that some of the cheeses we made I’d just as soon buy but loved the goat cheese.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      I’m thinking that any hard cheese we want will still come from the store. But if I can make my own cottage, ricotta, qeuso fresco, and maybe some other soft cheese…that will satisfy most of my cheese appetite. πŸ™‚

      The cheese class sounds like a lot of fun!

    1. Yolanda

      I use Real Salt all the time, but not in my hard, pressed cheeses. I object to biting into a tiny “rock” when I’m eating it. For those things, I use plain refined sea salt. I’ve been wondering though… for popcorn I put our Real Salt through a little electric coffee grinder and it makes it Very Fine. I am going to try that for the cheese and see how it goes. Oh how we love Real Salt!!!

  13. Yolanda

    Maybe the original recipe was supposed to say 1/4 teaspoon salt and they forgot the slash. 14 would be WAY too much. When I make mine, I drain it through a cloth and then press it in the cloth to get the extra liquid out. It saves a lot of time and works just fine.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      That would make sense πŸ™‚ And I like your tip of pressing it in the cloth, I sort of did that…but next time I think I’ll press it better. Thanks for stopping by!

        1. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Thanks for the link! I’ll check it out. πŸ™‚ I just made ricotta for the first time on Wed and it came out delicious. I am using the whey in baked goods, but I’ve read that you can use it in smoothies or feed it to your pigs and chickens if you just can’t use it all. I think it would also be good used in place of water or milk when you make oatmeal, pancakes, maybe even French toast? Let me know if you come up with more wheys to use your whey. πŸ˜‰

  14. Jenny

    I was really glad to see this post. I received Artisan Cheese Making at Home (or something like that) for Christmas. We live within easy access of a dairy that sells raw milk, cream, and cheese. We’ve gotten the butter making down and now I really wanted to try the cheese. I noticed a recipe in the book for queso fresco. In order to stretch our food budget we have added a beans and rice night to our menu once a week. We really love the queso fresco crumbled on top. I can’t see that much salt added either although when I lived in Central America for a few years I did notice that their cheeses were terribly salty for eating and used more as a “finishing”. The kind that I purchase however just at the conventional grocery store has a creamy texture and a sweeter flavor. I’m committed to cooking through the recipes in the book in order as each builds on the other as far as difficulty but I can’t wait to get to the queso fresco.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      You’ll like it Jenny. πŸ™‚ Let me know what you think of the book. I may decide to pick up a cheese making book. It’s great that you have easy access to raw milk! I’m really enjoying the raw milk we are getting.
      I thought that sounded way too salty! Glad I’m not the only one πŸ™‚
      Thanks for stopping by to visit!

  15. Rachel E.

    I used whey in my whole wheat bread one time after warming it to 110 degrees. It was so soft! My bread, that is. I was amazed! It stayed soft, too. SO, I was wondering what you actually do with this cheese. How do you eat it? It’s worth a try.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Rachel,
      Hmmm, I just might have to bake a batch of bread the next time I make cheese. πŸ™‚ The cheese came out in a chunk and then I crumbled it up to add the salt. So now it is in a container in the fridge and we are using it on tacos and quesadillas, salads, and with tortilla chips and salsa. If you mixed the salt in and then returned it to the cheesecloth and pressed it back into a chunk, I think you could slice it to use on crackers, etc. I have noticed that it doesn’t melt very well. So I don’t think I’ll do grilled cheese sandwiches with it.


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