Easy Homemade Queso Fresco

Easy Homemade Queso Fresco

The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

Prep: 4 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Other: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 19 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 1 wheel

Queso fresco is an easy way to make fresh cheese that is often confused with queso blanco. The difference is that queso blanco melts well, and queso fresco doesn't.

Use queso fresco on Mexican dishes, of course, but also on pizza, in omelets, and anywhere else a mild crumbled cheese is needed.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon liquid rennet
  • 1 teaspoon medium grain salt (such as kosher salt)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Easy Homemade Queso Fresco ingredients

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

  2. In a large pot over low heat, slowly heat the whole milk until it reaches 100 F / 38 C.

    milk in a pot, thermometer

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

  3. Remove from heat and stir in the liquid rennet.

    liquid rennet added to milk in a pot

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

  4. Leave the mixture in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours until the milk congeals into a custardy mass. Ideally, you should maintain the 100 F / 38 C temperature during this time. You can accomplish this by placing the pot in an oven with either the pilot or viewing light on (but the oven off), or a sink of warm water.

    milk and rennet mixture in a pot, thermometer

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

  5. Break the mass of curd up until it is about the size of peas. You could use a knife for this step, but it's best is to use clean fingers.

    curd in the pot broken into small pieces

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

  6. Pour the curd into a colander lined with cheesecloth and let the whey (the liquid that separated from the solids while you were breaking up the curd) drain away for 20 to 30 minutes.

    curd in a colander lined with cheesecloth

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

  7. Transfer the drained curds to a mixing bowl and use your clean fingers or a spoon to work in 1 teaspoon of salt.

    salt added to the curd in the bowl

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

  8. Put the salted curds into a cheesecloth- or butter muslin-lined cheese mold (or a colander) set in a large bowl or placed in the sink. 

    salted curds in a bowl lined with cheesecloth

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

  9. Tie the cloth tightly around the queso fresco. Let the cheese drain for an hour or more: it should be fairly firm.

    curd wrapped in cheesecloth in a colander

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

  10. Unwrap the queso fresco and refrigerate it for one hour before using.

    Easy Homemade Queso Fresco on a plate

    The Spruce / Ana Maria Stanciu

Tips

  • Rennet is available from home cheesemaking suppliers.
  • If your rennet is in a tablet form, crush one tablet and mix it into 2 tablespoons of water. Stir the water-rennet mixture into the warm milk.
  • Store queso fresco in covered food storage containers in the refrigerator. It is best used within a week but will keep for up to three weeks.

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