Grocery stores are a jungle of items. Imagine walking around the whole store for a Cotija cheese, how exhausting and annoying will that be?
Which is why knowing precisely where to find cotija cheese in grocery stores is imperative.
You can find cotija cheese in the dairy section at many grocery stores. However, you may need to look for it in a specialty aisle since it isn’t as common as other cheeses.
If you don’t see it in your local store, try checking out the international section or ethnic foods aisle. If you still can’t find it there, ask an employee in the store where they keep their cotija cheese.
What Is Cotija Cheese?
Cotija cheese is a firm, salty, crumbly cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a dry and crumbly texture and a white color, with small holes throughout.
Cotija comes also comes in different shapes and sizes. It can be crumbly or more solid, depending on how long it’s been aged. The longer it ages, the stronger its taste will be.
The flavor is very similar to Parmesan cheese, with tanginess.
It has a mild nutty flavor and melts when cooked. You can grate it over salads or use it as an ingredient in sauces for pasta dishes or tacos (like this recipe).
You can also use cotija in place of parmesan on top of baked potatoes!
However, it’s often used as an ingredient in recipes like guacamole or topping for salads and tacos.
Among other things, it’s traditionally made from cow’s milk and aged for one to three months. The name “cotija” comes from Coahuila, Mexico, where it was first made.
And the best way to enjoy cotija is to eat it straight out of the bag (or on its own). But if you must pair this cheese with something else, try it with crackers or tortilla chips as an appetizer!
Where To Find Cotija Cheese In Grocery Stores
The best place to find cotija cheese in a grocery store is in the dairy section.
You can also find cotija cheese at specialty stores, such as gourmet or ethnic markets.
Some grocery stores sell it in their deli department, and others stock it in the cheese section next to other hard cheeses such as parmesan, romano, and pecorino.
The cheese can also be ordered online through Amazon or other online retailers.
The cheese can also be ordered online from other stores and supermarkets like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Kroger, Whole Foods Market, or other retailers.
What Are Cotija Cheese Substitutes?
Supposing the grocery store is out of cotija cheese for some reason, what are some alternatives you can use, or do you prefer going home empty-handed?
The best way to replace cotija is with another hard cheese like parmesan or romano. Both of these cheeses have a similar taste and texture to cotija.
If you’re looking for something more exotic, try using Pecorino Romano instead!
It has a similar flavor but has a much sharper bite than parmesan or romano because it’s aged for longer periods; however, it’s not as long as cotija, making it easier to find in most grocery stores.
In addition, you can try Monterey Jack, Queso fresco, or Feta.
Monterey jack is another popular Mexican cheese with a similar taste to cotija but less saltiness. Monterey jack melts when heated up in the microwave or on top of nachos (or even over the popcorn).
On the other hand, Queso fresco has a similar flavor profile as cotija. Still, it’s softer and fluffier than cotija, so you’ll need to adjust your recipe if you want to replace cotija with queso fresco.
For example, if you’re making tacos, then queso fresco will work well since all the ingredients in tacos are already soft and flaky anyway.
But if you’re making something like salsa, I recommend sticking with cotija or any of the above substitutes.
And lastly, Feta is another salty white cheese commonly used as a substitute for cotija. However, Feta has a much milder flavor than cotija, which won’t give your dish as much punch of flavor.
How To Store Cotija Cheese
If you like the taste of cotija, but don’t want to buy it in large quantities because of its short shelf life, try freezing it!
1) Wrap the entire block of cotija tightly in plastic wrap and then place it into a freezer bag or container with an airtight seal.
This will help prevent any freezer burn while keeping your cheese fresh for six months (if kept at 0°F).
2) If you’re using a container with an airtight seal, remove as much air as possible before sealing it closed so no moisture gets trapped inside when freezing occurs.
Otherwise, mold could start growing inside, which can be harmful if consumed later on down the road when thawing occurs again.
Frequently Asked Question
What Cheese Is Most Similar To Cotija?
The most similar cheese to cotija is queso fresco. They are both white cheeses with a crumbly texture, but queso fresco has a more tangy flavor and a higher salt content. Cotija tastes more like parmesan but with a sharper flavor.
Is Cotija A Good Melting Cheese?
Cotija cheese is not a good melting cheese because it’s crumbly and firm rather than soft and spreadable. The texture makes it difficult to melt without crumbling or breaking apart into chunks.
However, its firm texture makes it ideal for sprinkling and crumbling as a finishing flourish on tacos, posole, nachos, or enchiladas.
Is Cotija Heart Healthy?
Aside from being high in calcium, cotija has some beneficial properties that make it heart-healthy.
However, cotija cheese has a lot of sodium and saturated fat, contributing to heart disease when eaten excessively.
Does Cotija Cheese Contain Lactose?
Yes, cotija cheese contains a higher amount of lactose.
And Lactose intolerance can cause bloating, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, or flatulence when you eat foods with high levels of lactose like cotija cheese.
In conclusion, despite its popularity as a table cheese, many U.S. residents may not be familiar with Cotija Cheese, let alone know how to find it where they live.
It is commonly used in recipes that call for feta cheese or Parmesan cheese, so if you use either of those in your cooking, you might consider searching for Cotija Cheese in your grocery store, in the dairy aisle.
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