11 Best Cheeses for Quesadilla
Popular with young and old alike, the quesadilla is can be found on snack tables and lunch menus across the country. It is quick and easy to make, inexpensive, and tasty. What more is there to love? However, quesadillas are more than just a simple flour tortilla and slab of cheese. With a little ingenuity, it can be elevated to new heights. The first and most important task is finding the best cheese for quesadilla.
When looking for the best cheese for quesadilla, the most important criteria are melt and flavor. The cheese should be the star, but other complementary ingredients such as sliced avocado, lime, hot sauce or sour cream might be incorporated. In the list below you will find listed our top choices for the best cheese for quesadillas.
A classic option for the best cheese for quesadillas, Mozzarella has a delicate flavor that goes perfectly in many salads and sandwiches. Lower in calories than Brie, and softer than the white Cheddar, Mozzarella is a good cheese for quesadillas because it melts well. This all-natural Mozzarella is crafted in Denmark, tastes amazing and does stretch.
Colby is an American semi-hard cheese with similar properties to it’s more popular cousin, cheddar; however, differences in the processes of making the two cheeses leave colby with a milder flavor and a softer texture than cheddar.
Adding tomato and avocado to a colby quesadilla will bring additional sweetness and richness. Colby is a reasonably priced best cheese for quesadilla.
9. Queso Oaxaca
At room temperature, this Mexican, semi-soft cheese has a texture much like string cheese, but when melted, Oaxaca takes on the kind of perfect gooey consistency required to be a best cheese for quesadilla.
Its mild, buttery flavor is popular with kids, but if you are looking for something with a more adult kick, it matches well with chicken or beef spiced up with jalapenos. Oaxaca is a little more reasonably priced than many cheeses on the list, and the texture is definitely worth the price.
Cheddar is the standard choice for many as a best cheese for quesadilla, and for good reason. It melts easily and brings a tangy flavor to any dish. Cheddar’s natural sharpness pairs well with the sweetness of caramelized onions, or if you are looking for something fruity, a crisp apple adds contrasting texture.
A good, medium cheddar gives plenty of flavor and isn’t very pricey; however, if you are looking for the kick of an extra sharp cheddar, expect to pay a little more.
More options: 10 Best Cheddar Cheeses for Every Dish
This non-traditional choice will bring a French twist to your quesadilla. Brie is known for its silky texture and buttery, slightly nutty flavor. The addition of thinly sliced granny smith apples will add a tang that contrasts beautifully with this best cheese for quesadilla. If you want something a little sweeter, fig jam is a classic pairing.
A French brie can be quite expensive, but an American brie made in the French style can work just as well without breaking the bank.
Related: 10 Best Brie Cheeses
6. Monterey Jack
Monterey Jack is a semi-hard, cow’s milk cheese that originated in the 1700’s by Franciscan Monks in Monterey, California. It melts easily and the mild, buttery flavor is lovely on its own or matches beautifully with green chilis. Top it with a tomatillo salsa.
Monterey Jack is pretty easy to find in most local marts, but it’s worth it to invest in a quality monterey jack to ensure the desired creamy texture.
5. Queso Chihuahua
Originating in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, the Queso Chihuahua (also known as queso menonita after the Mennonites who make it) is a soft cheese with a flavor similar to a mild cheddar. Queso Chihuahua is a best cheese for quesadilla because it melts easily and evenly. Toss the shredded Chihuahua with green onions and a dash of chili powder for a zesty treat.
This imported cheese will run for a bit more, price-wise, than the oaxaca, but it’s worth it.
You might also like: 10 Best Melting Cheeses
Provolone is a smoked, cow’s milk cheese from Southern Italy with a buttery, tangy flavor. Its soft texture makes for easy melting, and the addition of a little salami and giardiniera (pickled vegetables) can create a delicious, Italian quesadilla.
An imported Provolone will cost a bit more, but it comes with the unmistakable Italian taste it’s famous for.
This Spanish, semi-soft cheese might not be what you first think of for a quesadilla, but Manchego will bring a tangy, nutty flavor to the table and its melting ability makes it a best cheese for quesadilla. Adding more traditional Spanish ingredients like piquillo peppers and jamon serrano (Spanish ham) will make your Spanish quesadilla even more delicious.
Manchego is a little more expensive than some other options, but when you taste it, you will know why. There really is no substitute for a good Manchego.
Originated in Northern California, Teleme is a powerfully flavored soft cheese with a texture comparable to brie. Like brie, it melts into an amazing gooey quesadilla filling. Teleme packs a serious punch and pairs well with sweeter fruit flavors, so mango salsa will make a nice companion.
Teleme doesn’t run cheap, but its unique flavor makes it second to none.
For an elevated quesadilla, try Emmentaler, a cow’s milk Swiss cheese. It’s mild, nutty flavor and superior melting are why it is the standard cheese for fondue and makes emmentaler the perfect addition to your quesadilla. Earthy sauteed mushrooms pair nicely with this cheese, or you can stick with the traditional ham and swiss (only in quesadilla form).
Emmentaler is spendy, but there is no replacing the original Swiss cheese.
Quesadillas are much more versatile than you might have expected. With the right ingredients, they can be much more than a simple snack. There is a whole world of cheeses to explore, so let yourself be adventurous. Did we leave any of your favorites off the list? Let us know which is the best cheese for quesadillas in your opinion!