What Cheese to Use for Enchiladas: The Ultimate Guide

Do you love enchiladas as much as I do? If so, then let’s talk about the all-important ingredient that makes them taste heavenly – cheese! In this blog article, I’ll be answering some commonly asked questions regarding what kind of cheese to use for enchiladas and how to prepare it. Plus, I’ll also provide tips for making the perfect enchiladas that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

What Cheese to Use for Enchiladas

Choosing the right cheese for your enchiladas is crucial to achieving the perfect balance of flavors and textures. Here are some tips that will help you pick the ideal type of cheese:

Traditional cheese options

  • Queso fresco: This is a crumbly, fresh cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a tangy flavor and mild saltiness that makes it ideal for sprinkling on top of enchiladas.
  • Cotija: This is another crumbly white cheese made from cow’s milk but with a more pungent flavor than queso fresco. Cotija is commonly used as a filling in enchiladas.
  • Oaxaca: Also known as string or Mexican melting cheese, Oaxaca has a milky flavor and stretchy texture when melted that makes it ideal for topping off enchiladas.

Non-traditional cheese options

  • Cheddar: Though not traditional, cheddar can work well in enchiladas as its sharpness pairs nicely with spicy sauces.
  • Monterey Jack: This is a semi-hard creamy white American cheese that melts easily without separating making it an excellent choice for melted applications such as enchilada fillings.

The Best Melting Cheeses For Enchiladas

Semisoft or soft cheeses like Chihuahua, panela (resembles tofu), quesadilla also melt well, adding creaminess or tanginess

Combining Different Cheeses For Unique Flavors

For complex flavors, use different types of cheese instead of just one. Pair any two or three cheeses from the list above and experiment with unique flavor profiles.

  • For Spicy: Oaxaca + Cotija
  • For Smoky: Cheddar + Queso Fresco li>
  • For Tangy: Cotija + Panela

The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to get creative!

How to Prepare Cheese for Enchiladas

When it comes to preparing cheese for enchiladas, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. In this section, we will dive into some key points that will help you make the perfect cheese-filled enchiladas!

Shredding vs. Grating Cheese

One of the main questions people have is whether they should shred or grate their cheese when making enchiladas. Both options work great, but it ultimately depends on personal preference and what type of cheese you’re using. – **Shredded Cheese: ** Shredded cheese melts more evenly and is perfect for creating those signature gooey strings that everyone loves in their enchiladas. You can use any type of cheese that melts well, such as cheddar or Monterey Jack. – **Grated Cheese: ** Grated cheese, on the other hand, adds a nice texture and flavor to your enchiladas without overpowering them with too much melted cheese. This option works best if you’re using a hard or crumbly cheese like cotija or queso fresco.

Adding Cheese to Enchiladas

Whether you choose shredded or grated cheese, there are a few things to keep in mind when adding it to your enchiladas: – Don’t overstuff your tortillas with too much cheese; otherwise, they may burst open while baking. – Add a small amount of sauce (such as red or green salsa) on top of the shredded/grated cheese so that it binds together and doesn’t dry out while baking. – Consider mixing your shredded/grated cheeses together in a bowl before filling your tortillas for additional flavor and texture.

Preparing Cheese for Toppings

Finally, let’s talk about how to prepare your cheeses for toppings: – If you’re using shredded cheese, you can sprinkle it on top of your enchiladas before baking. It will melt evenly and create a nice cheesy crust. – If you’re using grated cheese, however, it may not melt as well and could burn in the oven. Instead, try sprinkling it on top of your enchiladas after they’ve finished cooking to add a nice crunch to the dish. Now that you know how to prepare cheese for enchiladas – shred or grate, add just enough inside the tortilla plus sauce and have some toppings ready- go ahead and give it a try!

Tips for Making the Perfect Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a classic Mexican dish that can be customized in many ways. Here are some tips to help you make the perfect enchiladas:

Other Ingredients to Consider:

  • Cheese: Cheese is essential for most enchilada recipes as it adds flavor and helps keep the tortilla filling together.
  • Protein: Chicken, beef, pork, or tofu are excellent choices of protein for enchiladas.
  • Sauce: The sauce is crucial in getting just the right taste. You can either buy your favorite sauce or make your own from scratch.
  • Veggies: Chopped veggies like onions, bell peppers, and zucchini will add extra nutrition to your enchiladas.

Cooking Techniques for Enchiladas:

  • The tortillas need to be softened before adding fillings. The easiest way is by heating them on a dry skillet or microwave. After that fill them while they’re still soft and then roll tightly – this will help prevent any spillage while baking.
  • If you like crispy edges, brush a little bit of oil onto the tortillas before wrapping them up.
  • Baking time depends on what kind of filling you used and how thick it is. Generally speaking, 20-30 minutes at 350°F (180°C) should suffice-and cheese melts perfectly within this temperature range!

Tips For Presentation:

  • Add garnishes like diced tomatoes or parsley on top of your enchiladas once they’ve come out of the oven because not only does this add color but also make it look more appealing visually!
  • If you’re serving enchiladas for a party, consider making both green sauce and red sauce. This way, guests can choose which they like best and the variation of color on plates will be more visually appealing.
  • If you’re taking them to potluck or hosting friends over enchiladas, make sure to bring extra cheese and tortillas so guests can make their own little wraps if they want something smaller.
So there you have it – some tips to help you create delicious homemade enchiladas that are sure to impress all your friends and family!


In conclusion, by following these tips and suggestions on cheese selection and preparation, you can take your homemade enchilada game to a whole new level. Get ready for your friends and family to ask you how you made such delicious enchiladas!


Can I use any type of cheese for enchiladas?

While there is no strict rule on which type of cheese to use, certain cheeses like cheddar or Monterey Jack work better than others.

Should I grate my own cheese or buy pre-grated?

Grating fresh cheese is always best because it melts easier compared to pre-grated cheese with added ingredients.

Can I make enchiladas ahead of time?

Yes! You can assemble them ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to bake. Just add a few extra minutes in the oven if they are cold.

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