5 Awesome Cotija Cheese Substitutes

Gone to make one of your favorite recipes but found that you’ve run out of cotija cheese in your kitchen pantry? We’ve all been in that annoying situation. But don’t give up on your recipe just yet! 

5 Awesome Cotija Cheese Substitutes

As it turns out, there are actually a number of very suitable alternatives that you can turn to in place of cotija cheese (see also ‘12 Substitutes For Gruyère Cheese‘)! But what are they?

What can you use in those emergency situations when you run out of cotija cheese and quickly need something just as good? 

Read on below to get started, and find out some of the best alternatives to cotija cheese that you can buy right now!

Feta Cheese

1. Feta Cheese

Because cotija cheese is so well known for its crumbly texture, you are going to want a cheese that has a very similar texture.

Luckily, thanks to feta cheese, you can do just that. Feta cheese is very similar to cotija cheese thanks to its crumbly consistency. 

As well as this, feta cheese also has a slight saltiness to it that is similar to cotija cheese.

If both flavor and texture are important to you, then feta cheese is the perfect alternative to cotija cheese for you!

Parmesan Cheese

2. Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese also similarly has a very crumbly texture that makes it easy to add to countless dishes or to grate over some of your favorite recipes.

Of course, you should be wary of the fact that parmesan cheese (see also ‘5 Amazing Substitutes for Grana Padano Cheese‘) has a slightly nutty flavor, which can slightly alter the final taste of any dish you use it with! 


3. Romano

Romano cheese is a great alternative if you need cheese that tastes very similar to cotija cheese. Romano cheese is known for having a slightly salty taste with extra creamy hints and plenty of hidden flavor depths. 

Romano is one of our favorite cotija substitutes because of its unique sense of flavor, but also because it does have a slightly crumbly texture, though not to quite the same extreme as cotija cheese.

Ricotta Salata

4. Ricotta Salata

Though this cheese does not taste exactly the same as cotija cheese, it does have a comparable texture that you will adore. The cheese is rather firm, which makes it delightful to eat.

The flavor of ricotta Salata (see also ‘5 Substitutes For Ricotta Cheese‘) is a little more nutty and milky than some other cheeses on this list, so you can really create some interesting flavor combinations by adding it to your recipes.

The nuttiness helps to give dishes a great earthy texture that can be very interesting!


5. Anejo

This is another aged cheese, this time derived from goat milk. However, it is possible to find cow’s milk alternatives (see also ‘6 Milk Alternatives‘) with a similar texture and taste. 

The cheese is also lightly coated in paprika (see also ‘12 Best Paprika Substitutes‘), which helps to give it a slightly fiery and salty kick, so it can really add some variety to some of your recipes.

However, you should use it sparingly if you want to use it as a direct replacement.

Anejo is also a very crumbly cheese, which makes it perfect as far as texture is concerned. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Flavor Of Cotija Cheese?

Cotija cheese is very well known for having a salty taste that makes it easy to add to other dishes for a little bit of extra flavor.

Can I Use Queso Fresco Instead Of Cotija?

Definitely. You can easily use queso fresco in place of cotija cheese, as the two taste incredibly similar, and have similar textures. However, queso fresco is slightly milder, so you may want to use a little bit more!

What Cheese Do Most Mexican Restaurants Use?

Most Mexican restaurants actually use cotija and queso fresco cheeses thanks to their flavors and textures! 

5 Awesome Cotija Cheese Substitutes

5 Awesome Cotija Cheese Substitutes

Recipe by Jenna

Cotija cheese is one of Mexico’s most popular cheeses, but if you ever find yourself running out of it, there are a few substitutes you can use instead!

Course: Substitutes
5 from 1 vote


  • Feta Cheese

  • Parmesan Cheese

  • Romano

  • Ricotta Salata

  • Anejo


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

Follow Me
Latest posts by Jenna (see all)