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Jan 31, 2010 04:38 PM

can I use Mexican queso fresco in place of paneer?

The Mexican grocery store down the street from me sells great fresh cheese. It reminds me a lot of paneer. We make curries that I would love to add paneer to, but I don't have a good source for paneer and only rarely do I want to take the time to make it fresh.

So, how would queso fresco do in place of paneer? Would it stay solid (not melt) like authentic paneer?


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  1. Paneer is a more solid cheese that can be heated at higher temps without melting, queso fresco is crumbly and won't stay solid once you cut it. Flavor wise, it might work but I'd suggest something like Queso Blanco that would hold it's shape when heated.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      thanks! can you tell me more about queso blanco? Is this a fresh cheese also? The store I mentioned has 3 or 4 fresh cheeses in its case, so I'm wondering if that is one of them. I'll ask next time I'm there. Thanks!!!

      1. re: agate

        Queso Blanco is a semi soft fresh cheese, similar in flavor to something like mozzarella or Monterrey Jack.

        Another cheese to consider is Manchego, a firmer cheese, which has a mild, slightly nutty flavor and can be cut into cubes like paneer. There may be others at the shop which might work for you as well, ask the person behind the counter to explain them to you. Hope this helps

    2. Queso fresco would be much too soft. But homemeade paneer is often soft, too. You can make stuff like saag paneer by making the saag and crumbling paneer on top, or tie the paneer in a cheesecloth, put a weight on it, and then strain. I know this isn't what you asked in the query, but may I humbly suggest that you try to make your own paneer for use in curries? It is so easy. Just slowly boil milk (say 1/2 gallon) and as it starts to boil stir in 1.5 tbs or so of either lemon juice or vinegar. Strain this, and oila, you have soft paneer. You can do the weight thing I mentioned above, then cut it into slices.