What Is Panela Cheese? How To Use It Effectively

Panela cheese is a kind of cheese that is popular in Mexico. It is one of the most popular cheeses that is used in traditional Mexican cuisine. Panela Cheese may be a simple cheese to most consumers, but to Mexicans, it is a portion of comfort food that has been making them smile for generations. To many Mexican people, this is more than just a piece of cheese – it’s a friend.

In this article, we will take a look at what Panela Cheese is and what makes it so popular with people from all over the world.

What Is Panela Cheese?

What Is Panela Cheese?

Panela cheese, also known as queso de panela, is a traditional Mexican cheese made from caramelized sugar. This sweet, caramel-colored cheese can be used in a variety of ways, but it’s most often eaten by itself or with fruit. You’ll find it at the top of many dishes in Mexican cuisine, including tacos and enchiladas.

It is made from raw milk that has been heated until it begins to caramelize. The milk must be boiled for several hours over low heat until it turns into a thick syrup. Once the syrup has cooled, it is placed into molds and allowed to set overnight. Then the curds are separated from the whey, pressed into blocks, and aged for several months before being sold commercially!

What Makes Panela Cheese Popular?

Panela cheese is a popular variety of white cheese native to Mexico. It is also known by other names like queso de canasta and Queso panela. This Mexican cheese has a mild and creamy taste that makes it ideal for snacking or incorporating into dishes. This cheese’s creamy and moist texture closely resembles the flavor and texture of fresh mozzarella cheese, but with a greater moisture level.

Panela cheese is popular in Mexico because it is a healthy alternative to other cheeses due to the fact that it contains less fat and more protein. Panela shreds well and tastes good when melted over pizza or as a topping on tacos. It can also be consumed as it is and is regularly used in Mexican bakeries.

5 Ways to Use Panela Cheese

If you’re looking for a way to elevate your meals with a touch of luxury, look no further than Panela Cheese.


panela cheese grilled

Panela Cheese is delicious on its own, but when grilled it becomes a whole new world of flavor.

The reason it is so popular with grillers and served at so many high-end restaurants is that it keeps its shape, and doesn’t melt, creating a crispy golden crust on the outside while staying soft and gooey on the inside. The result? A full-flavored, deliciously rich cheese that you can enjoy straight from the grill!

We recommend trying your hand at grilling with our Panela Cheese with Roasted Salsa (see recipe below) for a truly unique experience!


As a staple in Mexican Cuisine, panela cheese is often crumbled and enjoyed as a topping for huevos rancheros, tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and nopal salads, and even blended into soups. When used as a cooking ingredient, this cheese imparts a unique flavor to anything it comes in contact with. As a substitute for mozzarella in pizza or risotto, its unique fruity-nutty flavor of it enhances the taste of any dish it’s added to.


Baked panela cheese

Panela Cheese is made from 100% pure cow’s milk. The milk used to make Panela is known for its natural softness—and this combined with the softness of the cheese itself accounts for its particular flavor. But when you bake Panela, something magical happens. Unlike some other cheeses that melt into unrecognizable blobs of orange liquid when baked, Panela keeps its form—but softens just enough to be spreadable and just melty enough so you can spread it on tortilla chips or crackers.


A slide of tasty, aromatic, and melted Panela cheese usually is added whenever served on top of Mexican sandwiches. Traditional Cheese is enjoyed by many individuals in Mexico because it contains no preservatives or additives, unlike the modern ones found on local markets today.


Fried Panela cheese with olive oil makes this cheese so special. You can easily fry panela in olive oil or butter, and unlike other cheeses, panela will hold its shape after frying.  Try serving fried panela with a simple salad of arugula, tomatoes, and basil, or drizzle the hot cheese over pasta.

Panela Cheese Substitute

Though Queso Panel or Panela Cheese is wide-distributed, sometimes we don’t have it available. It’s important to note that there are many different substitutes for this cheese, including ricotta Salata or ricotta Fresca. The most popular substitute among Colombians is Panela Fresca (fresh panela), which has an even softer texture than its aged counterpart. However, both varieties are typically made using whole milk rather than skimmed or low-fat versions.

Save the list below that can help you in case finding Panela Cheese can be a challenge in your town.


In fact, paneer cheese can be used as a substitute for panela cheese in recipes! Paneer is made with milk and vinegar or lemon juice; the paneer must be boiled for at least 5 minutes to remove the acidity.

Paneer cheese can be used for frying and slow-cooking because of its high melting point. It’s especially popular in South America when served with grilled meats, like beef or pork. You can also use it as an ingredient in quesadillas or tacos—just make sure to cut it into small pieces so that they melt easily!


Queso panela is a cheese that has become increasingly popular as of late—but it’s not the only kind of cheese that can stand up to heat. Enter Halloumi, the ideal Queso panela replacement you can use in all your favorite recipes.

If you’re going to try out Halloumi in place of Panela cheese in your cooking, there are some subtle differences between the two that you’ll want to keep in mind. The biggest difference is the taste: It is somewhat sweeter than Halloumi, so certain sauces and spices may need to be adjusted for the new flavor.


You can substitute Ricotta when you’re making recipes that call for Panela. Both kinds of cheese are mild-flavored and crumbly— but Panela has less moisture in it than Ricotta does, which makes it slightly denser.

It’s used primarily as an ingredient in dishes and other food products, rather than as a stand-alone item. It’s most commonly used when crumbling on top of pizzas, salads, tacos, or any other dish where you’re looking for that little extra something to make your meal pop.

Cottage cheese

The soft, moist texture of Cottage cheese is a result of its curds. These are formed as the cheese curdles and stretches, giving it a creamy consistency that’s perfect for crumbling. This curds-and-whey mixture is an important part of being able to crumble Cottage cheese because it makes it easy to break into chunks and bits.

This means you can use Cottage cheese in place of Panela Cheese when you need something that crumbles easily, like in a dessert or a salad.

Queso Oaxaca

Queso Oaxaca is also a Mexican cow’s milk cheese that is the perfect substitute for Panela Cheese, especially if you are looking to stuff or grate it. Queso Oaxaca has a mild, buttery flavor and is a little salty. It has a very similar appearance to Panela cheese but has a stringy texture when melted.

Queso fresco

If you’ve ever been to an authentic Mexican restaurant, you may have heard of Queso fresco, or “fresh cheese.” It’s lighter than many traditional kinds of cheese and is best for crumbling or cubing on top of your favorite dishes.

Because Panela cheese is made from the milk of grass-fed cows that are raised in clean environments, the taste of it is similar to queso fresco but richer and more sophisticated.

Non-Aged Cotija

With the popularity of Mexican food on the rise, so is the demand for authentic ingredients. One such ingredient is Non-Aged Cotija cheese, which is not easy to find outside of Mexico and can be quite costly. Cotija is an excellent alternative to Panela Cheese that is both more affordable and easily accessible in the United States.


Panela Cheese and Mozzarella are often used interchangeably in recipes. However, they have different textures and tastes, so we would recommend using them in different ways.

If you’d like the cheese to melt into your dish—like when making pizza or lasagna—we recommend Mozzarella. If you’d prefer something with a firmer texture that won’t melt as much—like when making breaded chicken cutlets or fajitas—we recommend Panela Cheese.

Where Can I Find Panela Cheese?

Where Can I Find Panela Cheese?

Panela cheese can be found at most grocery stores and is usually sold in rectangular blocks approximately the size of a bar of soap. The number of slices you’ll need to make a sandwich depends on the size of your bread, but we recommend two slices for each sandwich. These slices should be about 1/4 inch thick.

Panela is so popular, so don’t be afraid to buy one of these whole cheeses from your nearest grocery store or Mexican restaurant.

It can also be purchased at excellent rates on the Internet.

Method To Make Homemade Panela Cheese!

Traditionally, to make cheese, the milk from cows is first pasteurized, then curdled with a natural live culture. The curds are separated and the whey drains off. Salt is added and the curds are piled up into bricks. When the whey is finally squeezed out, what’s left behind is Panela cheese–a delicacy Mexicans love to crumble atop their huevos rancheros.

Nutritional Benefits Of Panela Cheese

Panela cheese is a firm, crumbly cheese made from unpasteurized milk. It has a mild, fresh flavor and a soft, smooth texture that is often compared to mozzarella. Also known as queso panela, this cheese can act as a substitute for a variety of other cheeses in recipes.

Now, we take an in-depth look at the nutritional benefits of panela cheese, how it is made, and its uses in cooking.

Nutritional Ingredients

Panela Cheese is made with the finest ingredients to create the most luxurious cheese experience possible. The ingredients include mainly

  • Milk
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt

Made from cow’s milk mostly, Panela Cheese contains a lot of nutritional ingredients, like iron, phosphorus, zinc, protein, and vitamins A, B6, and B12. It is also low in cholesterol. It’s not exaggerated to say that it’s the healthiest cheese in the world.

Tips To Use For Vegetarians

For vegetarians: Grind the cheese until it becomes a paste, then add some chopped onion or chives if you like. You can use this as a spread for your sandwich or burger. Here are some suggestions on how to use it in vegetarians’ meals:

  1. Use it as a snack
  2. Add it to your favorite salad
  3. Use as a topping on pizza

Since it has a low lactose content, people with lactose intolerance can also utilize it.

How Long Does The Panela Cheese Last And How To Store

The only disadvantage of this type of cheese is that it doesn’t last long when refrigerated: if left unrefrigerated at room temperature for more than four days, panela will begin to turn brownish-gray in color and develop mold on its surface. This means that if you’re planning on using some for dinner tonight or tomorrow morning then make sure you keep them out until then—but don’t worry about having any leftovers as they’ll still taste fresh after being kept refrigerated for up to seven days!

11 Quick Facts About Panela

  • Ingredients: Made from pasteurized or Skimmed cow’s milk
  • The hometown of panela cheese: Mexico
  • The word “panela” means “ripe”
  • Family: Cottage cheese
  • Type: fresh firm, artisan
  • Rind: natural
  • Colour: white and turn to yellow when expired
  • Texture: creamy and crumbly, soft
  • Flavor: creamy, mild
  • Aroma: fresh, milky
  • Vegetarian: sure

Summing Up

Through this blog, you have an overview of “What Is Panela Cheese“. It is delicious and flavorful, which is the main reason why it’s so popular. According to the BBC, it was also introduced to China by some Spanish chefs during the Tang Dynasty. Today, it’s still common to find Panela slices of cheese sold in stores and to see them used in a variety of dishes. In the right hands, you could say that Mexican cheese has become something of a luxury.

Staff Writer At Saved By The Max

Jeremy was responsible for initial staffing and daily management of bar, kitchen, and service. Branding and all marketing activities were part of his responsibilities as well.

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