Follow this step-by-step recipe to make queso fresco

Some things are just better when they're made from scratch—and making something with your own two hands provides such satisfaction. When you cook from scratch, you know exactly what ingredients go into your meals, and it offers you the flexibility to adjust your recipe for dietary or taste preferences.

Did you know that you can make homemade cheese with just three ingredients? I am kicking myself for not attempting this sooner, and now I want to try out other cheeses to make at home.

I made this queso with the intention of sprinkling it on some tacos (refried bean recipe coming in the future!), but you could spread it on toast, put it on eggs, add it to a saladyou name it.


  • 4 L whole milk
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup fresh juice from about five lemons or lime, or white vinegar
  • Kosher salt


  • Cheese cloth

queso fresco in a cheese clothChristine McAvoyINSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a pot large enough to hold all the liquids, pour in milk and begin to warm over low-medium heat, stirring constantly. The key here is to gradually heat the milk to a boil and not burn it on the bottom of the pot.
  2. When it’s at a pre-boil/gradual simmer stage (approximately 15 to 20 minutes), pour in the acid of choice (I used lemon juice) and stir. You will see the milk separating and curds starting to form.
  3. When this process has begun, remove from heat, cover and let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Line a colander with the cheese cloth and pour the mixture through both.
  5. You can discard the whey (the liquid) or save it as there are several uses for it, including making other cheese.
  6. Carefully, as the curds will still be warm, squeeze the cheesecloth to help drain more of the liquid out.
  7. You can twist the curds in the cloth and place some weight on top to help this along—the longer you let the cheese drain, the firmer it will be in the end.
  8. Once it’s drained, place the curds in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  9. Find a container with a tight-fitting lid and pack in the cheese to help mold it to desired shape. Place in the refrigerator to chill. It should last for about a week (if you don’t eat it all with a spoon right away!).