Panela is a moist and fresh, mild, and very mellow, cheese. Its texture is very firm and it can be cut into thick slices, broken into smaller pieces easily, or grated for antojos (snacks). In Mexico, this cheese is often used by cooks who want low-fat or healthier options. That doesn’t mean it isn’t irresistible!
Panela is used in sandwiches, tortas, and quesadillas, just to name some. It is a star of every salad it is added on to and it’s fabulous for grilling because it doesn’t melt or string with the heat; instead, it develops a lovely crust.
One of my favorite ways to use panela is to grill it and cover it with either salsa verde or salsa roja. It used to be impossible to find Panela cheese in the US. So it used to be one of the first things I craved each time I travel to Mexico. Fortunately, it is now available in the United States thanks to FUD. The possibilities of Panela cheese in the kitchen are truly endless.
10comments inPanela Cheese
How do you store panela cheese after you have opened the package but do not use it all
Wrap it tightly in plastic film, keep it in one of those tight seal plastic baggies or in a container with a lid in the fridge. Eat it soon because it doesn’t last long, maybe 5 days tops. Good luck Rose Marie!
I would like to see you do a show on the different kinds of Mexican cheeses. I only know how to use queso fresco. I heat up corn tortillas and slice the queso fresco adding salsa to the ‘taco’ and eat it alone or with menudo. I recently bought some Oaxaca cheese that I discovered is string cheese. But I have never used Panela or the other hard Mexican ones.
Oh I love cheese. I have lots of information on different Mexican cheeses here: https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/category/ingredients/cheeses-and-milk-products/ And check out episode 12 of Season 6…it is all about cheese 🙂 : https://patijinich.com/pati_2020/show/patis-mexican-table-season-6/
Do you have a panela cheese recipe? Is it possible for me to make at home? Would I even want to or is it too difficult for home cooks?
Thanks so much,
Sincerely sheila henkin
Sheila I recommend that you buy it…there are some great panela cheeses you can purchase.
Hi Pati! Thank you so much for sharing – I tried this on my grill pan and it was a big hit 🙂 You can’t go wrong with warm cheese when it’s cold outside!
Words to live by!
Eres una diva en la cocina! I just love your book!
I’m trying to move my family away from the queso “frijolero” as they call it because it’s rather high in salt but it’s soooo good on frijoles frescos de la olla. Do you think this will be a good substitute or is it too moist and mild?
Thanks a bunch and keep up the excellent work,
It is a good substitute if you’re looking for a healthier option!