Cotija cheese is a Mexican, dry grating cheese made with cow's milk and is similar to Parmesan. In the U.S. you may find a fresher, softer version, similar to Feta but in Mexico this salty cheese is typically aged at least 100 days. Cotija is named after the Mexican city of Cotija, Michoacán.
The aged version is referred to as "anejo". This is not a cheese you would add to your cheese board but you would typically use it crumbled or grated over tacos, beans, soups or casseroles.
You can read more about Mexican cheese here in our Mexican cheese guide. Find a good substitute for cotija cheese below.
A good substitute would be Feta cheese which is also soft and salty. Trader Joe's makes a good lower-fat Feta which we like a lot.
For the aged cotija, substitute: Parmesan or Romano cheese. Chef Zarella Martinez says she prefers to replace this cheese with Ricotta Salata cheese. Don't confuse this with plain, grocery store ricotta cheese which is completely different.
Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Milk and Skim Milk, Sea Salt and Enzymes.
Don't buy cotija just for your Mexican meals. Think of all the ways you probably use Parmesan. Sometimes you might sprinkle some on top of a bowl of soup, mix it into a crunchy salad, and of course toss it into warm pasta. It's quite versatile. I love to sprinkle grated cotija on black beans, YUM!
Look for Cotija cheese in many well-stocked grocery stores as well as most Mexican markets. You can also purchase cotija online at Amazon.com:
El Mexicano Queso Cotija. If you live in an area with a good Mexican grocery store; buy your cotija there. In most cases it will be better than anything you find off your regular grocer's shelf.
Cotija is also available, ground. Los Altos Cotija Mexican Cheese is aged, salty, and sharp conveniently ground to a finer texture for use in soups, pastas and moles or as a topping to some of your favorite pizzas, pastas and more. Queso Cotija Molido is available at Amazon.com