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Queso Panela (Mexican Basket Cheese)

Queso Panela is a white, fresh, and smooth soft Mexican type cheese made with raw milk. Not only is it delicious, it’s easy to make at home!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Panela
Servings 1 lb.
Author Sheryl


  • 1 gallon raw milk
  • 1/4 tsp extra strength rennet
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1 tsp sea salt or more, to taste


  • Grab a heavy bottom pot, and pour your [raw] milk inside. Turn the stovetop on low/medium and carefully heat to 95F. Watch your milk at this stage to prevent scorching.
  • Once the heat has reached 95F, turn off the stove. Add 1/4 tsp extra strength rennet to 1/4 C. of water in a cup and stir well.
  • Once that is distributed, carefully pour into your milk on the stove. Stir for a period of 30 seconds, making sure to distribute that rennet evenly.
  • Allow that milk/rennet mixture to sit for 30-40 minutes, undisturbed. After that time, you’ll notice that the curd has floated to the top few inches — use a serrated knife to slice a checkerboard pattern. Take care to extend that knife all the way to the bottom of the curd.
  • Let the curd sit for 10 minutes to rest.
  • Ladle the curds into a colander lined with a cheesecloth; lightly salt, taking care to mix the salt in as the whey drains out.
  • Tie the cheesecloth into a tight ball and onto a kitchen cabinet knob - allow that whey to drain for 1-2 hours. Keep the whey for other recipes.
  • Once the whey has drained out, unwrap the cheese and store covered in plastic wrap. Cheese will keep for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.