The best cheese for tacos is a queso fresco or cotija that’s been lovingly crumbled atop freshly grilled meat nestled in a nice, warm corn tortilla. But that’s not what we’re talking about today. No, we’re talking about the best shredded Mexican blend cheese, those multicolored shreds you sprinkle atop seasoned ground beef nestled in a crunchy yellow shell on taco night at home, somewhere in the Midwest.
I shamelessly love this style of taco (crunchy taco shells are just folded tostadas; get over it). According to my site bio, it’s one of, like, three things about me. But, honestly, my husband and I have them for dinner at least once a week, and that means we always have taco cheese in the fridge. So I was even more invested than usual in finding the best shredded Mexican blend at the grocery store.
In case you scanned the first paragraph too quickly, I’ll repeat: For this taste test, I didn’t taste individual Mexican taco cheeses—no cotija, no queso fresco, no queso quesadilla on its own. This was strictly a taste test of Mexican blends, which typically involve some combination of queso quesadilla, asadero, Monterey Jack, and/or cheddar. To my mind, the key to a good Mexican blend is creaminess. A shredded Mexican blend should obviously melt well (you’re going to be using this for quesadillas too, I imagine), but also, in terms of flavor, it shouldn’t be too sharp. If you want sharpness, just buy cheddar. A Mexican blend should be a creamy counterpart to the spicy, salty beef (or beef substitute) atop which it’s melting. We can discuss the finer points of taco styles another day, but for now, let’s taco ‘bout the best shredded Mexican blends at the grocery store.
- Velveeta Mexican Style Blend
If your idea of the best shredded Mexican blend is something that’s going to melt extremely well, Velveeta Shreds might be the way to go. I was very torn about putting a Velveeta product on this list. For one thing, it isn’t even cheese, it’s a “shredded pasteurized prepared cheese product.” Second, they don’t even specify on the bag which Mexican cheeses the shreds are attempting to emulate. My colleague Jordan Myrick (a Velveeta apologist) talked me through my misgivings. They told me to imagine Velveeta Shreds sprinkled atop a crock of spicy, homemade chili. Or maybe smoky, cumin-laced sloppy joes. This is going to melt all up in that. When Jordan is right, Jordan is right! Velveeta gets a shout out.
Credit: Merc / Walmart
- Field Roast Chao Creamery Plant-Based Shreds Mexican Style Blend
For vegan cheese, these Chao plant-based shreds taste very delicious and, honestly, much better than Daiya’s Mexican shreds. The cheese has a pleasant, almost vegetal flavor, but it’s been spiced up with some sort of peppery spice, kind of like a taco seasoning. These do get a little grainy in your mouth if you eat them cold, but served on seasoned veggie crumbles in a crunchy corn shell, they’re going to make vegan taco night pretty memorable.
Credit: Merc / Vons
- Great Value Taco Blend
Lately, when I’ve made cheese quesadillas at home, I’ve added a sprinkle of McCormick taco seasoning to make the whole thing a little more flavorful (I use low-carb tortillas because I have body image issues and, frankly, they don’t taste like much). Anyway, if you think that sounds like a swell idea, Walmart has just the thing: a shredded Mexican blend that comes pre-spiced with taco seasoning. It’s a little goofy, yes. But does it taste good? Also yes. It may not be the best cheese for tacos, but it’s the best cheese if you want other foods to taste like tacos.
Credit: Merc / Walmart
- Tillamook Mexican 4 Cheese Farmstyle Thick Cut
“This feels like a flex to me,” Jordan said of this thick-cut shredded cheese from Tillamook. Basically, this is the shredded Mexican cheese to have around if people you want to impress stop by. It’s a beautiful and balanced blend of cheddar, Monterey Jack, queso quesadilla, and asadero cheeses, cut into thick ribbons that, honestly, probably aren’t great for tacos, but offer incredible coverage for nachos and quesadillas. It really does look, feel, and taste like freshly shredded cheese, and that alone makes it one of the best shredded Mexican blends we tried. (This wasn’t the first time a thick-cut Tillamook shredded cheese impressed us. Their mozzarella took the number one spot in our best mozzarella for pizza ranking.)
Credit: Merc / Target
- Trader Joe’s Fancy Shredded Mexican Style Cheese Blend
I don’t usually buy shredded cheese at Trader Joe’s because it’s never on sale (it’s almost always on sale at my other local grocery store), but I might make an exception for this cheese going forward. This is sharper than other Mexican blends—it’s a little more cheddar forward—but it works. It still has nuance and plenty of creaminess and tang to differentiate it from a straight-up shredded ched. Sargento’s Mexican blend was similarly cheddary, but TJ’s edged it out. If you like a sharp taco cheese, go with this.
- Kraft Mexican Style Four Cheese Blend
Kraft makes a damn creamy shredded Mexican blend and we love that. This mix of Monterey Jack, cheddar, asadero, and queso quesadilla cheeses comes in incredibly fine shreds that melt beautifully (and instantly), even if your taco is warm rather than piping hot. It’s mild, but it has a salty tang that settles on the sides of your tongue. My guess is that queso quesadilla is the predominant cheese in this mix, and it works beautifully. I didn’t necessarily expect to get excited about a Kraft cheese, but this is the best shredded Mexican blend we tried.
Credit: Merc / Walmart
Best Not Cheese
Best Thick Cut
Best of the Best
Other products we tried: Sargento 4 Cheese Mexican, Great Value Fiesta Blend, Organic Valley Three Cheese Mexican, Sprouts Market Corner Mexican Blend, Daiya Mexican 4 Cheese, Borden 4 Cheese Mexican