Queso Panela, also called queso canasta or queso de la canasta (basket cheese), is a Mexican cottage cheese made from pasteurised cow’s milk. This white, fresh and smooth cheese is similar to Indian paneer.
Panela has a soft and creamy texture and a delicious fresh milk flavour. When heated it will soften but not melt or lose its shape. Also, the cheese absorbs flavours easily and at times is sold covered with garlic or pepper paste. It will turn a golden brown when seared as well as crumble easily on appetizers such as quesadillas.
Panela tastes excellent on its own as a fried cheese but is served most often as part of appetizer dishes such as nopal salads or quesadillas.