Jan 162012

Panela Cheese Appetizer

If you already are amazed by the large quantity of Costco products you will be speechless once you see the sizes of the cheeses, meat, and produce at their Business Center.
Well, I came back with a huge piece of panela cheese and I knew that we would not be able to finish the cheese before it started to turn bad, and decided to prepare it in a way that could be stored in a freezer…this was sure an experiment, but luckily it worked great.

First, I need to admit that I was a little nervous since I never froze this kind of cheese, so I prepared an extra batch just to be frozen. After a few days, I pan fried the panko crusted cheese and voila, I could not tell the difference from the freshly prepared ones, so I went ahead and prepared all the remaining cheese.

I like this cheese because it has a similar texture to paneer. Once you cook it, it holds its shapes, not like mozzarella which will, in this case, “leak” out of the crust. Moreover, you can serve it as an appetizer or as a main dish, paired with salad.


Panela Cheese
Panko + dry oregano to taste
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water
Oil for pan fry


Slice the panela cheese into approximately ½ inch thick and 2 ½ by 1 inch size rectangles. Coat with flour and dip into the egg mix. Then cover with panko mix. At this point, you can pan fry with a little oil, until the panko crust turns golden or freeze for future use.
Serve hot/warm.

To freeze the cheese, place the cheese coated with panko in a tray, single layer. After a couple of hours in the freezer, remove the frozen cheese from the tray and store in freezer bags.

I hope you enjoy this simple recipe using Panela cheese.

Curiosity Corner Jan 2013
Panela cheese or queso panela is used in many Mexican dishes. When fresh, it has a similar texture to mozzarella, but once cooked, it carries a very different texture, since it does not melt like mozzarella cheese.

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  71 Responses to “Panko Crusted Panela Cheese”

  1. i’ve never heard of panela cheese! love the idea of coating them in panko, yum! i didn’t know that cheeses could be frozen, that is a good tip for me to know. hope u have a fabulous week juliana 🙂

  2. Okay, I have to try this immediately! I love Costco and have never bought this type of cheese from there. And fried cheese is about my favorite thing in the world so this will have to be done soon! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I can almost hear that delicate crunch and taste the warm gooiness!

  4. I love cheese bu don’t know this apnea cheese. Maybe I’ll try this recipe with halummi cheese. So love Panko instead of the regular breadcrumbs.
    Thanks for your delicious suggestion.

  5. This crumbed cheese really looks amazing. Nothing like some gooey, cheesey deliciousness to get the tastebuds going.

  6. I NEED to figure out where I can find this cheese here! Those look SO good.

  7. This is a great idea to cook and eat lots of panela cheese. I might want to try this method with haluomi cheese.

  8. What a fabulous way to save the cheese from going bad! It sounds simply fantastic!

  9. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind of cheese before, but this recipe looks delicious!

  10. I would love a bite of that cheese! The panko crust sounds delicious too!

  11. OMG what a great idea….one to make in huge quantities and freeze to have when ever. I am not to familiar with cheese that don’t melt…must investigate. Have a great week too Julianna

  12. Looks fantastic, especially the picture of the bite! Great idea to freeze. I’ll have to look for this cheese, you are so right about the mozzarella melting out.
    Have a great week, Juliana!

  13. thank you for the explanation of what the cheese is! Did you know, you can freeze anything except lettuce 🙂

  14. I make something similar with paneer except i dip it in chickpea flour batter. This is something i wold love to try. Love cheese 🙂

  15. I never heard of panela! Is it like haloumi? Looks great!

  16. Juliana this a great appetizer! I love fried cheese. i don’t know what panela is but it sure looks tasty and appetizing!

  17. Yes, I would very much like a bite… or two… or three. I don’t shop big box stores because I don’t need great amounts – but that wouldn’t stop me from buying just the right amount and doing this for a warming treat.

  18. This would be fun to serve at a Super Bowl party.

  19. I don’t think I had panela cheese before. But any cheeses covered in bread crumbs then turned gooey, I can’t resist! Looks wonderful Juliana.
    Have a nice day.

  20. I’ve never seen panela cheese before but what a wonderful recipe! I would like a bite 🙂

    I read once that vacuum sealing any kind of cheese in a Food Saver system bag (where the machine draws out all the air) keeps cheese fresh for a very long time.

  21. Looks great. I’ve never tasted panella cheese before but it sounds delicious prepared this way 🙂

  22. Oh – this is similar to paneer cheese, then. ^^ It looks so delicious and your blog is so cute!

  23. I love using panko bread crumbs.. but never have I thought of using them on panela cheese before. Yes, this looks absolutely amazing

  24. fun party food new cheese to me 🙂 love learning about new foods

  25. i hvnt come across these cheese but it looks incredible to me! frying with bread crumbs sounds like a delicious idea!

  26. So creamy inside that it can be mistaken for ice-cream! 😀

  27. What a great recipe Juliana! I think I will try it with Polish white cheese or the paneer I made yesterday 🙂

  28. Looks yummy to me.

  29. Oooh Juliana, I’ve heard of this cheese as it’s popular in the Latin areas but I’ve not had a chance to make it. Hearing that you fry cheese sounds like it will all melt, but in fact it looks temptingly delicious! Now I will definitely be trying it!!

  30. Doesn’t it make you feel good when you have an idea, tried it out and it worked? Glad your frozen cheese was a success. Your photos are beautiful and love your captions.

  31. Ooh, boy…cheese with a breading??? Who could resist this fabulous combo? And double bonus that they freeze…but I think there wouldn’t be any left to freeze 🙂

  32. Wow this looks delicious! What a great idea to do with your cheese.

  33. I love panko, just cooked salmon with a panko topping for dinner. This cheese with the panko looks superb! I will have to try it.

  34. Costco’s mega sizes do give one a fright at times. LOL But hey, makes for good sharing opportunities with friends and family. 😉

  35. I LOVE panzanella! Yum!

  36. I have never eaten this type of cheese before, but it sure does look delicious.

  37. This looks so darn delicious with the oozing cheese filling.

  38. it looks so similar to paneer in texture… love that addition of oregano, must have spruced up the already delecious crust. looks delectable!

  39. Mmm come to mama! The cheese would be so good with the crunchy panko crust! 😀

  40. Oh you are tempting me with your cheese, I have eaten fried goat’s cheese before and that was good! Bet this is delicious too!

  41. I mentioned it today on Twitter and Facebook 🙂

  42. Mouthwatering and you’re genius to come up with this creation!

  43. Oh Yum! What a perfect appetizer or snack!

  44. Wow, love breaded cheese, I use Mozzarella, never tried Panela before, great tip!

  45. Wow, although it’s the first time I’ve heard of panela, it sure looks delicious with that melting goodness wrapped in breadcrumbs.

  46. What an original recipe! It looks gorgeous and must taste heavenly. Soft cheese coated in panko… I would probably devour a dozen of these.

  47. Oh, nomnomnom!!! That looks really scrumptious and addictive.



  48. What a simple recipe! It certainly looks like it would take much more effort, so kudos on fooling me. 😉

  49. Hi Juliana,
    I ,too, belong to Costco, and buy many of their cheeses—the prices are so good. I’ve never purchased the Panela–but I will now, and try your special panko coating for frying and freezing the cheese. Thanks for the great idea!

  50. This really sounds and looks delicious. I have been enslaved by Costco and the other warehouse stores. I can’t resist buying quantities I know I can’t use and we end up with some very strange meals as a result. :-).I hope you have a great evening. Blessings…Mary

  51. Panela cheese will be put on my to try list for sure…I’m now curious ;o)

    BTW…if you would like to re-try the mozzarella version…I suggest you repeat the coatings procedure twice in order for the cheese not to ooze out. It works quite well 😉

    I’ll also try the panko as the coating next time. Great make-ahead recipe.
    Thanks Juliana.

    Ciao for now,

  52. Juliana, you had me at cheese stick! These look positively delightful and I love that you can freeze them. Definitely an added bonus!

  53. Your recipe has been featured as Article of The Week on my blog (just a thumb and link to your post). I hope you don’t mind 🙂


    Have a wonderful weekend Juliana!

  54. This is perfect Super Bowl food! I’ve bookmarked this one.

  55. Wow! This really looks like a good alternative to mozzarella cheese. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  56. I don’t go to COSTCO – cause I would buy too much other stuff, I didn’t need. What is Panela cheese similar to? Looks like a good way to prepare it, nice job.

  57. ooh girl! you just did me a huge disservice! I stopped eating cheese and now I’m going to have to break that commitment. I looove this! Hope you’ve been well!

  58. you’ve taken already-awesome cheese and made it even more awesome, juliana! well done!

  59. Ooooh…I just love Costco! I used to tell my friends it’s a good place to hang out 😀 Seriously, I just enjoy looking at all the stuff there and also trying out the food samples. Costco here is not that big compared to many other places, like yours, but good enough for me. But yes, they sell things in big bulk which sometimes put me off from buying. I am not a good cheese eater so this is really new to me. Not sure whether they have this cheese here. I always buy goat cheese from there. I love it with rice…saltish and full of flavour. Strange way of eating it huh…haha. I know some people don’t like the goaty smell but I have acquired the taste. The next time I go, I must try to see if they sell this panela cheese. Thanks very much for sharing. Hope you have great day.

  60. I shop at Costco religiously. 🙂
    That cheese looks divine!!
    Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  61. I would love a bite, Juliana. I just know I would LOVE this and what a GREAT idea. Frozen mozzarella does have a tendency to “leak” I’ve tried everything! The notion of having bite size pieces of delectable cheese in the freezer is quite pleasing especially since today is National Cheese Day!!!

    Thanks for sharing…

  62. Oops how embarassing. I was thinking you were talking about Paneer all the way until the point you said “similar texture to paneer”. Then I realized you are talking about cheese callled panela. I have never tried before so I’m really curious. I will remember this dish when I find Panela in supermarket!

  63. My husband would love this!! He likes to do the same to feta cheese (but he uses normal breadcrumbs). I like it too but I just can’t eat too much of it.

  64. I love all types of cheese as they are, but I will admit that some varieties get even better when you skillet fry them. Looks so good!

  65. I love cheese, and I love crunchy panko crumbs! This sounds wonderful! And what a great way to preserve the cheese!

  66. Nice job saving the cheese! It looks delicious.

  67. I don’t believe that I have ever heard of this type of cheese before, but I haven’t met a cheese that I haven’t loved 🙂 Nice job Juliana, have a great week ahead!

  68. Dear Julianna,

    This recipe looks delicious and what’s getting me is that melty looking cheese.

  69. What a perfect and fun appetizer these would make… totally delicious ! A great cheese as you noted to hold up here…lovely 🙂

  70. I just spotted this and quickly printed this out! My husband is crazy about these deep fried cheese puffs you buy; now I can make him someting so much tastier and healthier; Thank you so Much.