Updated on January 3, 2023 by Camille Georgia Uy.
One of the classic items you will find in the supermarket during the holidays is a red ball of cheese. Edam cheese or queso de bola as it’s locally known is a semi-hard cheese that is wrapped in a layer of red wax or paraffin. It ages well and the more aged the cheese is, the harder it becomes and the most intense the flavor becomes.
Queso de bola aged just right is actually a creamy cheese with notes of nuttiness with salty bursts. It is commonly eaten as is but you can do more than just eat it with grapes or dried fruit and nuts on a cheeseboard.
Here are ideas on how you can use queso de bola for more than just eating:
1 Use it as a substitute for Parmesan cheese.
There are many ways to use Parmesan cheese. It’s in many recipes, either as an ingredient — like in this chicken alfredo pasta recipe or this Banapple chicken parmigiano recipe hack — or as a topping that’s sprinkled at the end, like this baked parmesan chicken recipe. Take advantage of these recipes and substitute the Parmesan with queso de bola instead. For best results, freshly grate or shave off slivers of queso de bola as needed.
2 Make Queso de Bola crisps!
Did you know you can make queso de bola cheese crisps at home? They’re super easy to make!
You only need 1 ingredient: queso de bola.
Here’s how to make easy queso de bola crisps:
- Grate queso de bola. It’s best if you can grate enough to make at least 1 cup.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C. Lightly grease a baking sheet with oil or use a silicone mat on a baking sheet. Set aside.
- Place about 1 tablespoon freshly grated queso de bola on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the cheese slightly to create a perfect circle that’s not too flat but not too mounded either. (The cheese will melt so make it thick enough to give you a bite) Allow about 1-inch space between each flattened cheese mound. Repeat with the remaining cheese until the sheet is full.
- Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and bubbles. Cool slightly before removing from the sheet. Repeat as needed until all the cheese is baked.
You can even add herbs to the cheese such as rosemary, thyme, or even oregano. Use about 1/2 teaspoon per cup of cheese or you can even add a touch of a spice like crushed coriander seeds or even garlic powder to the cheese, too.
3 Make or add it into a dip.
There are two ways to make a cheese dip: make a totally cheesy one or add other ingredients to the mix.
Queso de bola isn’t like mozzarella that will produce stringy cheese when melted. Instead, it’s a cheese that will melt if you use enough milk. That’s why it makes a fantastic cheese dip and if made thick enough and irresistible enough, you can serve it super thick and creamy with toasted crusts of bread as an appetizer or snack.
4 Make or add to a cheese sauce.
The best way to add queso de bola to a recipe is to make a cheese sauce. This cheese sauce can be added to the entire dish such as in a mac and cheese pasta recipe or it can be used as a topping like a cheese sauce you might use when making baked salmon ala Conti’s, or this delicious baked salmon in pesto cream sauce recipe.
5 Eat it as is with crackers.
Why not eat it as is? In fact, eating it with crackers is the best way to truly enjoy the flavors of the cheese, especially if you love cheese in general. Pair it with neutral saltine crackers or the more flavorful and saltier milky round crackers.