co·​ti·​ja kō-ˈtē-hä How to pronounce cotija (audio)
variants or cotija cheese
: a hard, white, crumbly Mexican cheese made from cow's milk
Another Mexican-style cheese that's great for summer meals is cotija. Firm, white, and salty, it crumbles readily and is a grand alternative to parmesan in salads or sprinkled over vegetables.Jerry Anne Di Vecchio
… filled with a tangle of beans, Mexican sausage, crumbly cotija cheese and lettuce …Miriam Morgan

Examples of cotija in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Queso fresco and cotija cheese The FDA is warning people not to eat dairy products including queso fresco and cotija cheese that were manufactured by Rizo López Foods, a food supplier in Modesto, California. Rob Wile, NBC News, 12 Mar. 2024 What is Tha Corn Man? Campbell made his name as Tha Corn Man with elotes, Mexican street corn – topped with mayo, cotija cheese, chili powder, and cilantro – and served on the cob or in cups. The Indianapolis Star, 22 Jan. 2024 The announcement comes just one month after Trader Joe’s and other grocers pulled products containing cotija cheese made by Rizo-López Foods in response to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration recall of dairy items that were possibly contaminated with listeria. Karen Garcia, Los Angeles Times, 4 Mar. 2024 Last month, Trader Joe's recalled a frozen pilaf mix earlier this and a group of its products that contain cotija cheese and could have listeria contamination. Ayana Archie, NPR, 4 Mar. 2024 Trader Joe’s is recalling a number of food items that contain cotija cheese for potential listeria contamination. Elizabeth Robinson, NBC News, 9 Feb. 2024 Trader Joe's of Monrovia, California, is recalling all lots of these products sold nationwide containing cotija cheese supplied by Rizo-López Foods. USA TODAY, 8 Feb. 2024 The grocery chain Trader Joe’s has also recalled certain products containing cotija cheese produced by Rizo-López Foods. Daphne Lee, Verywell Health, 8 Feb. 2024 That same day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also issued a food safety alert that officially linked an ongoing listeria outbreak (which the organization began investigating back in 2017) to cheese samples from Rizo-López Foods—specifically its queso fresco and cotija. Jenna Ryu, SELF, 7 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cotija.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Spanish (queso) Cotija, after Cotija, municipality in Michoacán, Mexico

First Known Use

1975, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cotija was in 1975

Dictionary Entries Near cotija

Cite this Entry

“Cotija.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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