Think: Cheese atop crackers, a dreamy pizza with melted cheese, a piping hot bowl of mac n cheese, a heavenly ham and cheese sandwich, and the list goes on. Cheese is the one ingredient which is used worldwide and is loved by over half the world’s population. A turophile is a person who loves cheese. It is known that some ancient Roman houses had a special kitchen called careale only for making cheese! Cheese can be made with the milk from cow, sheep, goat or buffalo. Did you know that in the 16th century, cheese was known to have been used as a currency in Denmark? The United States is in fact, the largest producer of cheese now and there are about 2000 varieties available all over the world.
Cheese is a tasty treat that is incredibly versatile. There are so many different cheeses to choose from, and so many different ways to enjoy them.
There are hundreds of different cheese varieties across the globe. Traditionally made from cow’s milk, cheese can be made from the milk of other mammals, too. There are different types of milk used for making cheese.
Sheep and goat cheeses are very popular, but you can also find cheese made from the milk of buffalo, camels, reindeer, and even yaks.
Cheese can also be differentiated by its hardness, from soft to hard cheeses and even fresh cheeses that are usually softer and have shorter shelf lives.
Learn about different categories of cheese and then check out some of the most popular types of cheese below.
In my opinion, you can never go wrong with cheese. Cheese adds so much flavor to any dish and it comes in many different forms. Depending on the type, you can enjoy it melted, shredded, cubed, and, of course, whole. Let’s explore these delicious ways to use cheese.
Besides being extremely tasty, cheese is a good source of high-quality protein and contributes other essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A to the U.S. diet. For those with lactose intolerance, you can still enjoy cheese by consuming small amounts of aged, hard cheeses such as Parmesan, Cheddar, and Swiss. These types of cheese contain minimal lactose, which may help minimize gastrointestinal discomfort and still allow for the consumption of important dairy nutrients.
For vegetarians and those consuming a plant-based diet, cheese and other dairy foods can be an important source of high-quality protein. Consuming adequate amounts of dairy foods such as cheese can help to meet nutrient needs which are essential for our overall health.
Check out these 3 easy ways to use cheese in your kitchen.
When a recipe calls for cheddar cheese, does it matter which type you use?
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But a few things first: The word “cheddar” comes from the cheese-making term “cheddaring,” which refers to a process of stacking loose curds to expel moisture. In general, cheddar (and any cheese) gets sharper—more concentrated and pungent in flavor—the longer it ages. Mild and medium cheddars are younger (aged just weeks or a few months), while sharp and extra-sharp varieties are aged longer (up to several years).
Does Color Matter?
In a blind taste test, our team couldn’t taste a difference between white and yellow cheddars, so use whichever strikes your fancy.
What’s the Difference Between Sharp and Extra-Sharp?
Generally, extra-sharp cheddars are aged longer, but there isn’t a standard across brands for distinguishing between degrees of sharpness, so we found the names to be mostly arbitrary.
In our kitchen tests, sharp and extra-sharp cheddars behaved similarly in recipes, so they can be used interchangeably.
Can I Use Mild and Sharp Cheddars Interchangeably in Recipes?
Mild cheddar melts more smoothly than sharper (older) cheddars, so swapping a sharper cheese in a recipe that calls for mild could result in a greasy, curdled mess. Mild cheddar has a noticeably milder flavor (shocking, I know), so if you have to use it in a recipe that calls for sharp, you might want to also add a more aged cheese such as Parmesan or Pecorino to make up for some missing funk.
Is Preshredded Cheddar OK?
While we always prefer to use hand-shredded cheese (as preshredded has a coating that can dry out the cheese and affect its texture), shredded is OK to use in a pinch. Especially in recipes like this Vidalia Onion Pie, where the creamy custard base helps smooth out any of the cheese’s shortcomings, the textural impact will hardly be noticeable.
Vidalia Onion PieA buttery-rich Ritz Cracker crust both elevates and simplifies this onion-laden pie.
Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring cheddar cheese. Start a free trial to access them, plus all of our other rigorously tested, reliable recipes and reviews.
Here at Taste of Home, there’s nothing we love more than a melty, gooey, cheesy recipe. That’s why we found the best ways to cook with nearly every type of cheese. From gouda to goat and Parmesan to provolone, these are our favorite dishes.
Taste of Home
If your favorite dish has a creamy texture and mild, tart flavor, goat cheese may be at work. This soft cheese is made from—you guessed it—goat’s milk and brings a light taste to salads, vegetables, pasta and more.
Get all of our favorite goat cheese recipes here.
Cheddar is probably the most common cheese in an American kitchen. It has a distinct flavor that ranges in sharpness—all the way from mild to extra-sharp. Use cheddar in macaroni and cheese, soups, dips, appetizers and casseroles, or enjoy on its own with a sleeve of crackers.
Check out all of our favorite cheddar recipes here.
Brie is one of those foods that people either love or hate. We love it, especially baked, melted between strands of pasta or incorporated into soup. Brie’s soft, ooey-gooey consistency is paired with a rich, pungent flavor.
Behold! More of our best brie recipes.
Known for its iconic holes, Swiss cheese is a mild cheese that tastes just as good melted in a casserole as it does cold on a sandwich. Try Swiss with ham, corned beef or pastrami.
See our super Swiss recipes here.
More Monterey Jack recipes here.
Colby is cheddar’s milder cousin. The bright orange cheese comes in a variety of shapes, including the traditional longhorn. And, it can be used synonymously with cheddar in casseroles, nachos, frittatas and more.
Go crazy for Colby with these recipes.
A member of the Swiss family, Gruyere cheese has a powerful, nutty flavor. A small amount goes a long way in boosting stratas, soups, mac and cheese, quiche and more.
Get our greatest gruyere recipes here.
This sweet cheese is known for its texture. Mascarpone is the crowning jewel of cannoli, tiramisu, cheesecake and more. The cheese’s light, delicate flavor pairs perfectly with an assortment of sweet treats.
More mascarpone recipes here.
Gouda may look unassuming, but this lightly colored cheese packs a powerful punch. It’s the perfect pair for apples, pumpkin and other harvest ingredients, but tastes delicious year-round.
Get all of our gouda recipes here.
Blue cheese is one of the most identifiable cheeses on the market thanks to its blue hue, pungent scent and powerful flavor. It’s a common ingredient in buffalo chicken dishes, on salads or in pastas.
Find our favorite blue cheese recipes here.
With a distinct taste and colorful rind, muenster is the perfect cheese for adding a pop of flavor to your dishes. We love it in quiche, bread, soups and on sandwiches.
More must-try muenster recipes.
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Ahh, a mainstay in the U.S. You’ll see it at the deli counter or pre-packaged in plastic. It is more processed than other cheeses and is sometimes made with a combination of cheddar and Colby jack. American cheese has unmatched meltability, is super creamy, and is perfect on a burger.
Asiago cheese is an Italian cow’s milk cheese that comes in two forms: pressed or ripened. Ripened asiago is a saltier, harder, more aged cheese that’s similar to parmesan. Pressed is a fresh, mild, semi-soft cheese. Put it on your meat and cheese board with some apples or smother tortellini in it.
Blue cheese is known for its moldy pockets of blue color. It includes French roquefort, English stilton, Italian gorgonzola, and Spanish cabrales. It’s almost always made with cow’s milk.
Blue cheese is creamy and soft, sometimes spreadable, and has a funky, intense flavor that most people either love or hate. Use it to make blue cheese dressing, top a steak, or mix in potato salad.
This soft, spreadable cow’s milk cheese is made with extra cream to give it a silky texture. Serve at room temperature with some crusty bread and fruit jam.
Burrata is a semi-soft white cheese made from mozzarella stuffed with cream. From the outside, it looks just like mozz, but slice into it and a cottage cheese-like interior is revealed.
It’s great smeared on a slice of bread or in salads. “Burrata and caviar is a great pairing, even though on paper may seem slightly unorthodox,” Pristine said. You should also try it in this peach caprese salad.
Camembert, from France, is similar in shape and texture to brie, but has a more intense, earthy flavor. It isn’t as runny or spreadable, but still pairs nicely with jam.
This cow’s milk cheese originally comes from England and varies in texture and flavor. Cheddar made in the traditional way is crumbly, sharp, and nutty. American cheddar cheese is creamy, melty, and mild. Cheddars also range in color, from white to a deep, buttery yellow. It’s a classic choice for topping a burger or potato dishes.
This cow’s milk cheese is mild and hard. Originally from Italy, fontina is now also made in Denmark, Sweden, and the U.S. Young fontina cheese is creamy, perfect for French onion soup or a panini. More aged selections have a harder, crumbly texture that works well as a finishing cheese.
Gouda is a cow’s milk semi-hard to hard cheese that originates in the Netherlands. The flavor ranges based on how long it has been aged, with younger goudas tasting creamy and mild, and more aged goudas having a sharpness to them.
“A grated two- to four-year-aged gouda is awesome to add to different pasta dishes,” Pristine said. Try it in this three-cheese spaghetti recipe.
Muenster is most recognizable by its orange exterior that comes from a vegetable coloring added during the cheesemaking process. The flavor is mild and creamy and the texture is soft. Try it melted on a burger or in mac and cheese.
Mozzarella is an Italian cheese made from buffalo’s milk. A special curd is melted and stretched in hot water to form a ball shape. The flavor is creamy and mild, and the texture pulls apart like string cheese. Use in a caprese salad or on pizza.
Paneer is a fresh cheese made from cow’s or buffalo’s milk that hails from the Indian subcontinent. It doesn’t melt, so it does well in curries and on the grill. The texture is spongy, so it absorbs a lot of the flavors it is cooked in. Try it in sag paneer.
Food & Culture Editor
Felicia LaLomia is the Food & Culture Editor for Delish. When she isn’t covering food news or writing features about delicious trends in the culinary world, she’s searching for her next perfect bite.
This iconic orange-hued cheese is made from a blend of cheeses (including cheddar and other similar cheeses, like colby) plus milk byproducts, which allow it to melt without separating or turning greasy the way traditional cheeses might. It’s the ideal cheeseburger topping!
This cow’s milk Italian cheese comes in two types: pressed or ripened. Pressed asiago is a fresh, semi-soft cheese that is sweet and nutty with a creamy texture; ripened asiago is salted and aged, which means it’s more like a parmesan. You can’t go wrong either way!
The secret ingredient to this pungent cheese? It’s actually mold! A strain of mold called penicillium is injected into cheese made with cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk before aging. Blue cheese has a sharp, salty flavor with sweet undertones and it comes in many varieties: Roquefort is a French blue cheese made from sheep’s milk; gorgonzola is an Italian variety; and Stilton is an English blue cheese.
Typically made with cow’s milk, brie is known for its soft, edible rind and smooth, creamy interior. Cream is added during the production process, which contributes to brie’s rich, runny texture. The cheese is beloved for its buttery flavor with a bit of earthiness.
There are many similarities between camembert and brie, but these two French cheeses are not quite the same. Camembert is sold as a smaller wheel, measuring around 5 inches in diameter, and it is richer and more intense in flavor than brie. It has big buttery, mushroom notes, and though very rich, it’s less creamy and runny than brie.
SHOP CUTTING BOARDS
Considered the most popular cheese in the country, cheddar is a cow’s milk cheese that was first produced in England. Like most cheeses, young cheddars are mild and creamy; aged cheddars are more crumbly and complex in flavor. What makes cheddar so interesting, however, is how the cheese is made: Once the curds are separated from the whey, the curds go through a “cheddaring” process, where they are broken up to expel air and liquid before being stacked and pressed together to age. Fun fact: Cheese curds are just young cheddar that hasn’t aged at all.
There’s nothing quite like this cow’s milk cheese, which comes from the Mexican state of Michoacan. Cotija has a strong tangy flavor with a rich milky texture. It has unique physical properties: It doesn’t melt and has an adhesive quality, making it the perfect topping for the classic dish elote (Mexican street corn). Cotija is also delicious crumbled or grated over salads, enchiladas, soups and tacos.
Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese made from cow’s milk. Once the curds and whey are separated, the curds are drained—but not pressed—and packaged as cottage cheese. As they sit, the remaining whey collects, which is what gives cottage cheese its soupy appearance and texture. Farmer’s cheese is simply pressed cottage cheese, meaning that it has the same mild, milky flavor, but with a denser, less “wet” texture.
This classic bagel spread was the brainchild of a New York state dairyman in the 1870s, who used a combination of milk and cream for his cheese-making process. Once the whey was drained off, the resulting curds were stabilized and pureed, resulting in the smooth, creamy and slightly sweet fresh cheese that became an American icon. Boursin is essentially a French cream cheese flavored with herbs and spices.
This semi-hard Dutch cheese is made using sweet curds from part-skim milk, meaning no acid is used so that the natural sweetness of the milk comes through. It’s sealed in edam’s signature red or black wax and has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor along with a smooth, soft texture. Babybels are a French version of edam cheese.
SHOP CHEESE KNIVES
A soft Greek cheese made traditionally from sheep’s milk, feta can also be made using goat or cow’s milk. This salty, briny cheese is known for its rich, creamy texture that will soften when heated, but won’t melt.
Traditional Fontina cheese is from the northwest of Italy. However, other countries like Denmark, Sweden and the United States have started to make their own fontinas from cow’s milk. Like other cheeses, younger fontinas are sweeter and more mild in flavor with a smoother texture—perfect for grilled cheese and casseroles. Older fontinas are drier and more crumbly, and they’re delicious grated or shaved over a variety of dishes, including salads, risottos, pastas and soups.
Goat cheese is just that—cheese made from goat’s milk. It is generally softer than cheese made from cow’s milk and far more tangy, due to the presence of fatty acids that give goat cheese its unique flavor.
One of the oldest cheeses on record, this Dutch classic dates back as far as 1184. It is a semi-hard cheese typically made from cow’s milk and is known for its springy texture and rich, caramelized flavor. Younger goudas make for a pleasant table cheese; older goudas will be more crystallized looking, and tend to have a deep, nutty, buttery flavor.
Grana Padano is Italy’s most produced cheese—nearly 24% of the country’s cow’s milk production is reserved for this household staple. It’s made with part-skim milk and matures faster than Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is made with a mixture of part-skim and whole milk and takes a minimum of 12 months to mature. Grana Padano is packed with flavor and is a great grating cheese—it’s also naturally lactose-free, thanks to its production process.
SHOP CHEESE GRATERS
A true Swiss cheese, gruyère is a firm cow’s milk cheese named after the town where it was originally made. It’s a favorite table cheese, perfect for any cheese board, but it’s also beloved for its melting properties. Gruyère is the gold standard when preparing fondue and it is also the cheese used to make French Onion Soup and croque monsieur.
If you’ve ever wanted to actually grill cheese, pick up some halloumi on your next grocery store run. A Cypriot cheese made traditionally from goat and/or sheep’s milk, halloumi is similar to mozzarella in texture (squeaky and bouncy!), though it’s tangier and saltier in flavor. It can be eaten raw, but halloumi is most often reserved for cooking or grilling, as its exterior browns and crisps up nicely while holding in a soft, melted interior.
This Danish cheese is the result of a female cheese-maker’s quest in the mid-1800s to make an ultra-creamy, semi-firm cheese. Featuring a smooth and creamy yet mild flavor, havarti is often sold seasoned with other herbs and spices, like dill and caraway seeds.
Spain’s most popular cheese, manchego is made from sheep’s milk in the La Mancha region, just south of Madrid. This is not a cheese that melts well, so it’s often served as tapas alongside bread, olives and Serrano ham or paired with a sweet quince paste known as membrillo.
Essentially an Italian version of cream cheese, mascarpone is best known for holding all the layers together in tiramisu. It has nearly twice the butterfat of standard cream cheese, which means it basically melts in your mouth. Though slightly sweet in flavor, mascarpone can be used in savory dishes as well as sweet, similar to the versatility of cream cheese.
SHOP MEASURING SPOONS
When it comes to ingredients, the name “macaroni and cheese” is pretty self-explanatory. However, while the macaroni pasta is obviously a huge part of the recipe, nothing is more important than the cheese. From cheddar to Monterey Jack, the using the best cheeses in mac and cheese is what makes this decadent dish so legendary. That being said, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites so that you can get cooking and cure your craving!
Cheddar is perhaps one of the most widely loved and known cheeses in the country. Nutrition Advance says cheddar is a medium-hard cheese made from cow’s milk, and its origins date back to at least the 12th century. When it comes to color, this beloved cheese can vary between a pale yellow to a bright orange, and its taste can depend heavily on how long it has been aged. That being said, there is also a big difference between sharp cheddar and regular cheddar.
Sharp cheddar is best for cooking since it has a more pungent and strong flavor, whereas more mild varieties might get lost after being melted or mixed with other ingredients. When it comes to making the perfect batch of mac and cheese, cheddar is a key player that results in a creamy and rich dish that never gets old. While cheddar is a great base cheese for a variety of dishes, this staple can also be topped with other cheeses for a more dynamic flavor profile.
If you want to put a rich and upscale twist on your basic mac and cheese recipe, gruyère is the way to go. Gruyère has wonderful melting ability, making it a popular option in recipes like fondue and French onion soup. Though this cheese is very high in fat (that’s part of what makes it so creamy and decadent), VeryWellFit says gruyère is a wonderful source of calcium and can take a simple recipe to the next level with very little effort.
Looking for something extra vibrant and flavorful? Goat cheese is a pungent cheese that can add a tangy twist to your traditional mac and cheese. What’s Cooking America says goat milk is much lower in fat and cholesterol when compared to milk from cows, and it is far easier to digest. If you have an intolerance to lactose, goat cheese can be a wonderful substitute that still provides a dairy flavor that is hard to find with nut-based, vegan cheeses.
Goat cheese is typically very white and creamy, and when it is cold, it can be crumbled over a salad or soup for extra flavor. That being said, goat cheese is easy to melt into dishes like mac and cheese. Even if you don’t want to make a mac and cheese that is made purely out of goat cheese, it can be a tangy addition to your traditional recipe and pairs well with other cheeses like parmesan, gruyère, and gouda.
Parmesan is a distinct and vivacious cheese that is typically sprinkled over pizza, salad, or pasta for added flavor. Authentic parmesan is a hard cheese from Italy that also has a distinct scent. The process of making parmesan dates back more than 1,000 years, says Healthline. This hard cheese is one of the most widely known and loved varieties. While it is not typically used in large doses in most dishes, it is the perfect enhancer thanks to its strong flavor.
When making a tasty mac and cheese with parmesan, use other cheeses such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or gruyère, as the base. You can then mix in parmesan with the rest of the cheese, as well as sprinkle it on top for a crumbly texture. If you plan on baking your mac and cheese, sprinkle a decent top layer for a slight crunch from the crisped parmesan.
Cream cheese is the ultimate ingredient when it comes to making your mac and cheese as creamy and silky as possible. Cream cheese can be used for far more than your typical morning bagel. From ice cream to pasta sauce, this rich and decadent cheese can enhance even the most basic of dishes by bringing out the flavor and improving the texture. For the most part, cream cheese is made from cow’s milk, though you can also find goat milk-based cream cheese and even vegan cream cheese at most grocery stores.
Though it may seem surprising given the name, Self finds that cream cheese is actually low in lactose compared to a glass of milk, making it easier for those with an intolerance to indulge. When it comes to making your mac and cheese, you can break cream cheese into chunks before mixing it with the rest of your noodles and cheese. While you don’t have to, baking your mac and cheese allows for the cream cheese to melt perfectly.
Ready to hear why Gouda is so great? According to Live Eat Learn, Gouda cheese is a dynamic and complex cheese that can differ immensely in taste and texture depending on how long the cheese has aged. For example, young Gouda cheeses are much more mild and soft, and there is a sweetness in the aftertaste. Older gouda has a much more potent, strong, and savory flavor.
This Dutch cheese is most often made from cow milk, though you can find sheep or goat varieties that might be easier to digest for some people who have an intolerance to lactose. When using Gouda in mac and cheese, it is best to stick with a younger selection to keep things simple and avoid overpowering the dish. On top of that, aged gouda is much drier and loses moisture as it ages, meaning a young varietal will provide a much creamier texture for your mac and cheese.
Brie is perhaps one of the most decadent and beloved soft cheeses known to man (at least, we think so). Brie is recognized by its soft center and hard outer rind. Even when it is enjoyed cold, brie maintains a very creamy texture that makes it spreadable on bread, fruit, and more. That being said, melted brie is out of this world. Between the buttery flavor and the gooey texture, warm brie is an absolute must for cheese lovers.
Though some people prefer to avoid the rind, Love to Know says brie rind is totally edible. However, when making mac and cheese, the rind can cause some disruption due to the hard and chewy texture. So, try to avoid the rind in your recipe. When it comes to taste, brie tends to be milder, and there are sweet undertones that will expand the flavor profile of a traditional mac and cheese. It is a game changer when it comes to trying something different.
Originating from California, Monterey Jack cheese is incredibly meltable, making it a popular option for nachos, mac and cheese, and more. This cheese can be semi-soft or dry from the aging process, but the high-moisture varieties work best when making a creamy and melted dish like mac and cheese. This cow’s milk cheese has a pretty mild flavor, which makes it a solid foundational cheese that can easily be built upon with more pungent and strong varieties.
Monterey Jack often comes shredded, and in addition to mac and cheese, it can be used in soups, casseroles, and even grilled cheeses. When it comes to pairing your Monterey Jack, everything from cheddar to mozzarella can work, making it pretty versatile. If you want to add a little kick to your mac and cheese, go with a pepper jack cheese, and enjoy some extra spice.
Fontina cheese is a rich and creamy variety that is known to have a slightly nutty aftertaste. Kids Are Great Cooks says this cheese was first made north of Italy in the Aosta Valley, and it is definitely one of the stronger cheeses out there. It can be recognized by its pale yellow coloring and semi-soft texture. Though some people prefer to slice Fontina while it is cold and put it on a sandwich or a cheese board, it is most decadent when it is baked.
This cheese melts pretty easily, and it’s a great resource for adding a unique flavor punch to your mac and cheese. Since it is very buttery, Fontina enhances the creamy and milky undertones of this beloved pasta dish. Fontina is made from cow’s milk, and it pairs nicely with other cheeses like gruyère, provolone, and Gouda for smooth mac and cheese. Though it might not be the most common cheese, it is a great option to have on deck in the fridge.
Similar to Monterey Jack, Colby cheese is a great option when it comes to making a creamy and somewhat sweet mac and cheese. Kids are Great Cooks says Colby cheese is on the sweeter side, though it is considered to be pretty mild in flavor overall. It often is sold cubed and is used as an appetizer on a cheese board or with other meats like salami and turkey.
Though it is delicious served cold, Colby is also a great melting cheese as it has a pretty soft and creamy texture. Since it has a bright, orange color, Colby cheese can also be confused for cheddar. However, it is less tangy than cheddar, making this a great option for a mac and cheese recipe that is meant to be subtle. If you plan on enhancing your dish with other ingredients like meat or pungent veggies, Colby cheese can be used to balance out the dish.
Most Popular Types of Cheese
Mozzarella is another classic Italian cheese, and it’s highly popular as a pizza topping.
This cheese is traditionally made in southern Italy from Italian buffalo’s milk. Fresh mozzarella tends to be white in color, but can vary depending on the animal’s diet.
Because of its high moisture content, fresh mozzarella is traditionally served the day after it’s been made. Some low moisture mozzarella is sold in stores and can be kept for up to 6 months. Mozzarella is also a great addition to various salads.
Brie is perhaps one of the most loved white mold cheeses produced across the world. This cheese originates from France, and is made using cow’s milk.
Brie is named after the French region where it originated from. Unlike many other kinds of cheese, you can actually eat the rind of your brie.
Swiss cheese is a kind of cheese that was first produced in Switzerland.
It has a pale yellow hue, a mild, nutty flavor, and a distinctive appearance with holes or “eyes” throughout the cheese.
Swiss cheese is frequently combined with meats and other savory elements and used in sandwiches, fondue, and other meals.
Another famous Italian cheese, gorgonzola is a creamy, blue-veined cheese made from whole unpasteurized cow’s milk.
It originates from a small town near Milan, and is now made by more than 80 producers worldwide, including in America.
Gorgonzola cheese is injected with a sharp, spicy greenish-blue mold which helps to create a flavor contrast to the creaminess of the cheese.
Hands down one of the most popular cheeses to use in a variety of recipes, cheddar cheese originates from Cheddar, England.
The little village of Cheddar in Somerset is close to some deep caves, which the cheesemakers found perfect for maturing the cheese.
Cheddar is now enjoyed across the world, and can vary in flavor depending on various factors including milk origin and type of rennet used.
One of the most popular hard cheeses around the world is parmesan.
The original parmesan is known as Parmigiano Reggiano, and originated in Italy.
Parmesan is made from cow’s milk and tends to be sold at varying stages of the maturation process. It can take anything between 14 months up to 2 years to create the perfect parmesan cheese.
Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese created from cow’s milk curds. It has a moderate, slightly acidic flavor and a creamy, slightly gritty texture.
As a snack, cottage cheese is frequently consumed alone or combined with fruit. It is also frequently used in dishes as a low-fat alternative to ricotta or other creamy cheeses.
Cottage cheese is a good source of calcium and protein as well.
Goat cheese, sometimes referred to as chèvre, is a kind of cheese manufactured from goat’s milk. It has a delicate, crumbly texture and a distinctly acidic, somewhat sour flavor.
Goat cheese comes in a variety of shapes, including crumbled cheese, aged cheese with a harder structure, and soft, fresh cheese logs.
Salads, sandwiches, pasta, and pizza are all common recipes that use goat cheese. Its acidic flavor makes it a versatile element in the kitchen because it goes well with both savory and sweet dishes.
A sort of processed cheese known as “American cheese” is created by combining cheese, milk, and other additives such emulsifiers and stabilizers.
It frequently appears in sandwiches, hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and other foods that call for melted cheese because of its mild flavor and smooth, creamy texture.
American cheese is a major ingredient in many fast-food restaurants and is frequently available in grocery store pre-packaged slices. Due to its highly processed nature and additives, it is a contentious cheese.
The semi-hard cheese known as gouda first appeared in the Netherlands. It has a smooth, creamy texture and a nutty, somewhat sweet flavor and an orange rind.
Gouda is frequently aged for varied lengths of time, which can change how it tastes and feels.
It goes well with fruits, nuts, and wine and is a popular cheese for sandwiches, cooking, and snacking. Moreover, it is a good source of protein and calcium.
Feta cheese is a soft, crumbly cheese that originated in Greece. It is made from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk, and has a salty, tangy flavor.
Feta cheese is commonly used in Greek cuisine, and is a popular ingredient in salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. It can also be served on its own with olives and other accompaniments.
Feta cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, and is lower in fat and calories than many other types of cheese.
Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses are combined to create Colby Jack cheese, a semi-hard cheese.
This cow’s milk cheese has a mild flavor and a smooth, creamy texture with a Colby cheese-induced undertone that is slightly sweet.
In sandwiches, burgers, and other foods that call for melted cheese, Colby Jack cheese is frequently utilized. It also goes great with wine, fruit, and crackers.
How is cheese made?
In order to make cheese, milk is curdled with an acid or enzyme, such as rennet, resulting in the separation of the milk into curds and whey.
The surplus moisture is subsequently removed by heating, cutting, and draining the curds. The curds may be squeezed, shaped, salted, and aged depending on the type of cheese to develop its flavor and texture.
Many cheeses with distinctive flavors and qualities can be produced using various milk kinds, cultures, and aging processes.
What is pasta filata?
Pasta filata is a technique used in cheesemaking to create stretchy cheese.
The curds are heated and stretched, which aligns the proteins and creates the cheese’s distinctive texture. Examples of pasta filata cheeses include mozzarella, provolone, and string cheese.
These cheeses are often used in Italian cuisine, particularly in pizzas and other dishes where melted cheese is desired. Pasta filata cheeses are also a popular snack and are available in a variety of forms and flavors.
What are cheese curds?
Cheese curds are little, fresh cheese cubes created from milk that has curdled. They have a rubbery, squeaky texture and a moderate, slightly acidic flavor.
Cheese curds are sometimes served deep-fried or covered in gravy. They can be added as a garnish to salads, pizza, and other cuisines. They are also a crucial component of various varieties of poutine.
Use it in a delicious grilled cheese recipe.
You can’t go wrong with a grilled cheese sandwich. But if you want to upgrade your traditional grilled cheese recipe, I recommend using Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese has a milder flavor, and it melts well, making it perfect for sandwiches.
Are you lactose-intolerant? Remember, lactose-free cheese comes in a variety of brands. Next time you go to the grocery store, make sure to pick up a variety of cheeses and get a little creative in the kitchen!
Andrea Mathis, MA, RDN, LD (also known as Andy) is a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of the nourishing food blogs, Beautiful Eats & Things, and Little Eats & Things. She is also the author of The Complete Book of Smoothies: 115 Healthy Recipes to Nourish, Heal, and Energize.
Her unconventional and practical approach to providing wholesome recipes and body-inclusive focused nutrition advice has been featured in the nation’s leading media outlets including Good Morning America, Women’s Health, Prevention, Huff Post, Shape, and many more. She is a contributing editor for EatingWell, The Kitchn, Food, and Nutrition Magazine, and a contributor to Mind Body Green, Well + Good, Parents, MSN, Healthline, and others.
Based in Alabama, when she’s not running after her two boys, Andy enjoys creating content to encourage self-love and promote body positivity.
Semi-hard cheese isn’t as firm as hard cheese, and they don’t take as long to mature, either. Semi-hard cheeses are among some of the most popular cheeses around the world, including cheddar, Jarlsberg, and gouda.
These cheeses tend to deliver the perfect blend of aridity and moisture which work to give you savory and tangy flavors.
Semi-hard cheeses have a firm, slightly springy texture in comparison to hard cheeses. It tends to be quite dense in consistency. This cheese is made by pressing curds until they form a solid, squeezing out any remaining whey.
Semi-hard cheese is then taken from their molds. Some of these cheeses such as Jarlsberg then receive a coating of wax, which removes the need for brine.
Semi-hard cheeses typically are matured for between 1 and 6 months, however, it tends to vary depending on the variety of cheese.
Seeing as semi-hard cheeses take less than a year to mature, they tend to be milder in flavor than some of the hard cheeses we’ve mentioned above. Some popular semi-hard cheeses include cheddar, Jarlsberg, Colby, and Comté.
These types of cheeses have fantastic melting properties, and tend to spread evenly once grated. It’s also much easier to slice this cheese as it doesn’t have a crumbly texture.
Add it to your favorite omelet recipe.
Cheese is extremely versatile, which means that you can add any kind of cheese to your omelet, and it will turn out great. In my opinion, the perfect cheese companion for my veggie omelet includes sharp cheddar cheese. Sharp cheddar cheese has a sharper, more pronounced flavor, that pairs perfectly with almost any dish.
What’s Your Favorite Cheese?
So there you have it! While there are hundreds of different cheese varieties around the world, they can all be roughly sorted into the above categories.
This should help you to find your next favorite cheese, or help you work your way through all the fine cheeses that dairies around the globe have to offer.
Have you got a favorite cheese? Let us know all about it in the comments below!
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The clue is in the name of this type of cheese. Hard cheese is firm, and is most often savory in flavor. These types of cheese include parmesan and manchego.
piece of parmesan cheese on a wooden board
Hard cheese is made by separating and draining away most of the whey from the source milk. Once cheesemakers have the curd, this is then pressed. The pressed curd is then either waxed, or brined to create a hard rind – the outer part of the cheese.
The rind isn’t always edible, so it’s important you check this before you eat your hard cheese, as you may need to cut it away. It can, however, add some great flavor to sauces, soups, and stews.
Once the cheese has been waxed or had the rind developed, it is then left to mature. This typically takes between 2 and 36 months depending on the cheese. It can even take much longer than this depending on the variety of cheese!
Hard cheeses are left to age because this helps to refine the flavor. It makes them even tastier, grainier in texture, and less creamy.
Hard cheese tends to be crumbly, dry, and great for grating over your hot dishes to add more flavor.
Some of the most popular hard cheeses include parmesan, manchego, pecorino Romano, gruyere, emmental.
Fresh cheese is the name for cheeses which have been made using fresh curds that haven’t been aged or pressed. These are some of the most common cheeses to use in cooking, and make an excellent substitute for cream.
Homemade Organic Mozzarella Cheese with Tomato and Basil
These types of cheese have a mild, savory flavor compared to other harder cheeses, and make great compliments to a variety of dishes.
Seeing as these cheeses haven’t been aged, they don’t come with rinds. If the cheese is grainy in texture it tends to be referred to as cottage cheese. If the cheese is smooth and creamy, it’s referred to as cream cheese. Of all cream cheeses, mascarpone is the richest and creamiest.
There is a vast variety of fresh cheeses available for you to choose from, and all come with such great variations in flavor and texture.
Some of the most popular fresh cheeses include cream cheese, feta, mozzarella, burrata, cottage cheese, ricotta, and mascarpone.
Semi-soft cheese is a category of cheese with a firmness and texture that falls somewhere between soft and hard cheese.
Examples of semi-soft cheeses include Gouda, Havarti, and Fontina. These cheeses are typically made from cow’s milk and have a mild, nutty flavor and a smooth, creamy texture.
Semi-soft cheeses are versatile in the kitchen and can be used in a variety of dishes, from grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese to cheeseboards and charcuterie platters.
They also pair well with fruits, nuts, and crackers, making them a popular choice for snacking and entertaining. Semi-soft cheeses can be enjoyed at room temperature or melted in hot dishes.
We bring you our 15 favourite cheese recipes, featuring savoury tarts, fondue, pasta and more. Your taste buds are in for a treat, we promise.
Cheese used: Cream cheese
A much-loved dessert made with crunchy oreo cookies, luscious cream cheese and melted chocolate. This cake is a sweet sweet blessing!
Cheese Recipes- Cheesecake is a classic dessert that can disappoint just nobody, specially when cream cheese melts in the mouth!
Cheese used: Mozzarella cheese
When you think of cheese, does an image of a piping hot pizza flash across your eyes? Well then, here’s the recipe of the classic Margherita pizza with mozzarella cheese (famously known as the pizza cheese!) and basil leaves.
Cheese Recipes- A true Italian flag, classic margherita pizza is the favourite of one and all.
Watermelon, Olive and Feta Salad
Cheese used: Feta cheese
The perfect summer salad of melon, olives and feta cheese with toasted pumpkin seeds. The sweetness of watermelon is balanced well with chaat masala, lemon and soy sauce. A melange of flavours!
Cheese Recipes- A refreshing summer salad with goodness of watermelon along with feta cheese.
Savory Corn Tarts
Cheese used: Cheddar cheese; Ricotta cheese
Party snacks get a healthy makeover! Go gluten free with these savory tarts made with maize flour and filled with a cheesy vegetable mix.
Cheese Recipes- Go gluten free with these savory maize tarts full of cheese!
Gratin of Potatoes with Garlic Cream
Cheese used: Gruyere cheese; Cheddar cheese; Parmesan cheese
Dig deep into layers of sliced, seasoned potatoes and three types of cheese, baked golden brown with garlic-y undertones.
Cheese Recipes- A favourite party snack, goodness of garlic dipped deep into cheese.
Cheese and Pesto Eggplant
Cheese used: Parmesan or Cheddar
Eggplant laced with Parmesan cheese and baked in freshly made pesto sauce.
Cheese Recipes- Goodness of pesto and eggplant, baked to perfection.
Four Cheese Pasta
Cheese used: Swiss emmental cheese; Cheddar cheese; Parmesan cheese; Brie cheese
Cheese lovers, rejoice! Gourmet macaroni cheese with parmesan, cheddar, brie and emmental. This recipe is as cheesy as it can get.
Cheese Recipes- Cheese lovers, rejoice. Gourmet macaroni cheese with parmesan, cheddar, brie and emmental. This recipe is as cheesy as it can get.
Cheese used: Swiss emmental cheese; Gruyere cheese
Fondue is a Swiss dish made with melted cheese. Emmenthaler and Gruyere cheese melted and drizzled with some white wine. Dip blanched vegetables like broccoli and baby corn in this hot mixture and enjoy the cheesiness in every bite.
Cheese Recipes- A Swiss dish made with melted cheese and drizzled with white wine.
French Onion Soup with Cheese Souffle
Cheese used: Any or mozzarella cheese
An old world classic – a broth of sweet caramelized onions topped with a cheesy souffle as light as a feather. Baked till the cheese melts and served immediately, this one’s a slurp that warms your soul!
Cheese Recipes- A classic French soup, light and easy.
Mushroom Mac and Cheese
The ultimate comfort food – mac and cheese, now with the goodness of mushrooms.
Cheese Recipes- The classic comfort food.
Classic Mac and Cheese
The quintessential cheese recipe! Mac and cheese is the most loved, all-time meal for kids and adults alike. Quick, easy and loaded with cheese.
Cheese Recipes- A quick and easy mac and cheese recipe in a microwave.
Blueberry Cheese Pastry
Cheese used : cream cheese
A perfect dessert with tinge of blueberries and creamy cheesecake to indulge in for anyone with a sweet tooth!
These Lebanese cheese rolls also known as Rakakat (in Arabic) are a well-known appetizer, served right along with hummus or baba ganoush.
A must-have in every café menu, mozzarella sticks give the perfect combination of cheesy gooey on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Masala Cheese Toast
As you can tell by the name, this toast recipe is filled with a host of tangy and spicy masala and cheese that gives a burst of flavour in every bite.
So, what are you waiting for? Try out these delicious cheese recipes and let us know how you liked them in the comments below.
Pair with fruit.
There are so many different cheese and fruit combinations that it’s hard to pick just one, but I’m partial to pairing semi-soft cheese with fresh fruit. Semi-soft cheeses, like Havarti and mozzarella, have a higher moisture content and tend to be mild in taste. They pair very well with fresh fruit such as cranberries and peaches.
Soft cheese refers to a large group of cheeses with a soft, creamy texture and a mild, tangy flavor.
Brie, Camembert, goat cheese, and feta are a few well-known varieties of soft cheeses. These cheeses are often created with rennet-coagulated milk that has been drained afterward, giving them a high moisture content and a spreadable texture.
Soft cheeses are frequently eaten as a creamy salad dressing or as a spread on crackers or bread. They are commonly used in cooking as well, giving sauces, soups, and quiches a rich, creamy flavor.
Soft cheeses are best appreciated fresh and should be consumed within a few days of opening due to their fragile texture.
Blue mold cheese, also known as blue cheese, is a favorite snack for many. This particular type of cheese uses a different manufacturing process, as it needs the addition of mold cultures to create that legendary blue mold interior.
Gorgonzola cheese with ciabatta bread on rustic wooden cutting board
The origin of blue cheese is rumored to have been back in the 7th century. It is said that a shepherd left his bread and cheese lunch inside a cave near the village of Roquefort, France.
When he remembered to return for it, he discovered the cheese had become infested with the mold growing inside the cave, known as Penicillium roqueforti. This natural mold has been refined, and is now used for nearly all blue cheeses across the globe.
Blue cheese is made by adding the mold culture to the cheese milk. Oxygen needs to reach the inside of the cheese in order for it to turn blue. Cheesemakers achieve this by piercing the cheese with skewers or thin needles.
The craved blue mold will then mature inside the air tunnels, and will develop in flavor as it ages. Typically, mold-containing cheese tends to mature between 3 to 6 months. Blue cheeses mature from the inside out.
Some of the most popular blue mold cheese include Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Danish blue, and Maytag cheese.