When it comes to sifting through the many types of cheese, everyone has different tastes. There are hard cheeses, semi-hard cheeses, and ones that are better for lactose intolerance. Some types of cheese are aged differently and others are made with milk from different animals. There are a lot of choices out there!
Now even though I would love to spend my time talking about every kind of cheese there is out there, we've instead compiled a list of some of the best cheeses according to its texture.
Ah, good ol' feta. It's a little on the potent side, but that's what makes it so great! Though, this particular cheese has slowly succumbed to that of imposters that use cow's milk to make it when in reality, it should be made with about 70 percent sheep's milk and 30 percent goat's. Authentic feta cheese needs to be made from entirely sheep's milk or it can be mixed with goat's milk. It's placed in brine (essentially salty water) for about three to six months.
Feta cheese comes out of Greece and, I won't lie to you, you probably won't find authentic feta outside of the country. The Spruce reported that the demand for it is so high in fact that feta rarely gets exported from Greece anymore and the majority of it now comes from Italy.
Since it's so soft, it crumbles easy and is often used to top pizza or garnish salads. You can also sprinkle feta on potatoes or use it in stuffing. There are a lot of recipes that encourage you to use it in various ways, so feel free to spread the love onto whichever food your heart desires.
Fun Fact: feta cheese has officially been recognized by the Protected Designation of Origin (a European Commission that recognizes the origins of certain products) as being Greek.
This cheese comes from France and is made from cow's milk. Much like feta, you'll need to travel to France if you're looking for authentic brie because it can't really be shipped to the United States. Why? Well, brie needs to be aged for at least 60 days before it's imported to the United States, but if you do that then brie would be overripe.
Brie is also usually encased in a rind that is totally edible. The rind is basically just a totally harmless fungus that forms on the cheese as it matures.
Remember what I said about the 60-day rule in the U.S.? Well, that rule dates all the way back to 1949 when "the FDA reported that bacteria could survive longer than 60 days in raw milk cheeses and the U.S. pushed for an all-out international ban on them," Vogue reports. In the same article, they spoke with Dino Borri, purchasing director for Eataly USA, who said that you can't import fresh cheese that isn't pasteurized. This basically led to people smuggling cheese back in suitcases!
Certain types of cheese are used more so for dessert and this one is no exception. There are tons of recipes that you can find to help you incorporate brie into tarts, egg rolls, and apple tarts. If people are smuggling brie back home with them then you know it's good...
Ohh yes. Mozarella is definitely a favorite of many people given that you find it in many delicious dishes like pizza or lasagna.
Originally made from water buffalo milk, this soft Italian cheese has been produced widely across the world and is being made with cow's milk more than anything. Though cheese is delicious, it can be daunting to think of making types of cheese at home. But mozzarella is a cheese that isn't super hard to make at home and there are a lot of recipes that you can follow to make mozzarella at home.
There are also a lot of ways you can use mozzarella which include ovolini (which can be used for Caprese salad), bocconcini (which are bite-sized balls that can be used in salads), and perlini (which can be used in pasta or salads).
There are two types of cheese in this category: French Muenster and North American Muenster. The French one is considered to be the better of the two and it's made from unpasteurized cow's milk. North American Muenster, on the other hand, is made from pasteurized cow's milk and are rubbed with salt or washed with brine. The American version is also a bit milder in taste than its French counterpart.
The taste isn't super strong either, which makes it a great cheese to use in a lot of different foods. Though, be warned that when Muenster cheese is aged properly it can develop a pretty strong smell.
Muenster cheese can be used in a variety of recipes such as macaroni and cheese or sandwiches.
This table cheese famously comes from Denmark and has been around since the 1800s. It's made from pasteurized cow's milk and has a fairly mild taste, one that many people say tastes on the buttery side. Havarti also has a buttery aroma, though when it's aged for longer periods of time it can develop a taste that leans closer to nuts. There are a variety of flavors you can find as well given that there are several kinds available.
It's typically aged for about three months and has little holes throughout, which is definitely one of its defining features.
It can be used in a ton of different ways such as slices in sandwiches, using it for macaroni and cheese, and can be used for snacks as well! Havarti is a great cheese for appetizers and there are a lot of recipes out there including this one here on how to bake it and serve it before entrees!
This is definitely one of those cheeses that you either love or hate.
Blue cheese is notorious for both of these things and while seeing veins running through the cheese can look a little weird, they stem from a good kind of fungi that have been used to ripen the cheese. It's usually made from cow, goat, or sheep milk and is ripened with two different kinds of fungi called penicillium roqueforti and penicillium glaucum. Not only does penicillium aid in making delicious cheeses, but it's also used to make the antibiotic penicillin.
There are a lot of different blue cheeses out there -- I'm talking dozens -- that people love to indulge in. Some of the more popular ones include Roquefort, which is pretty much the famed blue cheese. It's made from sheep's milk and is known to be on the moist side. It's aged for five months, can break into pieces easily, and has a sharp flavor. Gorgonzola is another popular blue cheese that takes about four or five months to reach full ripeness and is made from unskimmed cow's milk. It's also relatively crumbly and can taste a little on the salty side. Stilton is another famous blue cheese that is made from cow's pasteurized milk, has penicillium roqueforti spores running through it, and mainly comes from Britain.
You can use blue cheese in a lot of ways such as a blue cheese dressing, putting it in hamburgers, or grilled cheese sandwiches.
Fun Fact: if you Google "blue cheese taste," the second result that pops up us "blue cheese taste like vomit." There are thousands of people who would beg to differ, but... let that be a potential warning.
Ah, we've come to cheddar. The famous cheese we often drown our nachos in or stick on our hamburgers. It's a fan favorite for many and here are a few facts about it:
Cheddar cheese originates from England and is distinctive by its sharp color and strong taste.
It's made from cow's milk and there are various types of cheese you can pick from. The longer you leave cheddar to age, the stronger the taste becomes. Mild cheddar is usually aged for about two months, the stronger ones are aged for up to a year, and the strongest types of cheese are aged for two years or longer.
There are lots of things you can use cheddar with like biscuits, deviled eggs, and chicken.
What has been dubbed the "king of cheeses," Parmigiano-Reggiano is easily one of the best cheeses we've been graced with. It's one of the popular cheeses that often top your pasta, chicken, and salads just to name a few.
Parmigiano-Reggiano originated in Italy and documents suggest that it has been delighting taste buds since the 13th century, if not earlier. Now, while this has been around for centuries, it has been Americanized and given the name "parmesan." Chances are that when you see "parmesan" over "Parmigiano-Reggiano," you're getting an imposter cheese.
Be mindful, though, because you don't get the king of cheeses without dropping some dough. (I was going to say "cheddar" but that's just too much...) Depending on where you go and how much you buy, a pound of this stuff could set you back anywhere from $12.50 - $24.00 a pound. If, however, you're looking to get an entire wheel it might behoove you to know that it'll cost you hundreds. Costco sells a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano for $900, which is considered to be a steal by the way. Williams Sonoma charges $31 a pound, which means that an entire wheel would set you back $2,500.
There are different types of Parmigiano-Reggiano that require various levels of aging. The minimum aging time is about one year, but it can be aged up to 36 months.
If you head over to your authentic Italian restaurants you'll be able to get your hands on some of the real Parmigiano-Reggiano. Just be careful about where you're going because a lot of parm cheeses are imposters.
Dozens of recipes call for the use of Parmigiano-Reggiano and there are dozens more that you can add to by incorporating a little parm.
This Dutch cheese is one of the most popular cheeses in the world! It accounts for about half of the world's cheese consumption. It's typically made from pasteurized cow's milk, though there are variations that use goat or sheep milk.
When it comes to the aging process, it can be aged anywhere from one to 36 months. Naturally, the longer it ages, the more flavorful it becomes.
The more flavorful gouda cheese is best found in Holland over the ones that have been sold in other countries. These commercialized cheeses, like that of other types of cheese, aren't as great as the original, so keep that in mind.
Gouda has been known to pair really well with beer and red wine. You can also use it for fondue and a ton of other recipes!
This cheese hails from Italy and there are two main types: provolone dolce and provolone piccante. Dolce is usually aged anywhere from two to three months whereas piccante is aged four months or longer. Like many kinds of cheese, the length of aging alters the taste. Due to piccante being aged for longer, it has a stronger taste. Dolce, on the other hand, isn't overpowering but the mild taste is still enough to enjoy.
Provolone is made from cow's milk and it's been known to be an all-purpose cheese, making it super versatile in the kitchen!
Provolone cheese is a great one to use for Philly cheesesteak, french onion soup, chicken parm, and a bunch of other easy recipes.
Swiss cheese is another one of those brands that most people recognize right away. Its sweet, mild taste and notable texture make it a classic among many.
Swiss cheese is the Americanized version of Swiss Emmental and the taste isn't super potent, making it a great cheese to use in a lot of different recipes.
It's also important to know that the holes in swiss cheese are called "eyes" and when it doesn't have holes the cheese is referred to as "blind." This is important to know because the larger the eyes in the cheese, the more flavorful it is!
You can use it in a variety of recipes like different sandwiches, quiche, fondue, and patty melts.
This cheese stems from Veneto and is made from unpasteurized cow's milk, though it was originally made from sheep's milk. There are two main types of asiago cheese and the main difference is that one is aged longer than the other. The names of the two types vary from fresh asiago and ripened asiago. The "fresh" kind is aged at least for 20 days whereas the ripened kind can be aged for up to 15 months.
Asiago has been a favorite sandwich cheese and has a nutty flavor to it. It isn't very strong, though, so you don't have to worry about it overpowering anything.
There are many types of cheese that can be used in pasta and asiago is a great one! You can also make it into a great sauce or use it in a variety of sandwiches or on chicken.
There you have it! While there are a lot of different types of cheese out there, hopefully this list helped you narrow it down.