It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Cheesy: Your Guide to the Most Popular Cheeses in the US

It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Cheesy: Your Guide to the Most Popular Cheeses in the US

Rebecca Wright
9 months ago

Cheese is an indispensable food in worldwide cuisine.

Whether it’s spread on crackers, shaved over your caesar salad, or melted between two slices of bread, cheese is a staple in American diets. It’s even difficult for vegans to leave cheese behind, which speaks to the growth in popularity of soy and vegan cheeses.

With over 5,000 different types of cheeses in the world, dairy-eaters and cheese-lovers alike have their pick of plenty. From cow’s milk to goats milk, and the milk of camels, reindeer, and other assorted mammals, cheese comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, flavors, and (sometimes) not so pleasant aromas.

Cheese earns a bad reputation being misleadingly dubbed an unhealthy food. Fortunately for the cheese-lovers, this isn’t actually true. Recently, nutrition and food experts have been working to point out that there’s no evidence behind this myth. The reasons you might have avoided cheese are crumbling - even if you don’t like blue cheese or feta crumbles, this is something we can all appreciate.

If you don’t like Feta or Blu Cheese, there are other options for you out there. And no, they aren’t simply American cheese, muenster, provolone, or swiss. There are 5,000 different types of cheeses in the world. So which are the most popular? The answer isn’t cheddar, no matter how much we Americans love our cheddar or even our American cheese.

Here’s everything you need to know about the most popular cheeses in the United States.

1. Parmesan

Oh, the King of Italian cheese happens to be the most popular cheese in 8 states. This may come as no surprise, but parmesan cheese is one of the most popular cheeses in the country. With it’s savory, almost nutty flavor, you can put it on your salad, you can shave it onto your soup, add it in to your sauce… clearly parmesan cheese is versatile and can add some familiar flavor to any of your dishes.

True parmesan cheese has a dense texture, and is classified as a hard, artisan cheese.

Naturally, Chicken Parmesan and related recipes come to mind when we’re talking about this cheese. There’s nothing quite like a delicious Chicken Parm dish served hot when you’re craving Italian flavor. But there are other takes on this recipe too, and these other recipes use a different main ingredient. Some use zucchini, some use spinach, and others use eggplant.

2. Stilton

This cheese is the 2nd most popular cheese in the United States, even though it hails from the UK. This blue British cheese is creamy, crumbly, and smooth with a strong flavor. It’s made from local cow’s milk in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and Leicestershire.

Stilton’s spicy, strong flavor lends itself as the perfect complement to a port wine or a fruit tray. It’s the perfect entertaining cheese, pairing well with crackers, nuts, and other snacks. What better place to look for Stilton inspiration than a reputable British site? Check out these 13 recipe ideas for using Stilton (and other blu cheeses!) in your dinners.

3. Muenster

The Americanized version of France’s Munster cheese, Muenster is a smooth, supple, and mild cheese. It’s a soft, processed cheese made of pasteurized cow’s milk. The flavor of this cheese can range from mild and nearly unnoticeable to strong, stinky, and sharp.

If you’re planning to cook or food-prep with Muenster, know it’s a careful balance between too much and not enough. When aged just right, this cheese can be pretty stinky! That said, it’s important to note this cheese melts great, so it’s best to pair with a grilled cheese, warm sandwich, pasta dish, or even on pizza.

Your options are pretty broad when you’re using this popular cheese in your recipes. But if you’re stuck thinking of how to use this cheese, you can find some solid inspiration with these 10 popular recipes with Muenster cheese.

4. Feta

Would Greek salads, vinaigrettes, and pasta salad be the same without this treasured, tasty cheese? The answer? Absolutely not.

This soft cheese is native to Greece (surprise!) but it’s made its way all around the world. It’s flavoring is somewhat similar to blu cheeses in that it’s a little nutty with a strong scent, and even a little salty or tangy. Feta can be made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk, which gives this cheese a really nice variety in it’s flavor and texture. Speaking of texture, Feta is creamy and usually crumbly.

So, with that all being said, you can pretty much use Feta on anything. And you totally should.

5. Havarti

From Denmark comes Havarti cheese, a buttery and sweet cheese that has a creamy texture. If it’s aged longer than the typical 3 months, then Havarti cheese can have a much stronger, sharper scent - though it’s usually pretty sweet smelling.

This cheese is great for grilling, and is sometimes seasoned with other flavors (especially in cream form) of peppers, caraway seeds, and other tasty tidbits.

What’s your favorite type of cheese? 

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