How Many Cheeses Are There? 26 Most Popular Cheese

Research has it that there are about 1800 types of cheeses in the world. Generally, the classification of cheeses is according to the type of milk they are made from, where they were first made, their age, texture, flavor, and method of preparation.

Moreover, not every cheese has a familiar creamy off-white hue. With the many types of cheese out there, you can’t know all of them, and you may never get the chance to taste all of them.

Below is a list of some of the most popular cheeses. I mean, it’s almost inevitable to not have a one-time contact with these cheeses.

1. Mozzarella

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If you don’t know mozzarella, then you’ve not had a proper welcome to the world of cheese. Mozzarella is one of the magic cheeses of many pizzerias. It is a stretchy cheese that melts perfectly, making it a good choice for pizzas, pasta, and sandwiches.

Mozzarella cheese is an Italian cheese made from either cow or water buffalo milk. The whey in mozzarella is removed before the cheese is stretched. It is smooth cheese with a mild tangy flavor. In addition, mozzarella comes in varieties like bocconcini, burrata, and string cheese.

2. Cheddar

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This is probably one of the first cheeses you heard about or ate. Cheddar cheese is originally from England. But there are different cheddar varieties with varying strengths according to their age.

Also, the texture and flavor of cheddar vary with age. Generally, fresh cheddar is soft, creamy, and pale yellow with a mild flavor. Older cheddar cheeses are hard, crumbly, and bright orange with a sharp, earthy flavor.

Depending on your recipe, the different textures of cheddar are good for sandwiches, casseroles, and grilled cheese. In addition, cheddar cheese is not American cheese. Cheddar is true cheese, while American cheese is processed cheese that contains cheddar.

3. Monterey jack

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Monterey jack is a U.S. cheese from Monterey county. It is cow’s milk cheese with a pale yellow color and a mild flavor. This sweet cheese is aged between 3 to 6 weeks to give a semi-hard texture.

Additionally, this cheese serves as a base for cheese like Colby and pepper jack cheese which is prepared with hot pickled peppers. Monterey jack is best for casseroles, cheese dip, and grilled cheese.

4. Parmesan

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Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano is an Italian cheese with an aging period of at least one year. It is a hard cheese that is best for grating on pasta and as a garnish for savory dishes. Also, it has a nutty fruity and nutty flavor and becomes harder with age.

5. Taleggio

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Taleggio falls in the category of washed-rind, smear-ripened cheese. It is a red, soft cheese that is ripened with five kinds of mold. This washed-rind cheese matures within 6 to 10 weeks.

One of its major characteristics is its pungent aroma, creamy texture, and fruity flavor. It melts well, and it is best for salads and cheese platters.

6. Limburger

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If you ever see a list of the world’s stinkiest cheese, be sure to find Limburger on the list. But beyond the funky smell is a delicious cheese with mild mushroom notes. The best way to eat Limburger cheese is to serve it with rye bread, raw onions, and brown mustard.

7. Provolone

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Provolone cheese is an Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. It is available in either fresh or smoked forms; the smoked provolone lends a rich smoky flavor to your dishes. It matures within three months to a year. Provolone either has a mild or strong flavor, depending on its age.

This semi-hard cheese has a buttery flavor with nutty notes. Both types of provolone cheese – provolone dolce and provolone piccante – are good for pizza toppings and melting.

SEE: What Does Provolone Cheese Taste Like?

8. American cheese

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American cheese is a semi-soft processed cheese with excellent consistency. It is made with cheddar, Colby, and other cheeses within the same category. However, it is not a true cheese because it is a pasteurized processed cheese instead of pressed curds of milk.

This cheese comes in slices with plastic wraps in between each slice of cheese. You may also find American cheese in small or large blocks. In addition, it is a salty cheese that makes one of the most delicious cheese dips.

9. Mascarpone

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Mascarpone looks like goat cheese, but it isn’t. It is a soft fatty cheese with a characteristic thickness, smooth texture, and buttery flavor. Mascarpone is good for making sweet and savory dishes. Enjoy this creamy cheese with salmons, vegetables, and sweet and sour fruits.

10. Asiago

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Asiago cheese is a hard Italian cheese that you may mistake for Parmesan because of its similar flavor. But you can identify asiago cheese with its nuttier flavor. You may find this cheese in either fresh or aged forms.

Fresh asiago has a smooth texture, melts well, and is suitable for cheesy sauces and sandwiches. On the other hand, the mature asiago is better for grating on salads, pasta, soups, and sauces.

SEE: Get a Chance to Win a $500 Stop & Shop Gift Card

11. Brie

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Brie is a soft French cheese that matures within 5 to 6 weeks. The soft, chewy rind encloses a smooth, creamy, and runny interior. Brie owes its soft and runny texture to the cream which is added to the cheese just before fermentation.

Additionally, brie cheese is best enjoyed on a cheese board, with fruits, and for recipes that require baking.

12. Cotija

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If you like hard cheeses, you should try cotija. It is best for grating on salads, soups, tacos, tostadas, and enchiladas. Cotija cheese is made from cow milk. One amazing thing about this Mexican cheese is how its mild and salty taste becomes tangy with age.

Additionally, you should know that cotija cheese is not on the list of cheeses that melt well. So, you should stick with grating it.

13. Camembert

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Camembert is one of the many French kinds of cheese. It is a pale yellow cheese with a smooth, soft, chalky, and runny texture with a buttery, mushroom-like flavor.

Unlike other cheeses that age, in the fresh form, camembert is hard and crumbly with a bland flavor. But when it ages, it becomes smooth and runny. Additionally, camembert also has a chewy rind like brie cheese. However, camembert matures within four weeks.

14. Blue cheese

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Blue cheese, a type of pungent cheese, is more like a family name for cheeses made with penicillium cultures. This mold confers the blue marble markings on the cheese. Blue cheeses have a distinct sharp and salty flavor.

Some of them include gorgonzola cheese which originates from Italy, Roquefort from Italy, and stilton, an English cheese.

SEE: Find Out What Cheese Domino’s Pizza Use for Their Pizzas

15. Feta

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If you love cheese made from goat or sheep milk, you’ll love feta. You can also give it a try if you have never eaten goat or sheep cheese. Feta is a Greek cheese that may also be made from cow milk. It ages for three months and becomes hard, crumbly, sour, and salty.

However, it is creamy and softens when added to meals, but it doesn’t melt well. The best way to enjoy feta cheese is to grate it in pasta, grains, salad, and soup.

16. Cottage cheese

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Cottage cheese is in its own class. Unlike the other types of cheese you know, it is not pressed curds of milk. Instead, cottage cheese is soupy, lumpy, and creamy due to the separation of the curds from whey protein.

Additionally, it is a delicious cheese that does not age. You can eat cottage cheese alone, serve it with fruit bowls, or allow its salty and tart flavor to complement your savory dishes.

17. Cream cheese

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Cream cheese is a type of cheese made by adding cream to milk. It is a soft white U.S. cheese that does not age like other cheeses. Cream cheese has a creamy texture and it spreads well on breakfast toast.

18. Goat cheese

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Goat cheese is cheese made from goat milk. It is sometimes referred to as chèvre. In reality, chèvre is unaged goat cheese made from fresh goat’s milk.

It is moist and tastes slightly acidic, lemony, and chalky. The best way to eat goat cheese is to serve it in sandwiches, mac and cheese, and crumble it on salads.

19. Edam

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Edam cheese is a semi-hard Dutch cheese from the Netherlands. This hard cheese comes in flat spheres with a red rind enclosing a smooth and sweet yellow interior. It has a mild nutty flavor like provolone cheese, making it a good alternative when you can’t find provolone.

20. Gruyere

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Gruyere is a Swiss cheese with a pale yellow color. It is characterized by a grainy texture and small holes all over it. Gruyere is a semi-hard cheese with fruity, earthy, and nutty flavors.

The creamy texture of this Swiss cheese makes it perfect for fondues and Croque monsieur. It is also great for cheese boards and sandwiches and can be eaten alone.

21. Gouda cheese

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Gouda is a semi-hard cheese from the Netherlands. It is cow’s milk cheese that ages from 4 weeks to a year. Based on age, gouda cheese can be semi-hard or hard, mild and creamy, or crumbly and sharp.

Fresh, young gouda is best for melting over sandwiches, pancakes, fruits, and meatballs. Aged gouda is best for grating on salads and casseroles.

22. Halloumi cheese

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Ever heard of frying or grilling cheese without melting it? That’s halloumi. It is a chewy and salty Cypriot cheese that may be pale white or light yellow. Some people would rather eat halloumi raw because of its chewy and creamy texture.

23. Manchego

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Manchego originates from Spain. This cheese is made from sheep’s milk, aging for two weeks to one year to give a firm and crumbly texture. Manchego comes in white or yellow colors with a rich, sharp, and salty taste. The cheese doesn’t melt well but it’s a perfect fit for empanadas.

SEE: What Cheese Does McDonald’s Use?

24. Ricotta

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If you can’t find cottage cheese, ricotta is a perfect substitute. It is smoother and firmer than cottage cheese but not as firm as other cheeses. This fresh Italian cheese is made just like cottage cheese. Ricotta is suitable for making lasagna and cheesecake.

25. Queso fresco

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Queso fresco is a Spanish fresh cheese that makes very delicious tacos. It falls in the same category as feta, ricotta, and cottage cheeses. But it is more like feta because of its crumbly texture and salty taste.

Just like feta, it is made from either cow or goat milk but with a very short aging period.

26. Pecorino Romano

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Pecorino romano is a hard Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. As a hard cheese, the best way to use it is in its grated form over pasta and in soups. And its intense flavor is a plus for your dish.

In addition, pecorino romano has an aging period of five months or longer. Its tough rind encloses a buttery and spicy pale yellow cheese.

FAQs

What is the world’s oldest cheese?

Bitto Storico is the world’s oldest cheese. It is an Italian cheese that can age for up to 18 years.

What is the world’s smelliest cheese?

Epoisse de Bourgogne is the world smelliest cheese. It is a French cheese from Burgundy that is aged in brine and brandy for six weeks.

What is the most popular cheese in the world?

Mozzarella seems to be the most popular cheese in the world.

Conclusion

So many cheeses in the world to make any of your favorite tasty cheese dishes. However, some cheeses best suit some meals than others. If you have not yet tasted any or some of these cheeses, you should do so with a tasty dish after reading this article.

Thanks for reading.

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