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Here Are The Most Popular Cheeses, With Recommendations For Each Type

Finding the best cheese in the world is both a fool’s errand and perhaps the most fun food adventure you can ever hope to have. Cheese is so distinctly versatile in form, texture, flavors, and even function that you really can’t define it as a monolith. How dare you compare the runny funkiness of camembert to the crumbly nature of a mold-riddled Stilton? There are those out there who will ride-or-die for American cheese slices while others do the same for fresh sheep’s milk cheese grilled over a flame.

The point being, there’s just so much to the genre. It’s every bit as diverse as whiskey. Or shoes.

To help us figure out which cheese reigns supreme, we checked in on the masses over at Ranker. After over 90,000 votes, a solid — albeit very Euro-centric — list of cheeses emerged. Though it misses some Eastern and South American gems, it’s generally hard to argue with.

Here’s what the masses think are the best cheeses in the world — plus a recommendation for that type from your friends at Uproxx.

10. Cheddar

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The Cheese:

Ah, cheddar. This English cheese has become the cornerstone of many a cheese-eaters board, burger toppings, pasta pairings, and everyday snacking. The semi-hard nature of the cheese makes it great for melting. The flavor is fully creamy with no funk whatsoever.

The One To Try:

Cabot Farms cheddar is consistently awarded as some of the best mainstream cheddar made in the U.S. You can grab an 8-oz. brick of their Mild Cheddar for $4.95.

9. Brie

The Cheese:

This ultra-creamy cow’s milk cheese is a delight when done right. The white-mold rind really helps counterpoint the soft, creamy texture of the cheese within. It’s a full-on textural experience. The smooth cheese should lean into slight notes of grassiness and nuttiness.

The One To Try:

Marin French Petit Creme Brie is a great option if you don’t want to pay extra for the stuff from France. This California cheese really amps up the creaminess of the product and is about half the price. You can grab a 4-oz. round for $5.87.

8. Monterey Jack

The Cheese:

Monterey Jack dates back to the 1700s and Spanish colonialists in Central and Northern California remaking cheese from their Spanish homelands. The mild and semi-soft cow’s milk cheese is generally a pretty fast cheese — requiring only a month of aging before it can be used. It’s a hell of melter and works wonders in burritos, in a grilled cheese sandwich, and on top of burgers.

The One To Try:

Oregon’s Tillamook Monterey Jack is often called out as the best in the country. It’s mild, melty, and very accessible for $3.43 for an 8-oz brick.

7. Provolone

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The Cheese:

This Italian cheese is a semi-hard cow’s milk mild cheese that’s also great for melting, especially if you want that cheese-stretch in your photos. The mildness of the cheese also makes it very easy to love. The actual Italian version usually comes in a bulbous wax covering and it a little funkier than the Italian-American version. The original is great on its own but works really well as a grilling cheese with a lot of herbs, spices, and olive oil.

The One To Try:

It might be time to give the real stuff from Italy a shot. Auricchio Stravecchio Provolone sells 9-oz. wedges for $18.95.

6. “Swiss”

The Cheese:

American “Swiss” cheese is kind of its own thing but it’s also just a shittier version of the Swiss Emmentaler. Look, Switzerland makes over 450 distinct types of cheese. So calling just one of them “Swiss” is ridiculous… yet here we are.

Anyway, an Emmentaler is jacked up with bacteria that expands while the cheese ages, creating the iconic holes in the body of the cheese. It’s a creamy, semi-hard cheese that leans into the creaminess and grassiness of all that Alpine milk involved.

The One To Try:

Give the real stuff a try. It’s a little spendy at $29.98 for 1-lb., but it’s 100 percent worth every cent of that price.

5. Feta

The Cheese:

It’s always nice to see a sheep/goat cheese make this list of best cheeses. This Greek treat is very crumbly cheese that has a nice creaminess next to a slight barnyard funk and grassiness that feels a little briny. It’s complex yet accessible.

The One To Try:

You don’t have to pay extra for some straight from Greece — though, don’t let us stop you. Kryssos Traditional Feta Cheese from Wisconsin gets the job done. You can usually grab an 8-oz. block for $5.50.

4. Gouda

The Cheese:

Just as Cheddar comes from a town in England, Gouda comes from the town of Gouda in The Netherlands. The cow’s milk cheese is a semi-hard classic that can be young (aged for only four weeks) to old (aged for over a year). The underlying taste is a creaminess next to mild nuttiness that becomes more funky, crumbly, and nutty as it ages.

The One To Try:

VAN KAAS Dutch Gouda is the way to go for the real deal stuff without breaking the bank. You can generally pick up a 7-oz. wedge for $6.15.

3. Parmigiano-Reggiano

The Cheese:

It’s pretty disappointing this isn’t number one. Look at it this way, if you’ve never had Parmigiano-Reggiano from Emilia-Romagna in Italy, you’ve never truly had parmesan. This cheese is a masterpiece of cheese-making from grass to board. The creaminess of the cheese is counterpointed by the crystalline texture of the body next to the slight funk, grassiness, nuttiness, and serious depth. It’s so, so much more than something you just sprinkle on your spaghetti or pizza.

The One To Try:

You can get 6-oz. of the real-deal stuff from specialty shops for as little as $8. Do it immediately.

2. Mozzarella

The Cheese:

Ah, fresh mozzarella broken up on a pizza with a little San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh basil, and olive oil is something hard to say no to. Even low-moisture mozz — with its string cheese texture — is still a creamy, stretchy delight. Though, we all know the real stuff that comes in tubs of water is the real winner here. The soft creaminess next to that slight hint of bitterness and, dare we say, sour is what draws you back again and again.

The One To Try:

Try the fresh stuff with a few drops of balsamic, olive oil, and some fresh tomatoes then never go back to the string cheese stuff again. You can get a ball of mozz here for $10.

1. Sharp Cheddar

The Cheese:

Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest with Tillamook’s much-lauded Extra Sharp Cheddar on the table every holiday season, I totally get this being number one. A sharp cheddar edges towards the crystalline textures of a real Parmigiano-Reggiano while still remaining very creamy.

This cheese really stands out on its own but can make a dish like mac ‘n cheese freaking pop.

The One To Try:

Tillamook’s Extra Sharp Cheddar is aged for 15 months and only costs around $6 per pound. That’s a bargain for a solid cheese with big flavors.

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