The best cheese is a true lifesaver. Sometimes all you need is a fistful of cold cheese from the fridge to tide you over until dinner, get you ready for bed, or even just put you in touch with the pure delicious cheesiness of this here earth. So, without further ableu, here are our picks for the best cheeses we’ve tried during our taste tests, from the best shredded mozzarella to the best queso. Hopefully, there is at least one on this list that sounds gouda to you. (Beware: many more cheesy jokes ahead.)
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- Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Mozzarella Cheese
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it until the Oregon based cows come home: Tillamook makes superior dairy products. They just do. And this Farmstyle Thick Cut Mozzerella cheese is one of the best cheeses you can buy. The best part about it? This cheese comes as “thick, coarsely cut mozzarella ribbons” and not, as staff writer Danny Palumbo pointed out in his ranking of the best shredded mozzarella cheese, “tiny-ass feeble strands that get stuck together in the bag.” The shreds are so thick you could literally just eat them out of the bag like beautiful, cheesy bites of joy. Speaking of joy, this cheese melts like an absolute dream (Danny called it X-rated). It really is, as Danny says, “without a doubt the best shredded mozzarella you can buy.” In other words, its mozzar-hella good.
Credit: Paula Kunatee / Tillamook
- Sargento Sliced Swiss
I love Sargento’s take on sliced Swiss. Its earthy, funky, creamy, salty and just an all-around complex and beautiful specimen for your sandwich. Managing editor Gwynedd Stuart especially loved the texture, saying, “It has a great dry, chewy texture that sort of squeaks between your teeth as you chew […] Plus, it’s sliced to a pretty much ideal thickness.” Don’t get it Swiss-ted, this Swiss cheese will take your sandwich game to the next level. Plus, because it’s Swiss cheese it has holes in it, and that’s always a good time. Who doesn’t love hole-y cheeses?
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- Old Croc Sharp Cheddar Cheese
No, this cheese is not a foam rubber clog that’s past its prime. But it is absolutely delicious: rich, creamy, and salty with delicious little crystals (that are made up of amino acids, interestingly enough). Truly a chedderuption of flavor. It’s so good, and elevated, and fancy tasting, in fact, that Gwynedd called it “special-occasion sharp cheddar. Sharp cheddar for when you’re hosting company you actually like.”
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart
- Boar’s Head Deli Picante Provolone
This provolone may be a bit more expensive than your average provolone, but you could argue that it simply knows its own worth and will charge you accordingly. Danny called this particular deli-counter provolone “deliciously funky and sharp—the bite you get on the back end smacks you in the mouth in the most wonderful of ways.” And not only does this cheese taste good as is, it also melts like a dream, making your next muffuletta, grilled cheese, or meatball sub a one-way ticket to cheese heaven.
Credit: Merc / Pavilions
- Sprouts Market Corner Low-Moisture Part-Skim String Cheese
There are few snacks better than string cheese. It’s got the string, it’s got the cheese, it’s got the juice (wait, that’s corn), but most of all, it’s got staying power. This. Snack. Holds. Up. And especially this version from Sprouts, which is the perfect mix of “waxy and pliable,” according to Sporked staff writer Jordan Myrick in their ranking of the best string cheeses. Also, this string cheese may be part-skim but the flavor is full-fat, baybee! This snack is so good it’s been on some of our other best of lists lately too. Talk about a string of victor-cheese!
Credit: Merc / Instacart
- Good Culture Organic Cottage Cheese 4% Milkfat
This is the best cottage cheese ever. There. I said it. Its small curds, creaminess, saltiness, and tanginess make it aggressively good and almost addicting to eat in the best possible way. Danny even noted that this cottage cheese tastes “fresh.” And it really does. It’s kind of like someone on a farm made this cottage cheese from scratch just for you. So get out of your cottage and eat a lottage of this cottage cheese (sorry).
Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon
- Creamy Toscano Cheese Soaked in Syrah
Trader Joe’s really went full bourgeoise on this one. She’s salty, she’s tangy, she’s sweet, she’s complex, she doesn’t need any help from roasted garlic or a jam because she is already jam-packed with flavor. She is good on her own and she knows it. Jordan called this cheese “one of the most delicious cheeses I’ve ever tasted in my life,” and even pointed out that it has those “crunchy flavor crystals” just like parm, adding a textural layer to this cheese’s utter domination.
Credit: Ryan Martin
- Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese
I am of the opinion that it should be socially acceptable to take a bite of a brick of cream cheese as if it were an ice cream sandwich. And Philadelphia cream cheese, specifically? It’s kind of the king of cream cheeses. Jordan described this bad boy as “sensationally creamy,” adding that it “maintains the perfect balance of rich and tangy.” They also pointed out that this cream cheese is excellent with fixins, but can totally hold its own as the only thing on a bagel. One could call this the cream cheese of the crop.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart
- Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese Alternative
This. Stuff. Is. So. Good. I’m not vegan, but one time in college, my roommates and I finished a whole tub of the stuff in about a half hour. Need more convincing? Jordan called it “totally spreadable, not too hard, and super creamy,” adding that it has “no weird coconut or chemical aftertaste.” One could even call this the vegan cream cheese of the crop!
Credit: Ryan Martin / Trader Joe’s
- Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda
Speaking of delicious vegan cheeses, the Sporked team thought this one was really gouda. That feels like an understatement. This “cheese” is a revelation. It tastes exactly like smoked gouda, because, as Sporked editor in chief Justine Sterling pointed out in her ranking of the best vegan cheeses, the extremely strong smoky flavor of this Follow Your Heart cheese “covers up any obviously non-cheese flavors and is the star of the show—which is exactly how it is in real smoked gouda.” So If you are a vegan looking to share some “charcuterie” with a friend, whip out this cheese and see what they think! They’ll never know the difference…probably.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Albertsons
- On the Border Salsa Con Queso
Just in queso you thought we forgot, of course there’s a good ol’ queso on this list. And not just any queso, it’s our best of the best queso. Why is this one the best of the best? Because it is “so creamy and smooth,” and because the “fruitiness from the jalapeno really shines,” according to Jordan. Not only that, but this queso is so good and flavorful that it can be eaten hot or cold. No, seriously. This queso can be eaten cold and it’s still delicious. That’s some borderline magic right there.
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Best Shredded Mozzarella
Best String Cheese
Best Cottage Cheese
Best Trader Joe’s Cheese
Best Cream Cheese
Best Vegan Cheese