Americans eat a lot of cheese, over 40 lbs per person each year and rising! As a cheesemaker located in the top cheese producing state, Cello is proud to offer a wide selection of delicious cheeses for consumption and enjoyment. But what are the most popular cheeses and how can you use them? Read on for our breakdown of the top five.
What are the 5 most popular cheeses?
Just as there are lots of ways to slice cheese, there are several ways to slice data to determine the most popular cheeses! You can consider what the top selling cheeses, most produced cheeses, and – our favorite category – what cheeses Americans eat most are. Taking all of this into account, in no particular order, here are the 5 most popular cheeses in the US:
- Cheddar Cheese
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- American Cheese
- Cream Cheese
Now that you know which ones are known as “the big cheese,” let’s explore how to cheese confidently with some facts about these most popular cheeses, plus some substitution tips for those of you who want to dabble in the specialty cheese category but don’t know where to start.
How to use cheddar cheese
Cheddar cheese is super versatile, and it’s nearly synonymous with the word cheese in the US (according to a recent survey, it is America’s favorite cheese). In addition to being a key ingredient in many comfort food recipes, it’s also great when paired with wine, such as Malbec or Sauvignon Blanc. A hard or semi-hard cheese found in young and aged forms, cheddar cheese makes a perfect snack or lunchtime replacement when enjoyed with a sliced apple.
Swap for specialty: Go for a subtle flavor difference with an English or Irish cheddar, or try smoked gouda for a signature color and creamy taste. Either way, the key here is unmistakable flavor and versatility.
How to use mozzarella cheese
If you love pizza, you love mozzarella! It’s best known for its shredded form atop what Americans voted as the #1 food they want to eat for the rest of their lives, if they could only pick one.
While we agree you can never go wrong with carbs and cheese, mozzarella comes in many forms like pearls, balls and freshly sliced used in a wide array of Italian delicacies and salad recipes, and often paired with fresh tomatoes. As a kid, you likely enjoyed it as string cheese! No matter how you use it, there’s no denying this young, soft cheese is a crowd pleaser.
Swap for specialty: Feeling adventurous? Have a homemade pizza night and swap the mozzarella for a rubbed fontal. You’re in for a flavorful treat and just as perfect of a melt.
How to use Parmesan cheese
Parmesan, how we love thee, let us count the ways! Parmesan has a special spot in the hearts of Cello cheesemakers, as our Copper Kettle Parmesan has a one-of-a-kind taste from being cooked in copper vats and aged for 16 months.
This hard cheese can be enjoyed in many ways and forms, from grated (its most popular) to block cheese, and it’s a perfect fit in savory and sweet recipes alike. Learn more about the beloved cheese here.
Swap for specialty: Parmesan cheese already falls into the specialty category. But you can have a little more fun with it by trying our Copper Kettle – mentioned above! Once you try it, you’ll never turn back.
How to use American cheese
It doesn’t get much more American than grilling up some burgers on a hot summer night and topping them with – search your feelings, you know it to be true – sliced American cheese! It’s also a top cheese for sandwiches in general, whether as a grilled cheese or layered with lunch meat.
You won’t find “American cheese” in shredded form, but technically, it’s made by mixing cheeses like colby or cheddar. So if you’re searching for that same mild, ooey gooey goodness, grab one of those, or even a monterrey jack.
Swap for specialty: If you’re an American cheese lover (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), we challenge you to start experimenting with specialty cheese here and there. Try swapping that sliced yellow with some Parmesan to level up that next grilled cheese with this recipe or really leveling it up with a trio of premium Italian cheeses with this one.
How to use cream cheese
As bagels are one of America’s top breakfast-on-the-go foods, they are enjoyed most when topped with another one of the most popular cheeses – cream cheese. You can find this cheese spread in a variety of flavors, even dairy-free. It originated in New York in the late 1870s and remains popular for its rich, creamy texture.
While cream cheese only comes in one form, a spread, it’s no one-trick pony! Cream cheese is used in many dip and appetizer recipes, as well as desserts – e.g. star of the show in decadent cheesecakes.
Swap for specialty: If you want even more richness and creaminess, play around with swapping cream cheese with some mascarpone next time – we dare you.
In the eye of the cheese-holder
Regardless of surveys and data, we think the most popular cheeses are whatever ones YOU like eating! For as much as we love making cheese, we love knowing how much you enjoy it.
The specialty cheese category can feel a little intimidating sometimes, which is why you mostly find more mainstream cheeses on this list. We hope the tips for swapping the most popular, commonly used cheeses with some exciting new specialty options helps you try some new things and arms you with some fun cheese talk at your next get together!