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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

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TIP OF THE DAY: Find The Best Melting Cheese

Want more melt? Try a different cheese.
Photo by Paul Johnson | IST.


If you like melted cheese on your burger, veggies and other foods, and appreciate the flavor of good cheese, go for some variations beyond bland American cheese slices. Take a look at the options below: Somewhere on the list is the best melting cheese for you.

Due to its superior melting factor—it doesn’t have great flavor—American cheese is the most popular cheese chosen for burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches.

And it’s not even real cheese! American cheese is a “related cheese product” called “cold packed cheese food” (as one of our colleagues jokes, “It’s what you use to feed your cheese”). Here is the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations that describes it.

The more moisture in a cheese, the more easily it melts. Not surprisingly, these are also good cheeses for fondue.


Soft-Ripened Cheeses: Cheese board favorites like Brie and Camembert have naturally runny centers. They also have subtle mushroomy notes, so are delicious topped with sautéed mushrooms on that burger. Soft-ripened cheeses are uncooked, unpressed cheese, which, as a result, are creamy or even runny when fully ripe. They melt very easily. Don’t trim off the rind—it’s considered a choice part by cheese connoisseurs.

Semisoft Cheeses: These cheeses, springy to the touch, melt easily. Brick, Fontina and Port Salut are popular examples, as are blue cheeses, Butter Käse, Edam, young Gouda, Havarti, Limburger, some Monterey Jacks, Muenster, young Provolone, Teleme and some Tilsits.

Semihard Cheeses: This group, which includes Cheddar, Manchego and Swiss cheeses, is most popular on burgers (after the tonnage winner, American cheese). Although they don’t melt much, they maintain their shape. The difference between semi-hard and semi-soft cheeses is one of moisture: Semi-soft cheeses contain more than 45% water, while semi-hard cheeses contain 30% to 45%. A cheese can start as semi-soft, then move to semi-hard via aging, which evaporates the moisture.

Hard Cheeses: Want Asiago, Parmesan or Romano on your burger or potato? This group has the lowest moisture content, so it will melt only in small shavings. We use a Microplane ribbon grater to get it to melt.

Check out the different types of cheese in our Cheese Glossary.

Burger recipes for every day of the month.

How to melt cheese.


Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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