Basically the Porn Stars of Cheese
Every cheese is beautiful and talented in their own way, but some are just better at melting than others. How well a cheese can melt depends on its moisture content, age, and acidity. Old, grateables like Parmigiano aren’t flexible enough to melt. Tangy freshies like feta and goat cheese soften, but won’t get gooey. And squishies like brie and Taleggio liquefy into an oozing puddle when heated. So, how do you know which cheeses will melt into stretchy seduction?
The best melting cheeses are young, semi-firm fatties like the sexy porn stars below. For best results, always use these queens at room temperature and grate them fresh.
1. Low-Moisture Mozzarella
All hail the pizza queen! This mild mistress is made by heating and hand-stretching the curd, so she always makes the best cheese pull. Low-moisture types have a lot less moisture than fresh mozz, which turns into a soggy mess when heated.
This Italian stallion is stretched just like mozzarella, but she’s packing a funkier flavor. Get yourself some hot ciabatta and panini her up with prosciutto, roasted tomatoes, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
You’ll find this Swiss seductress draped over French onion soup, whisked into fondue, and stuffed inside Croque Madames. I especially love her on this French onion soup grilled cheese.
Funky Fontina is an Alpine-style cheese just like Gruyère, but made in Italy. She’s sporting a silky, supple bod and a slightly beefy flavor that begs for a chargrilled burger and some roasted red peppers.
5. Young AF Cheddar
The older a cheddar gets, the more acidic, dry, and crumbly it becomes. That means it’s more likely to separate when heated. Look for blocks that are a year old or younger, and definitely try it melted over tater thots.
This slightly stanky Frenchie is made for the melt! Traditionally heated under a grilled and scraped onto potatoes, Raclette will add a little funky kink to grilled cheese, mac, or even a hot and willing sausage.
7. Fresh Curds
Basically cheddar in its infancy, cheese curds are young, moist, and serve up a satisfyingly chewy stretch. You’ll want to use curds that have been around for a couple days, which stretch better than the squeaky fresh ones. Chop them up and pair with bacon on a grilled cheese or bake them into a breakfast strata.
8. Queso Oaxaca
This mild, milky Mexican queen melts like the lovechild between Monterey Jack and semi-firm mozzarella. Stuff her into Enchiladas, slide her into a quesadilla, bake her into fundido—she can do it all.
9. Young Gouda
Save the crunchy aged goudas for your platters. Creamy, tangy, and slightly sweet, young gouda makes a sexy little canvas for all kinds of flavor combinations. Slice thin, melt onto a hot slice of wheat toast, then top with sliced green apple and honey.