Firm Cheeses

Firm Cheeses

Cheeses usually become not only firmer but more pungent as they age, so most of the cheeses in this category pack a lot of flavor. They're often grated onto pasta dishes. Firm cheeses have a much longer shelf life than their softer counterparts.


Most blue cheeses are made with cow's milk. Cheeses made with sheep's milk, like Manchego or Pecorino, have more butterfat, which make them richer and creamier. Cheeses made with goat's milk, like Crottin de Chavignol, tend to have a tangy, earthy, and sometimes barnyard flavor.

Asiago (aged)
Asiago (aged)
This grating cheese is similar to Parmesan and Romano, but it's sweeter. It's good on pizza. There's no need to spring for a pricy Italian Asiago--our domestic knock-offs are pretty good. Don't confuse aged Asiago with the relatively obscure fresh Asiago cheese, which is semi-soft.
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cotija, queso anejado
cotija
This is a sharp, salty white grating cheese that softens but doesn't melt when heated. Cacique is a well-known brand. Look for it in Hispanic markets.
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dry jack, dry Monterey
dry jack
This is aged jack cheese.
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firm cheeses, grana, grating cheeses, hard cheeses
firm cheeses
Cheeses usually become not only firmer but more pungent as they age, so most of the cheeses in this category pack a lot of flavor. They're often grated onto pasta dishes. Firm cheeses have a much longer shelf life than their softer counterparts.
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Grana Padano
Grana Padano
This is just like Parmesan, except that it's made in a different part of Italy.
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Kashkaval (aged), Kachkeval (aged)
Kashkaval (aged)
Don't confuse this with ordinary Kashkaval, which is a semi-firm cheese.
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Kefalotyri
Kefalotyri
This tangy hard Greek cheese is often grated over dishes. This can be made from sheep’s milk, goat’s milk or both.
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Manchego (aged), queso Manchego viejo
Manchego (aged)
Aged Manchego cheese is yellow and a terrific grating cheese. Don't confuse it with unaged Manchego cheese, which is almost white, semi-firm, and typically used as a melting cheese
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mimolette cheese, boule de Lille
mimolette cheese
This French cheese is similar to Parmesan cheese, only it's a brilliant orange.
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Mizithra (aged), Mytzithra (aged)
Mizithra (aged)
Don't confuse this salty grating cheese with fresh Mizithra, which is similar to feta. This cheese is dry, crumbly, and very salty. This can be made from sheep’s milk, goat’s milk or both.
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Parmesan cheese, Parmigiano
Parmesan cheese
This firm cheese is pungent and salty, and it's terrific grated on salads, pasta, or pizzas, or served simply with figs, pears, or crusty bread. The best parmesan is the Northern Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano, but less pricy domestic Parmesans are also well regarded.
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Pecorino Tuscano
Pecorino Tuscano
This is a firm Italian sheep's milk cheese.
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queso enchilada, anejo enchilado, queso anejo
queso enchilada
This is a hard Mexican grating cheese that's coated with red chile paste. It is usually made with cow’s milk or a combination of cow and goat’s milk.
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Romano
Romano
Romano is similar to Parmesan and Asiago, only it has a nuttier, sharper, and saltier flavor. It's often grated onto pizzas and pasta dishes to add flavor. Pecorino Romano is made from sheep's milk, Caprino Romano from goat's milk, and Vacchino Romano from cow's milk. Domestic Romanos aren't as well-regarded as Italian Romanos.
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Saenkanter cheese
Saenkanter cheese
This aged Gouda has a very complex, rich flavor.
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Sapsago, Sap sago, Schabziger
Sapsago
This Swiss grating cheese is colored and flavored by a clover-like herb. It's hard to find, but many seek it out as a low-fat substitute for Parmesan and Romano.
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Sbrinz, Swiss Sbrinz
Sbrinz
This hard Swiss cheese resembles Parmesan.
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