Semi-Firm Cheeses

Semi-Firm Cheeses

Semi-firm (or semi-hard) cheeses are pressed during production to remove moisture. As they age, they become even firmer and more pungent and crumbly. Most of these cheeses are great for snacks and sandwiches, and many can be cooked without becoming rubbery or oily.


Semi-firm cheese tend to have a longer shelf life than softer cheeses. Many can last about 1-2 months in the refrigerator if the package isn't opened, 3-4 weeks if opened, and 2 weeks if sliced.


Most semi-firm cheeses are made with cow's milk. Cheeses made with sheep's milk have more butterfat, which make them richer and creamier. Cheeses made with goat's milk, like Gjetost, tend to have a tangy, earthy, and sometimes barnyard flavor.

Abondance
Abondance
This French raw milk cheese has a subtle, nutty flavor. It's a good melting cheese.
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Appenzell, Appenzeller
Appenzell
This is a creamy and pleasantly stinky cheese.
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Asiago (fresh)
Asiago (fresh)
Don't confuse this with aged Asiago, which is a firm grating cheese.
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Beaufort
Beaufort
This semi-firm cheese is slightly sweet and has a nice texture. It's a great melting cheese, so it's often used in fondues.
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Caciotta, Casciotta
Caciotta
This mild Italian cheese is made with a blend of sheep's milk and cow's milk cheese.
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Caerphilly
Caerphilly
This Welsh cow's milk cheese is crumbly and a good melter.
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Cantal
Cantal
This French cheese is sweet when young but earthy and grassy when aged. It's a reliable party-pleaser--mild but complex.
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Cheddar, Tillamook
Cheddar
The curds of many English cheeses are "cheddared" or cut them into slabs and stacked to allow whey to drain off. Some cheddars have more lactose in them, making them "sharp" or acidic. Less sharp cheddars are often labeled "mild" or "medium." England supplies many fine Cheddars, as does Vermont and Tillamook, Oregon.
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Cheshire  , Blue Cheshire
Cheshire
Said to be England's oldest cheese, is a good cooking cheese. Blue Cheshire is a blue-veined version.
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chevre (aged)
Don't confuse this aged goat cheese with the far more common chevre frais (fresh chevre). Use within a few days after purchasing. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.
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Colby
This Wisconsin cheese resembles a mild Cheddar.
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Comte, Comté, Comte Gruyere, Gruyère du Comté
Comte
This excellent French cow's milk cheese dates from the time of Charlemagne. It has a mildly sweet, nutty flavor, much like Gruyère. It's a very good melting cheese.
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Derby cheese, Derby Sage cheese, Derbyshire cheese
Derby cheese
Includes: Derby Sage cheese (pictured), which is flavored with sage.
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Edam
Edam
This has a red wax coating.
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Emmental, Bavarian Swiss cheese, Emmentaler, Emmenthal, Emmenthaler
Emmental
This Swiss cheese is riddled with holes and has a mild, nutty flavor. It's an excellent melting cheese, and a key ingredient in many fondues.
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fontina
fontina
This well-regarded cheese is mild but interesting, and it's a good melter.
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gamonedo, gamoneú, queso gamonedo
gamonedo
This expensive Spanish cheese is made from the milks of cows, sheep, and goats. It's smoked, giving it a very complex flavor. It is made from mixture of cow, sheep and goat’s milk.
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Gjetost
Gjetost
This tastes a bit like caramelized American cheese.
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Gloucester
Gloucester
This orange cheddar-like cheese comes from England. Varieties include Single Gloucester, which is ripened for only two months, and Double Gloucester, which is more highly regarded and flavorful. Huntsman cheese contains layers of Gloucester and Stilton.
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Graviera
Graviera
It is usually made with cow’s milk or a combination of cow and sheep’s milk.
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Gruyere
Gruyere
Gruyères are excellent melting cheeses, and they're commonly used to make fondues, soufflés, gratins, and hot sandwiches. Varieties include Swiss Gruyère, Beaufort, and Comte.
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Idiazabal cheese, Idiazábal cheese, queso vasco
Idiazabal cheese
This salty, sharp and crumbly Basque cheese is made with raw sheep's milk. It's usually smoked and aged before it hits the stores. It's a good cheese to grate in salads, melt on meats, or eat with crackers. Try serving it with sherry.
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Jarlsberg
Jarlsberg
This is a Norwegian knock-off of Emmentaler. It's mild, creamy yellow, and has large holes.
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Kashkaval, Kachkeval
Kashkaval
This is a Bulgarian version of Italy's Caciocavallo cheese. It becomes much firmer as it ages and turns into a good grating cheese. It is usually made with cow’s milk or a combination of cow and sheep’s milk.
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kasseri
kasseri
This salty and tangy Greek cheese is made from sheep's milk. It's great on pizza.
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Lancashire
Lancashire
This is a rich, tangy, and crumbly cow's milk cheese produced in Britain. It's a good melting cheese.
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Leerdammer
Leerdammer
This Dutch cheese is similar to Emmental or Jarlberg, only milder.
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Leicester, Red Leicester, Leicestershire
Leicester
This is an English cheese that's very similar to cheddar.
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Leyden, Leiden
Leyden
This Dutch cheese is flavored with cumin and caraway seeds.
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mahon, Mahón
mahon
This well-regarded Spanish cheese is a terrific snacking cheese, but it's also incorporated into casseroles. Try it with sherry.
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Manchego cheese
Manchego cheese
Don't confuse this with aged Manchego cheese, which is firm and yellow, and typically used for grating. Younger Manchego cheese is sweet and nutty. It melts nicely and is often used in quesadillas.
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Nøkkelost, Nokkelost
Nøkkelost
This Norwegian cheese is seasoned with caraway seeds, cumin, and cloves.
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raclette
raclette
People often melt this Swiss cheese and dip new potatoes into it.
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Saint Nectaire cheese, St. Nectaire cheese
Saint Nectaire cheese
This French cheese has a rich, nutty flavor.
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Swiss cheese, American Swiss cheese
Swiss cheese
This popular cheese is an American knock-off of Switzerland's Emmentaler cheese. This difference is that our domestic version usually has smaller eyes (making it easier to slice) and is made from pasteurized milk. Emmentaler has a richer, nuttier flavor.
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Tete de Moine, Tête de Moine
Tete de Moine
This is a very pungent Swiss cow's milk cheese.
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Wensleydale
Wensleydale
This is a fairly mild English cheese.
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