The Best Melting Cheeses

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Some cheeses melt better than others.
Some cheeses melt better than others. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The world is full of cheese varieties, some soft and runny, some hard and dry. While some types of cheese are best eaten as they are, there are others that are the most delicious when melted. Whether used in grilled cheese sandwiches, turned into cheese sauce, grated over enchiladas or melted in quesadillas, cheeses that are made to melt will please you and your family.

Gruyere and Emmental

Gruyere and Emmental are varieties of semi-firm Swiss cheese. They both possess the signature Swiss cheese nuttiness and holey texture. Both are excellent melting cheeses and are typically used in fondue, as well as in grilled sandwiches and sauces (Gruyere is the cheese called for in traditional Mornay sauce recipes). Gruyere has an earthier flavor, sometimes reminiscent of mushrooms.

Fontina

Fontina is a semi-firm Italian cheese, similar in texture when melted to Gruyere and Emmental, but with a milder flavor. It has a slight nuttiness and is very buttery. In classic fonduta recipes (Italy's version of fondue), fontina is the preferred cheese.

Jack

Even milder than fontina, Jack cheese melts extremely well but doesn't impart much flavor. The mildness of this cheese has led to many flavored varieties that also melt well, such as Pepper Jack and Garlic Jack. Jack cheese can also be combined with other, more flavorful cheeses to add its lovely melted texture to dishes such as grilled cheese or macaroni and cheese.

Taleggio

An aromatic semi-soft Italian cheese, Taleggio is a pleasantly creamy cheese whose flavor is less intense than its smell. The rind is edible but should be removed before melting. Taleggio is very buttery and soft and melts well on bread. It can also be mixed into risotto and baked in casseroles, particularly baked pasta dishes.

Brie and Camembert

Brie and Camembert are two soft cheeses that are so moist and oozy at room temperature that it takes very little time or effort to melt them. Often, whole rounds of these cheeses are baked in the oven, sometimes covered in a layer of puff pastry. Brie is the milder of the two while Camembert has a much richer flavor.

Blue Cheese

There are many types of blue cheese available, and some are more suited to melting than others. Perhaps the best melting blue cheese is Gorgonzola Dolce, the softer, creamier version of Gorgonzola (Gorgonzola Piccante is a crumblier, more pungent style). Danish blue also melts well, as it is very creamy. Cambozola, which is part Camembert and part blue cheese, is particularly creamy and rich and has a very mild blue cheese flavor.

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