Burgers are a staple in American cuisine, and among other items – such as ketchup, pickles, and onions – cheese is a common topping.
There is something to adding cheese to various dishes that makes eating food that much more enjoyable. However, one could argue that the melted goodness of cheese complements burgers the best.
Whether you are planning on making burgers for your family and want to select a single type of cheese or grilling for a backyard barbecue and aim to have different types of cheese presented to your guests, it’s worth knowing more about the different types of cheese.
Though just about any cheese can serve a noteworthy culinary purpose, some cheese is simply better suited for burgers. The following list features my take on some of the best cheese for burgers and the key reasons for selecting each of them.
American cheese is mild, creamy, and has a faint buttery taste.
It melts easily and is often used in processed foods such as macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and cheeseburgers.
While American cheese is technically a “cheese spread” and not actual cheese, it is made with real cheese – like Cheddar and Colby – and other dairy products.
American is one of the most common types of cheese used on burgers because of its low melting point. It melts quickly and evenly, creating a smooth and consistent texture.
I wouldn’t say American cheese is my favorite because it has a very “processed” taste, but some people love it! Plus, if you have it at a party, it is still an agreeable taste that won’t disappoint anyone.
Cheddar is a hard, sharp cheese that has a slightly crumbly texture. It ranges in color from white to yellowish-orange and has a nutty flavor.
Cheddar is one of the most popular types of cheese, and it is also one of the best cheeses for burgers.
Similar to American cheese, it melts quickly and easily, creating a smooth and creamy texture.
However, I find that Cheddar has a much more complex flavor than American cheese. It is sharp and tangy but also has a nutty sweetness.
This makes it the perfect cheese for burgers because it compliments the savory taste of the beef while also adding a bit of sweetness.
Brie is a soft, creamy cheese that has a thin, edible rind. It is made with cow’s milk and has a mild, earthy flavor.
Brie is an excellent cheese for burgers because of its rich, creamy texture. The flavor is mild so that it won’t overpower the taste of the burger.
Plus, the rind is edible, so you don’t have to worry about removing it before adding the cheese to your burger.
I would recommend slicing the Brie into thin pieces so that it melts evenly on the burger.
I would also recommend adding apple chips and arugula to this burger because something extraordinary happens when apple, arugula, and Brie come together!
Blue cheese is a type of cheese that has blue or green “veins” or spots running through it.
It is made with cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk and has a sharp, salty flavor.
Blue cheese is a type of cheese people either love or hate, but if you love it – which I do – it makes an excellent addition to a burger.
The intense flavor of blue cheese pairs well with the savory taste of the meat, and the creamy texture perfectly pairs with the burger’s firmer.
I suggest adding blue cheese to a burger if you are looking for a real flavor punch, especially a savory bacon burger.
However, if you are serving a large group of people, Blue cheese shouldn’t be the only option.
Provolone is a mild type of cheese that is made with cow’s milk. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a semi-soft consistency.
I typically like provolone on cold-cut meat sandwiches, but I think they work well for burgers too.
This is another cheese that melts evenly and smoothly, but it has a milder taste than some of the other options.
This is fitting for a standard burger with few other toppings, especially not high-flavor toppings like jalapenos or pickles.
These flavors could drown out the taste of the provolone completely.
Monterey Jack, or “Jack” cheese, is a white, semi-hard cheese from a cow.
This Californian cheese is a simple flavor with a slight sweetness.
That’s why I like putting it on burgers with sweeter flavors like pineapple or BBQ sauce.
The mild taste of Jack cheese won’t compete with these toppings, but it will still add a smooth and creamy texture to the burger.
Other toppings that go well with Monterey Jack include spinach, fig jam, and balsamic vinegar.
People commonly know how Mozzarella cheese plays a significant role in Italian dishes like pizza and chicken parm.
But Mozzarella can be excellent for a burger, too – especially a fried chicken burger! But you can use it on beef burgers as well.
Mozzarella will melt down into the stretchy strands we know and love, adding an interesting texture to the meat.
I recommend getting fresh Mozzarella for this burger, as the flavor is much better than pre-packaged.
Goat cheese is made with goat’s milk, as its name suggests. It has a tangy flavor and a creamy texture.
I love goat cheese on burgers because it adds a unique flavor you don’t find with other cheeses.
It also has a bit of a “crumbly” texture, so it works well as a topping for burgers.
I would recommend adding goat cheese to a burger if you are looking for something different or if you want a burger with a lot of toppings.
My favorite toppings for a goat cheese burger are caramelized onions and mushrooms.
Smoked Gouda is one of my favorite cheeses, so it’s no surprise that I think it’s the best cheese for burgers.
Gouda is a yellow, creamy, sweet cow milk cheese from the Netherlands with a semi-hard or hard texture.
It doesn’t melt as quickly as some of the other cheeses on this list, but it does melt eventually into a smooth and creamy texture that’s worth the slight delay.
The flavor of Gouda is nutty, caramelly, and slightly sweet, with a butterscotch tone and a smoky taste from the smoking process.
I think this cheese pairs well with just about any burger, but my favorite is a Gouda and bacon burger with spicy pickles, barbecue sauce, and a little bit of honey.
Although I love Gouda on burgers, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for a party or a barbecue because this burger style needs more time and attention to perfect.
Emmental is a yellow, hard cheese from Switzerland with a nutty, fruity, and slightly sweet flavor.
This cheese is also known as “Swiss cheese,” although there are many types of Swiss cheese.
Emmental works well on burgers because the flavor is strong enough to stand up to the burger but not so strong that it overpowers the other flavors.
The texture of Emmental is also perfect for burgers, as it melts evenly and smoothly.
I recommend Emmental for a burger with medium-strength flavors, such as relish, red cabbage, and dijon mustard.
As Emmental is a form of Swiss cheese, the two types are common and both great for burgers.
However, “standard” Swiss cheese might be optimal if you don’t enjoy the more buttery taste of Emmental.
You’ll still get the primary nutty flavor and a bolder overall taste with Swiss cheese.
This means that it goes well with even more intense ingredients such as bacon, jalapeños, and onions without being overpowered.
Some people don’t like the fact that there are holes in Swiss and Emmental cheese because it doesn’t 100% cover the burger. But I say that’s just an excuse to put an extra slice of cheese on it!