Most Popular Cheese for Salads

From the boldness of blue cheese to the barely-there whisper of mozzarella, the world of cheese is enticingly diverse.  It’s a particularly standout ingredient in salads. It elevates the sensory experience by harmonizing with existing flavors and textures– think mozzarella paired with avocado– or adding intriguing contrast and complexity. 

salad with cheese and other toppings

Cheese also has the innate ability to bridge ingredients, unifying diverse flavors into a more homogenized whole. 

For example, goat cheese’s creamy tanginess simultaneously accentuates the sweetness of ripe stone fruits while tempering the bitterness of leafy greens, resulting in a more well-rounded dish. 

Let’s take a gastronomic globetrot through 11 of the best types of cheese for salads, starting with a farmhouse classic hailing from Somerset, England. 


chicken salad with cheddar cheese

Satisfy your craving for sharp, full-bodied flavor with cheddar as a salad topping.

Its sharp, tangy notes enliven and add depth to Cobb salads and hearty kale creations. 

The firm texture suits protein toppings like grilled chicken or warm bacon, making it the perfect cheese for outdoor barbecues and cozy family dinners.

Goat Cheese

salad with goat cheese

Goat cheese’s creamy texture and deep, earthy undertones are a masterful balance act that elevates spinach salads and accentuates fruits like strawberries or pears. 

Its sophisticated flavor is enticingly nuanced, especially paired with roasted walnuts to emphasize its depth and a vinegar-based dressing to highlight its tangier top notes.

Swiss Cheese

chef salad with swiss cheese

The mild nuttiness of Swiss is a boon to chef salads, perfectly complementing the saltiness of deli meats like ham or turkey

Its holey charm adds visual appeal– we eat with our eyes, after all– while the delicate taste layers best with lighter fare, like the understated grassiness of avocado and sprouts.

Blue Cheese

salad with walnuts, blue cheese, and apples

For the bold and adventurous, blue cheese’s rich, pungent aroma and intense, earthy flavor invigorates wedge salads and robust greens, transforming them into a gourmet masterpiece. 

Balance blue cheese’s indulgent nature with the intense flavors of candied pecans, tart apples, and zesty vinaigrettes. 

Feta Cheese

greek salad with feta

Bask in the Mediterranean sun with feta’s salty sharpness and crumbly texture.

It’s the best part of a Greek salad, playing nice with the light crunch of cucumbers, olives’ distinctive brininess, and the juicy pop of tomato. 

Feta also makes a refreshingly vibrant addition to the savory sweetness of watermelon salad. 


salad with grilled halloumi

Succulently chewy halloumi’s salty, squeaky bite elevates nectarine salad or grain-based creations.

Its high melting point welcomes grilling or frying with open arms, adding a warm, golden touch to your dish. 

Halloumi is a must-try for those searching for texture and richness in their salads. 


grilled chicken caesar salad

Grated or shaved, Parmesan’s umami-rich nuttiness is a classic topper for Caesar salad and peppery, arugula-based dishes. 

This hard, aged cheese imparts a thrilling complexity when paired with grill-blistered vegetables in warm salads or the sweet oiliness of pine nuts.

Toss it together with roasted bell peppers, arugula, prosciutto, and pine nuts for a distinctive summertime side.

Cottage Cheese

salad with cottage cheese

Cottage cheese’s cool creaminess lightens up fruit salads and complements the hearty earthiness of kale. 

Its protein-rich nutritional profile makes it surprisingly satiating, while the mild flavor lets the brightness of citrus dressings shine. 

At the same time, it’s versatile and rich but isn’t afraid to let other ingredients stand in the spotlight while it proudly plays second fiddle. 


salad with gouda

Smooth buttery gouda ranks amongst the best cheese for salads thanks to its caramel-like sweetness that masterfully coaxes out the saccharinity of ingredients like roasted beets and grilled peaches. 

This dairy darling from the Netherlands dances beautifully with the fatty saltiness of prosciutto.

I like it particularly when tossed with a mix of delicate spring greens, tart apples, and hearty, homemade croutons. 


salad with tomatoes and mozzarella

The milky delicacy of mozzarella is the best thing to ever happen to a Caprese salad, as its tender creaminess allows the more vibrant textures and flavors of cherry tomatoes, herbaceously peppery basil, and the honeyed richness of balsamic reduction. 

It has a purpose outside of the classics, though, particularly when paired with a chopped salad of avocado, cucumber, and heirloom tomatoes. 

Ricotta Cheese

salmon salad with ricotta

Ricotta’s velvety texture and mild sweetness bring undeniable decadence to beet salads and spinach-based dishes, but it pairs best with fresh herbs, figs, and a drizzle of honey. 

It’s a genuinely luxurious cheese that offers a sophisticatedly sumptuous touch to any salad experience. 

What’s Your Favorite Cheese To Add To Salads?

Step up your salad game with these cheese toppings, and tell us which cheese you like to add to your salad in the comment section below!

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.