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The 7 Best Types of Cheese for Cold Sandwiches

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In this article, I’ll cover some of the most popular sandwich and cheese combinations. By the end, you’ll be ready to prepare a delicious picnic lunch before you know it!

Some of the best cheeses for cold sandwiches include Colby Jack, Pepper Jack, Mozzarella, cheddar, cream cheese, Swiss cheese, and blue cheese. You need a cheese that is easily edible without being melted and also doesn’t take away from the flavors of the other ingredients.

Now, let’s go through them in great detail.

1. Colby Jack Cheese

Sandwich with ham, pepperoni, colby jackcheese and bologna with ham

Colby Jack has a mild, sweet flavor that makes it the perfect accompaniment to sandwiches that have ingredients rich in flavor, like salami and pickled vegetables. This cheese is orange and white in color and is generally a combination of orange Colby and white Monterey Jack cheeses.

Aside from working well in cold sandwiches, Colby Jack is also a great option with grilled cheese. Alternatively, the sweetness of the cheese means it pairs well with fruits, especially pears and apples.

2. Pepper Jack Cheese

Top close view of pepper jack cheese slices on a white plate

Pepper Jack is a variant of Monterey Jack cheese that boasts a buttery, spicy flavor thanks to the inclusion of peppers and chilies in the cheese. Depending on the chili used in the cheese, it can offer a gently spicy or a much stronger kick of flavor. 

Most Pepper Jacks complement sandwiches with ingredients that have more of a neutral flavor, such as turkey, lettuce, and ham. For a great Pepper Jack cold sandwich, make a sandwich using: 

  • Turkey
  • Pepper Jack
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Spicy mayo 
  • Chips

You can optionally add pickles, squash, and zucchini. You can also switch out the spicy mayo and lettuce for basil mayo.

3. Mozzarella Cheese

Soft mozzarella cheese on a plate with lettuce

Made by stretching cheese curds and kneading them with heated whey, mozzarella is best known as the perfect, traditional cheese topping for a pizza. However, the smooth, flexible consistency makes it perfect for cold sandwiches.

Mozzarella is a mild, slightly salty cheese. The best mozzarellas have a slightly tangy flavor that enhances the flavor of the other ingredients in a sandwich. 

This cheese goes very well with cold Italian sandwiches, such as a basil, tomato, and mozzarella sandwich or a Caprese sandwich.

4. Cheddar Cheese

Deli meat sandwich with turkey and cheddar

Cheddar is a popular option because of its sheer variety. Depending on the age of the cheddar you’re using, it can taste anywhere from buttery and creamy (younger cheddars) to drier, sharp, and nutty (aged cheddars).

This makes it easy to pair cheddar with most sandwich combinations. Sandwiches with strong pickled vegetables, chutneys, and relishes pair very well with young cheddars. On the other hand, milder ingredients like tomatoes and lettuce work perfectly with sharper cheddars.

5. Cream Cheese

Open Cream Cheese with a Knife in it

Cream cheese is a soft, smooth cheese with a mild, tangy taste. It’s most commonly used in cheesecake and as an accompaniment to bagels, but its soft, spreadable texture also makes it a perfect ingredient in sandwiches. 

This cheese is an extremely versatile ingredient in sandwiches. Its consistency means that it’s most commonly used as a mayo substitute, not only in sandwiches but also in salads as well. 

Additionally, this cheese pairs exceedingly well with cold vegetable sandwiches, especially ones with cucumber. In fact, the consistency of cream cheese makes it uniquely well-suited to cucumber sandwiches – not only does the combination taste good, but the consistency means you don’t have to worry about the cucumber slices slipping out!

6. Swiss Cheese

A sandwich with swiss cheese lettuce and tomato

When people talk about Swiss cheese, they’re generally talking about Emmental. It’s essential to remember this because there are several other kinds of cheese from Switzerland, and unless you specify what you mean, there’s a risk you could get a cheese you don’t expect, such as American Swiss, Raclette, or Gruyère. 

Emmental cheese has a buttery, fruity flavor. If you happen to get American Swiss instead of Emmental – a relatively common mistake given both have the “holes” that “Swiss” cheese is known for – it will have a nuttier flavor instead. That said, no matter whether you get American Swiss or Emmental, both work well with cold sandwiches.

Specifically, their rich taste means both pair well with ham sandwiches. Additionally, they work well with ingredients like olives, pickles, potatoes, and salami. To really add flavor to your cold sandwich, consider pairing your Emmental/American Swiss cheese with Dijon mustard and fillings of your choice.

7. Blue Cheese

Sandwich with prosciutto, blue cheese and rosemary on a dark background

Blue cheese is admittedly not for everyone – but if you’re a fan of this cheese, it’s a great addition to your cold sandwiches. 

This cheese has a creamy, piquant flavor and a sharp taste that lingers in your mouth for some time after you eat it. Some blue cheeses are slightly salty, though a good blue cheese should never be too salty. 

The sharpness of blue cheese pairs well with most deli meats. If you’re a fan of the flavor, you should pair it with milder meats like ham and turkey. Alternatively, if you enjoy the creaminess but aren’t a fan of how sharp blue cheese can taste, you can mask the flavor with a meat like salami.

What Cheese Goes Well With Cold Cuts?

Some cheeses that work well with several different cold cuts include Pepper Jack, blue cheese, and cheddar. However, most cheeses have at least one cold cut they can pair well with.

What Cheese Is Best on a Cold Turkey Sandwich?

Pepper Jack is the best cheese with a cold turkey sandwich. This cheese offers a sharp, spicy flavor that pairs well with the more neutral flavor of turkey.

However, if you prefer a cheese that doesn’t overpower the taste of the turkey meat, you can try mozzarella, Colby Jack, Monterey Jack, or cheddar cheese. If you plan on grilling your turkey sandwich instead of eating it warm, cheeses that melt well, like Emmental, provolone, and gouda, are also good options.

What Cheese Goes Best With Cold Ham Sandwich?

Cheddar goes best with a cold ham sandwich. The wide variety of cheddar cheese means you can determine how strong you want your sandwich to be. While sharp cheddar pairs best with ham, you can also try a mild or an extra sharp cheddar, depending on your taste preferences.

What Is the Most Popular Cold Sandwich?

The most popular cold sandwich is the turkey sandwich, followed closely by the ham sandwich. The most popular sweet cold sandwich is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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For more, don’t miss The Best Vinegar for Sandwiches (7 Tasty Options).

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