Types of Hard Cheese

The moisture content of a cheese decides its texture and firmness. Cheeses that contain 40% or less water have a characteristic firm texture and are grouped as hard cheese.

Cheese production involves aging curdled milk, so certain enzymes and bacteria can transform the milk proteins’ structure to make them coagulate and stick together. This aging is the key to the moisture content of cheese, as aging for a longer time makes it drier and harder. Hard cheeses are aged for several months to years to achieve their intense aroma and dense texture.

They usually have a longer shelf life than soft and semi-hard varieties. According to USDA, they can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to a month. You can refrigerate unopened packages for 5-6 months without significantly changing their taste and flavor.

Types of Hard Cheese List

The Common and Notable Types of Hard Cheese

There are hundreds of different types of hard cheese, with the following table containing only a few of the most noteworthy. It includes common types like parmesan, cheddar, and gouda, along with rarer yet equally delicious cheeses like Mimolette and grana padano.

NameMilk SourceTaste & TextureCountry of OriginCalories/100 gmHow to Eat
HalloumiSheep or GoatSalty, firm, and squeaky when grilledCyprus~90 kcalGrilled, fried, and used in salads; pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé wines
CheddarCowSharp and creamyEngland~110 kcalEaten on its own or added to pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and mac and cheese; with Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec
Grana PadanoCowNutty and savory with a granular and crumbly textureItaly~110 kcalGrated over pasta, salads, risotto, or enjoyed on its own
Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano)CowNutty and granularItaly~120 kcalIn pasta, pizza, salads, and soups; with Chardonnay or Pinot Noir
Swiss CheeseCowNutty, slightly sweet with a firm and elastic texture and characteristic holesSwitzerland~110 kcalSandwiches (Reuben sandwiches), burgers, and fondues
GoudaCowMild, sweet, and creamyNetherlands~100 kcalPizza and sandwiches, or eaten on its own; with Merlot or Chardonnay
ManchegoSheepButtery with a nutty flavorSpain~100 kcalEaten on its own, in tapas, and with fruit; with fruity and spicy wines like Tempranillo
ColbyCowMild and mellowUnited States~110 kcalIn sandwiches and salads, or enjoyed on its own
Pecorino RomanoSheepSharp, salty, and tangy, and crumblyItaly~110 kcalGrated over pasta dishes (like cacio e pepe) and salads
AsiagoCowNutty and slightly tangy with a crumbly texture, similar to parmesan, but creamierItaly~110 kcalIn pasta, risotto, and as a table cheese
Colby JackCowMild, creamy, and slightly tangyUnited States~100 kcalSnacking and sandwiches, or melted in nachos
GruyèreCowNutty and creamySwitzerland~120 kcalFondue and sandwiches; pairs well with lighter-body Pinot Noir
MimoletteCowSharp and fruityFrance~100 kcalAs a snack and grated over dishes
Humboldt FogGoatCreamy, with a stronger flavor than Monetery Jack.United States~90 kcalCheese plates and salads,or served with crusty bread
PinconningCowMild and butteryUnited States~110 kcalSliced on crackers, used in sandwiches, or enjoyed as a snack.
Cougar GoldCowCreamy, smooth, and cheddar-likeUSA (Washington)~120 kcalSpread on crackers and used in cooking
KefalogravieraSheep or GoatSweet and nuttyGreece~110 kcalGrilled, fried, or in Mediterranean dishes
Pule Cheese (regarded as the world’s most expensive cheese)DonkeyMild and crumbly with a unique flavorSerbiaNot availableTraditionally eaten on its own or with bread
KasseriSheep or GoatButtery and tangyGreece~100 kcalGrilled, fried, or in casseroles
IdiazabalSheepSmoky with a nutty flavorSpain~120 kcalEaten on its own ow added to traditional Spanish dishes
KefalotyriSheep or GoatSharp and saltyGreece~100 kcalGrated over pasta, salads, or fries
Tête de MoineCowNutty with a complex flavorSwitzerland~110 kcalShaved or scraped into fries before serving
CheshireCowCrumbly, tangy, and moistEngland~110 kcalEaten on its own or in sandwiches
OscypekSheepSmoky and saltyPoland~100 kcalGrilled or pan-fried
Red LeicesterCowNutty, mellow, and smoothEngland~120 kcalMelted in dishes or eaten on its own
GravieraSheep or GoatSweet and nuttyGreece~120 kcalGrated over pastas, salads, and added to pies
AppenzellerCowSpicy with herbal notes Switzerland~110 kcalMaking cheese sauces and fondue, or eaten with bread
MahónCowSharp and fruitySpain~90 kcalEaten on its own or in salads
BeemsterCowRich and creamyNetherlands~100 kcalAs a snack and in sandwiches, also grated over dishes
CaerphillyCowCrumbly, tangy, and moistWales~100 kcalSandwiches, salads, and on cheeseboards
LancashireCowCreamy, tangy, and crumblyEngland~90 kcalEaten on its own or in sandwiches
LeydenCowSpiced with cumin and caraway seedsNetherlands~100 kcalEaten on its own or in sandwiches
Lincolnshire PoacherCowNutty and complexEngland~115 kcalEaten on its own or in sandwiches
Russian CheeseCowSlightly tangy with a grainy textureRussia~100 kcalEaten on its own or in sandwiches
Dry JackCowCreamy, with a stronger flavor than Monetery Jack.United States~130 kcalSandwiches, omletes, pasta, pizza, and tacos
Chhurpi (hard variant)YakHard and chewyHimalayan region~90 kcalChewed as a snack; may be used in traditional local recipes

List of Some More Types of Hard Cheese

  • São Jorge Cheese
  • Canastra (hard variant)
  • Rumi Cheese
  • Swaledale
  • Zamorano
  • Har Bracha
  • Bra Cheese (hard variant)
  • Yaroslavsky
  • milbenkäse
  • Roncal
  • Västerbotten
  • L’Etivaz
  • Picodon (hard variant)
  • Anari (hard variant)
  • Paški Sir
  • Roomano
  • Teviotdale
  • Dunlop Cheese
  • Prästost
  • Schabziger
  • Tome Fraîche
  • Abertam
  • Berner Alpkäse
  • Bosnian smoked cheese
  • Bündner Bergkäse
  • Capricious cheese
  • Chura kampo
  • Duddleswell
  • Formaela
  • Gran Castelli
  • Hereford Hop
  • Hirtenkäse
  • Kanterkaas
  • Koryciński
  • Ladotyri Mytilinis
  • Livno cheese
  • Mihaliç Peyniri
  • Moskovsky
  • Mutschli
  • Nieheimer
  • Picón Bejes-Tresviso
  • Queijo de Nisa
  • Tomme des Pyrénées
  • Vlaskaas
  • Y Fenni
  • Dinarski sir
  • Friesian cheese
  • Gamonéu
  • Krčki sir
  • Murcian wine cheese
  • Pata de mulo
  • Ardagh Castle Goats Cheese
  • Krivi Vir caciocavallo
  • Pirot caciocavallo
  • Šar cheese (hard variant)
  • Svrljig caciocavallo
  • Röthenbacher Bergkäse
  • Jibne Baida
  • Ashdown Foresters
  • Dinarski sir iz maslinove komine
  • Težački sir iz maslinove komine
  • Dubrovački sir
  • Ovidur
  • Altaysky
  • Chyorny Altai
  • Gornoaltaysky
  • Poshekhonsky
  • Uglichsky
  • Bukovinskyi
  • Dobrodar
  • Smetankowyi
  • Ukraїnskyi


How long can you keep hard cheese unrefrigerated?

Though opinions on this matter vary from person to person, it is safer not to leave your cheese sitting out of the refrigerator for over 2-3 hours.

Can you freeze hard cheese?

Being low on moisture, most hard cheeses, like cheddar, gouda, parmesan, and Swiss cheese, freeze well and can retain their taste and texture when thawed.

Does hard cheese have lactose?

Hard cheeses are counted among low-lactose foods because the aging process allows the bacteria to eliminate most of the lactose present. So, the longer a cheese is aged, the less lactose it will likely contain. Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan are known to have only trace amounts of lactose.

What are some examples of hard white cheese?

Most white cheeses come in a yellowish or orange hue, but cheddar and Cheshire are two varieties that often come in a white variety.