Blue cheese is one of the oldest and most flavorful varieties of cheese available on the market.
With a unique salty, creamy, and tangy flavor profile, blue cheese is a favorite for many when it comes to salads, burgers and dips.
But what exactly is blue cheese? This article will explain what makes blue cheese unique, different types of blue cheeses, as well as some common substitutes for those that can’t eat or don’t like the taste of blue cheese.
What is Blue Cheese?
Blue cheese is a type of cheese that has blue-green veins throughout, often due to the presence of Mold inhibitor.
It has a very distinctive flavor and odor, which can range from mild and sweet to sharp and tangy.
The color of blue cheese usually comes from the use of certain strains of Penicillium that have been added.
The most popular variety is Roquefort, though other types exist such as Gorgonzola, Stilton, Danish Blue and Cambozola.
In general, blue cheeses are best served with strong flavors such as dark chocolates or sweet fruits.
They can be added to sauces or used as an ingredient in salads or pasta dishes for a unique flavor profile.
Blue cheese tends to be higher in fat than some other cheeses due to its aged nature.
Because it is aged longer it becomes softer in texture, becoming almost creamy when crumbled or melted into dishes like casseroles or Mac & Cheese.
The distinct flavor of blue cheese means that it should not be substituted with just any kind of cheese; choose wisely when swapping out blue cheese with any one of these five great substitutes: goat cheese, gouda, ricotta salata, feta and cream cheese.
How to Use Blue Cheese in Recipes?
Blue cheese, also known as Roquefort or Gorgonzola, is a type of cheese that has a distinctive blue-grayish hue and an unmistakable tangy flavor.
It has a sharp and salty taste that comes from the bacteria cultures added during the ripening process.
Blue cheese is often aged for several months, which further contributes to the strong flavor at a time when the cheese develops its unique mold veins.
It is commonly used in salads, crostini dishes, sandwiches and soups or added to creamy Blue Cheese dressing.
There are numerous variations of blue cheese such as Gorgonzola Dolce (creme fraiche with blue mold) and Roquefort (a sheep’s milk variety).
Some may find blue cheese too pungent so there are some substitutes that have similar flavors without being too intense.
5 Best Blue Cheese Substitutes to Consider
Blue cheese is a popular favorite in salads, dressings and other dishes.
It has a distinct taste that can be difficult to create with another type of cheese.
Here are five top substitutes for blue cheese you can try out:
1 – Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is a great substitute for blue cheese in many recipes.
It has a salty, tangy taste and its texture is crumbly and soft.
Moreover, its flavor is less intense than blue cheese, making it a good choice for those who don’t like the strong taste of blue cheese.
Feta also adds a creamy essence to dishes that make up for the sweetness that other non-blue cheeses might lack.
As an added bonus, feta cheese is lower in calories than heavier cheeses like blue or Roquefort.
This makes it a great choice if you’re trying to watch your fat intake.
2 – Queso Fresco
Queso Fresco, or ‘Fresh Cheese’ is a mild cheese commonly used in Central and South American cuisine.
Like blue cheese, queso fresco is a crumbly cheese with a salty flavor, but with a much milder taste and less of an intense tang.
It’s perfect as a substitute for blue cheese in recipes where the distinct flavor of blue cheese isn’t necessary but where you still need a salty crumbly texture; such as salads, tacos and wraps.
Queso fresco works especially well in dishes where it can be melted into something else like omelets or quesadillas.
3 – Gorgonzola Cheese
Gorgonzola cheese is part of the blue cheese family and is produced in Italy.
It has a strong, salty flavor and a soft, crumbly texture much like blue cheese.
Gorgonzola should be sliced and served at room temperature.
Although it can have a strong smell, it’s mild and creamy in flavor – perfect for adding to salads or pizza.
It can also be melted over Burgers or used as a topping on pasta dishes.
4 – Roquefort Cheese
Roquefort Cheese is often compared to other blue cheeses due to its strong, salty flavor, although some people find it to be slightly milder.
Its texture is also slightly crumbly, and its color is pale greyish-green or yellow.
It’s made from whole sheep’s milk and aged for a minimum of three months in natural caves near the village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in southern France.
During the aging process penicillium roqueforti mold spores develop, giving the cheese its signature blue color and rich flavor.
The cheese appeals to many aficionados because of its intensely flavorful, tangy taste and pungent aroma.
Roquefort cheese is an excellent substitute for blue cheese in dressings, omelets, salads and sauces; it can also be used as a topping on burgers or steaks.
5 – Stilton Cheese
Stilton cheese is one of the five great blues, (along with Cashel Blue, Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Bleu de Bresse).
Like many of its blue cheese cousins, Stilton has a creamy texture and tangy yet sweet flavor.
Some would describe the taste as pungent.
While often associated with England, it’s actually an artisanal cow’s milk cheese from three counties in the Midlands: Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and Leicestershire.
Stilton is a unique blue cheese made of Cows’ milk is pasturized before it goes through a ripening process that lasts between six to eight weeks depending on production – sometimes longer for exported varieties.
During this time period bacteria (Penicillium Roqueforti) grows in air pockets throughout the semi-hard paste.
This creates its veining patterns and creates its well-known ‘bite’ when eaten – which some would consider similar to bleu d’Auvergne or Roquefort cheeses.
Its blueish rind can range from white crusty to almost black dried out patches which adds to its partly crumbly texture; the rind can be eaten although many don’t find it as pleasant as they do with regular hard styles of cheese like cheddar or gouda.
As far as substitutes go Stilton works excellently in mellow flavors where bleu cheese would work well alongside dishes such as Burgers and salads but also works great on toast or simply spread on crackers too.
As you can see, blue cheese is a versatile and flavorful ingredient that can be used to add complexity to your favorite dishes.
It’s important to note that many popular forms of blue cheese such as classic Roquefort and Danish blue can be difficult to come by, depending on where you live.
Thankfully, there are plenty of tasty alternatives available from supermarkets or specialty stores that can offer similar levels of flavor and richness.
Whether you’re looking for a milder option or a more piquant taste, there is likely an alternative form of blue cheese out there for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Blue Cheese?
Blue cheese is a type of cheese made from cow’s, sheep’s, or goat’s milk that has had cultures of the mold Penicillium added.
This produces the distinctive blue veins that run throughout the cheese.
What is the best substitute for Blue Cheese?
The best substitutes for blue cheese are feta, gorgonzola, goat cheese, ricotta salata, and roquefort.
Are there any vegan substitutes for Blue Cheese?
Yes, there are vegan substitutes for blue cheese such as vegan blue cheese made from cashews, coconut yogurt, and nutritional yeast, as well as mashed avocado mixed with lemon and salt.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!