Monterey Jack cheese is a white cheese that is named after the city in California. It is typically only aged for a single month and is made from cow’s milk to create a semi-hard texture.
Despite this texture, Monterey Jack cheese does melt impressively and can also be enjoyed as a snack. Try it grated into a pile or simply slice up a block to add to a sandwich filling.
This is a highly versatile cheese so you may feel hard pressed when you cannot find it in your local grocery store.
Thankfully, several substitutes are close to the taste and melting performance of Monterey Jack cheese.
In this article, we will look at what you should use Monterey Jack cheese for and what the five closest substitutes are.
What To Use Monterey Jack Cheese For
As one of America’s most popular varieties of cheese, Monterey Jack can commonly be found on top of a beef patty in a cheeseburger.
However, this variety of cheese is also increasingly versatile so can be used in plenty of other recipes.
That includes plenty of American and Mexican dishes where you need a tasty cheese that you know will melt well.
Monterey Jack cheese can be found in both blocks and already-prepared thin slices so you should also grate some over pasta or include some slices in a sandwich.
The 5 Closest Substitutes For Monterey Jack Cheese
Do not be alarmed if you cannot find Monterey Jack cheese in your refrigerator or your local grocery store.
While it does have a distinctive taste, there are several substitutes that you can use instead of Monterey Jack cheese.
These include Gouda cheese, Edam cheese, Muenster cheese, Parmesan cheese, and even Cheddar cheese.
1. Gouda Cheese
Gouda cheese can also be considered as a versatile cheese, just like Monterey Jack.
Both kinds of cheese melt really well so if you want to add a gooey texture to your dish, then Gouda cheese is a good substitute to opt for if you cannot use any Monterey Jack.
The cheese is also made from cow’s milk and has a similar yellow appearance to Cheddar Jack and Colby Jack cheese.
Try it with a Mac and Cheese and you may be surprised at how closely matched the two kinds of cheese are.
2. Edam Cheese
You should recognize a ball of Edam cheese by its red wax coating as a somewhat solid cheese from Holland.
This is a firm cheese so you should have no trouble chopping up for a cheeseboard, just like Monterey Jack once you get the wax coating off.
Edam cheese can also be considered versatile and relatively mild so you can slice it up or just use cubes in a ham and cheese croquette to melt beautifully.
Such versatility makes this cheese one of the best for finger food and a worthwhile substitute for Monterey Jack cheese.
3. Muenster Cheese
There are different versions of this cheese so ensure that you get the US version of Muenster cheese and not the French version (also known as Munster cheese).
The latter comes from the Alsace region and has a distinctive smoky, heavy flavor profile. With the US version, you should enjoy a similar semi-hard texture and a yellow color.
The taste can also be likened to Monterey Jack cheese so feel free to use it in sandwiches if you cannot find the popular American cheese.
4. Parmesan Cheese
If you need a substitute for aged Monterey Jack cheese then Parmesan cheese should be a worthwhile option.
However, you will need to persist with a younger Parmesan cheese that has not had so much time to mature so make sure you can discern the age.
The Italian cheese is known to be quite dry and firm yet it can be grated easily and works really well over pasta.
The texture can become quite granular, certainly in more aged varieties so that can be quite a telling difference from Monterey Jack cheese.
5. Cheddar Cheese
Yes, Cheddar cheese is English yet if you can find it then you can still use it instead of Monterey Jack cheese.
To compare the two would mean finding a slight difference in texture as Cheddar is a bit more creamy than its American counterpart.
Due to a longer aging process, Cheddar cheese should have more of a sharp flavor too.
This is more of a last resort option, certainly due to the discrepancy in flavor so try to use it in baking as you may be able to detect the different tastes in individual slices.
Depending on how you want to use your cheese, you may want to be specific in which cheese you use instead of Monterey Jack.
For melting properties, try Edam or Gouda cheese though they may be difficult to find considering that they are imported from Europe.
Some cheeses are aged for years which can mean their taste is stronger than what you expect, certainly from Monterey Jack cheese.
That means that Parmesan and Cheddar cheese may have more of a sharper flavor and even a different texture than you would expect from Monterey Jack.
Think about the dish you are creating when considering your substitute cheese. Some of the recommended substitutes will have a milder taste, some will taste a little stronger.
Some may not even melt as well due to their aging process so you may only want to grate it over pasta.
You may even want to try some of the substitute cheese first to judge just how strong the taste is before you apply it to your cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use Up Some Leftover Mozzarella Cheese To Use Instead Of Monterey Jack?
Both mozzarella and Monterey Jack are well known for how well they melt so it should be possible to substitute one for the other.
This is ideal if you are creating Mexican dishes such as nachos, tacos, and quesadillas.
Though mozzarella cheese may be comparatively milder than Monterey Jack, using the latter should provide an interesting taste with pasta and pizza.
What Cheese Type Does Monterey Jack Belong To?
The type of cheese that Monterey Jack belongs to would be semi-hard cheese.
This is an American cheese that is created from pasteurized cow’s milk and has a buttery, relatively mild flavor, and comes in a yellow, somewhat pale color with a supple texture.
Though it is considered a semi-hard cheese, its high-fat content coupled with a fair amount of moisture makes this a highly meltable cheese.