FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Cheeses, Ranked — Fight Me!

Did you know I was the first kid in America to eat a Lunchable? No, it’s true! Listen to me, it’s true! Lunchables came to whole U.S. in 1989, but actually they existed in Washington state in 1988, but even before that — all the way back in 1985 — Oscar Meyer was figuring out how to make Lunchables a thing. My grandpa was like the President of Meat at some giant meat company and so he brought home the earliest Lunchables to test out on me and my sister.

This was obviously way before you could get Capri-Suns or Kool-Aids in Lunchables, and before people started worrying about feeding kids balanced meals at lunchtime, and it was just one little sandwich meat stack and one little cheese stack and one little cracker stack. I don’t like sandwich meats really and never have, but I’ll tell you what I do like and that’s cheese. I forkin’ love cheese. And as an expert in the field — by which I mean: a person who eats a lot of cheese, goes often to an establishment literally called Bier and Cheese, and was, as I have stated, the Original Lunchables Child — I feel it is my duty to rank cheeses and fight you about it.

And that is how we shall spend our Friday afternoon.

Cheeses, ranked

33. String

32. American

31. Cottage

30. Cream

29. Limburger

28. Manchego

27. Ricotta

26. Stilton

25. Swiss

24. Provolone

23. Mozzarella

22. Camembert

21. Wensleydale

20. Edam

19. Gorgonzola

18. Monterey Jack

17. Reblochon

16. Feta

15. Nacho

14. Goat

13. Havarti

12. Mascarpone

11. Buratta

10. Gouda

9. Roquefort

8. Parmasean

7. Halloumi

6. Gruyére

5. Pecorino Romano

4. Fontina

3. Asiago

2. Brie

1. Cheddar

Now then, let me make a sandwich and I will meet you back here to argue about cheese.

How To Post A Photo In The Comments:

Find a photo on the web, right click (on a Mac, control+click), hit “Copy Image URL” and then…
code it in to your comment like so:

If you need to upload the photo you love from your computer, try using imgur. To learn more about posting photos, check out A.E.’s step-by-step guide.

How To Post A Video In The Comments, Too:

Find a video on YouTube, copy the URL, and paste the link on its own separate line in your comment. You no longer need to use the “embed” code!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. You may be an esteemed lunchable pioneer but Parmesan is an unsung umami hero, and I will not allow her to be disrespected like this! Not even in the top 3, or 5? J’ACCUSE.

    Also, this seems to be a good time to share this: one time I ate a smoked (!!!!) burrata cheese, and it was so good that I cried and also hugged the server.

      • Ahhh I wish I had better cheese cataloguing abilities! It was at a restaurant called Osteria Fortunata in the campo di’fiori neighborhood of Rome! The server’s name was Mimo, and he was very gracious when I cried on him while speaking incoherently in Itanglish.

  2. While my brain decides if President of Meat is a good or bad thing, I must respectfully reject your entire list. I love cheese. I could not go full vegan because of my love of cheese but I would start a whole war over Camembert. Can not stand the taste, smell, texture, or even the order of letters in the name.

  3. Also here to say manchego is almost the most luxurious cheese I have ever eaten, second only to ricotta we made out of spoiled milk a few weeks ago. SO NOMS.

  4. Ok that is so cool that you were the first kid to try lunchables! What a great story! (My parents would not buy me lunchables and I felt extremely uncool because of it -_-)

    My top 5 cheeses are:



  5. All cheese is great but Gouda is god.

    Speaking of cheese, I just started watching the L Word, thanks to y’all (Dana c’est moi). Is it bad that the moment Jenny stepped on screen, knowing her fate, my first thought is “yeah I can tell she’s going to be murdered.”

  6. Stilton is way too low! Im gonna be honest and say I rarely know the names of the cheeses im eating unless I am choosing them as a sandwich topping. And I dont really know how to rank them because the cheese i like on a board and the cheese i want on a sandwich are often very different. I couldnt live without american cheese because it’s the ideal breakfast sandwich cheese, but on a cheese board it would be very out of place!

    On a board:

    1. Cheddar
    2. Stilton
    3. Aged Gouda
    4. I dunno something soft and creamy
    5. Who knows! I’ll eat every cheese that is served to me on a board!

    On a sandwich, not entirely in order because IT DEPENDS ON THE SANDWICH:

    1. Swiss
    2. American On A Few Very Specific Sandwiches
    3. Pepperjack (also good on breakfast sandwiches tbh)
    4. Provolone
    5. Cheddar
    6. Again though I will eat every cheese that is served to me on a sandwich

    • Stilton at 26?! TWENTY. SIX. Wow. The only saving grace is cheddar in top spot. As long as it’s the extra mature kind…

      • It’s also kinda weird because there are some blues further up, and obviously the one true queen Cheddar in the top spot, and Stilton is like a gem fusion between cheddar and blue! If you love Cheddar, and you like blue, how could you not see the beauty of Stilton?

        • Yes I was sure that if Stilton was at TWENTY SIX then gorgonzola probably wouldn’t be there at all and then boom, 19.

    • Also I’d rank brie significantly lower, because there is so much bad brie out there! I’ve had too many bries that have gone full ammonia. It’s not brie’s fault somebody wrapped it up in plastic to suffocate, but nevertheless I have a hard time trusting brie.

    • Do you eat Stilton plain, or with some fruit in it? Here we have it with dried apricots, blueberries, or dried cranberries.

  7. i love lunchables! not the bullshit pizza or taco ones (a cold pizza lunchable is NOT a pizza), but the classics! i was only ever allowed to have them when we had to pack a lunch for a field trip, and i have SUCH fond memories of stacking little piles of sodium! yum!

  8. You know what cheese is good? NONE OF THEM I HATE CHEESE.

    I’ll eat cheese on a pizza, grilled cheese sandwich, and anything else UNDER DURESS!

    I will NEVER eat cheese on its own because it’s gross moldy disgustingness!


  9. True story, one time I had some mature cheddar that was so good I cried. Brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

    • The secret with the mature cheddar is CHEESE CRYSTALS:

      My first introduction to this magical phenomenon was with a Costco block of aged cheddar and it changed my life.

      It’s making me happy just thinking about it! At first my friends didn’t believe that a thing like cheese crystals could possiblely be true, but it is!

      You can ask your friendly cheese-monger for suggestions and they’ll know exactly what you are talking about.

      Man, this brings me back to when I walked past Murray’s Cheese in NYC every day on the way to work. My grilled cheeses will never be as good as they were in those days :sheds tear:

  10. here’s my hottest cheese take: eating the rind on brie is bad and tastes bad, and we should free ourselves and each other from that expectation. all brie should be served like a PBJ with the crusts cut off.

  11. Okay, this is an easy fix. Just swap wensleydale, mozzarella and camembert with asiago, pecorino Romano and fontina. Sorted.
    It’s not like you Heather to make such obvious errors, but we all have a mind blank every now and then. You’re still my favourite.


    • I am also a lover of cottage cheese. Baked potato, grated cheddar, dollop of onion and chive cottage cheese, baked beans. I’m drooling…and I’ve just eaten dinner. Dammit

    • Brie rind is the devil and I wholeheartedly agree it should have the crusts cut off. Or better yet just replace it with a better cheese I can just eat without it being a process.
      I feel attacked by this list Heather, halloumi and goat are in the TOP THREE. But yes, agreed, cheddar rules them all.

  13. Hi, hello, traveling lesbian Cheesemonger here, a true Certified Cheese Professional via the American Cheese Society here to say GOIRRRRRL, no. Step away from the cheese counter and call your monger.

    Ps queer cheese professionals, HMU if you want an invite to secret group lgBRIEtq on FB. Yes. It’s real.

  14. I am partial to Red Leicester cheese from Leicestershire, England. When I came back from backpacking UK/Ireland many years ago I had cravings for that cheese, but the supermarkets and even a local cheese shop didn’t carry it. I am also the type of person who in college would sit down eat half a block of Swiss or French while watching tv sober or ask a pizza place if they have at least 6 different cheese to put on a pizza(usually it was a no). I’ve since given up on cheese, which has been better for my health.

    How’s everyone’s week going? It has been very long and slow for me, which isn’t good. I also haven’t spoken to my bff in a while and I feel kind of friendless atm. Maybe I should start hosting more park and beach days, but I don’t have the energy to really do that? Shows like the L Word, Seinfield, & How I Met Your Mother have really set some high unhealthy standards of friendship. Like who really sees their circle of friends in what seems to be a daily frequency? I kind of want to, but also that’s way too many times a week? I really don’t know what’s normal anymore. Does anyone see their friends who they don’t work or live with/next to daily?

    I spent my Sunday by the local pond where the new season of AHS is still being filmed as apparent by the set there and security people around. This cabin looks like it was made of real wood.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

    • I’m with you on giving up on cheese. This was not my open thread. In terms of how my week has been,I had surgery! And I stressed out more about how my coworkers would survive than I did about the surgery itself.
      Now my face is going to look different and I’ll want to retake all my professional photos and ID’s. If the photographer says”cheese” I will bite her.

    • Dark purple is the wonderful purple and I went down a little rabbit hole looking at all the new dimensions of purples we have now in lipstick compared to nearly 20 years ago.

      My inner child and inner baby bat were delighted even if adult me cannot afford any of what we saw and are probably allergic to it.

      A near black purple matte with a lighter purple glitter in it was the wowest.

      • I get that kind of look by layering up with eye shadow, matte lip color, and more eye shadow. I almost always have at least three things on my lips.

  15. Yes! So glad we agree. My top 10:

    1. Mature cheddar
    2. Extra mature cheddar
    3. Mild cheddar
    4. Babybel
    5. Parmesan
    6. Boursin
    7. Mozzarella
    8. Manchego
    9. Brie
    10. Camembert

  16. Okay but Heather, what kind of gouda? Aged gouda and young gouda are extremely unsimilar!

    I just started a new job this week (!!) and this morning I discovered that they provide both cheddar cheese and string cheese in the snack area, so how would you rank them overall as a workplace?

    Also, did you know that when I was in college my dorm had an elected position called Dorm Cheese whose job it was to buy fancy cheese for the dorm once a week (and yes I absolutely held this position)

  17. Second Parmesan defender here, forget the top 5 it is the very top always and forever. I used to get spoken to about how much Parmesan I put on my pasta as a kid and then my (very Italian) grandfather visited and put a literal mountain on his and I jumped up at the table and said “SEE I AM ALLOWED TO EAT THAT MUCH TOO”.

    I digress.

    Parmesan cheese is the most perfect cheese and makes the world a better place.

    • As an aside my gf and my cat’s name is Brie and I am now thinking if she has a future sibling their name should be Parm

      • Cacio e pepe, risotto, makes a blah salad 10x better, literally makes every pasta dish 1000x better… one can debate cheese rankings all day long but one CANNOT debate the versatility of parm!

        love you

  18. Using Lunchables experience as a credential for cheese expertise is suspect. I mean, that stuff in Lunchables is cheese FOOD, is it not? Or at least it was back in the dinosaur cheese days of your childhood. (Dinosaur cheese. Hmm.) You did not list aged Havarti, which means that you haven’t tasted it, which means you must go to Trader Joe’s immediately and sample it so you can correct this list. I hate to see you embarrass yourself like this.

    • Came here to scroll down and make sure cheddar was top and then walk away satisfied. A friend once gave me a piece of a 15 year aged cheddar she got through a connection and it was one of the most treasured gifts of my life.

      On the soft cheese front: If you ever see Harbison from Jasper Hill near you, buy it and make your friends come over for a cheeseboard. Absolute heaven in spruce bark.

      Let me know when you all want to have the real fight – cheddar cheese with apple pie

  19. Also a good Chaource or Délice de Bourgogne for creamy, a nice nutty sheep cheese, maybe Idiazábal, ooh maybe some Yarg for contrast…and I LOVE a truffle goat cheese with walnut bread…

    Damn I want cheese.

    Also….I was born near Cheddar (to a French family, so I do have cheese instead of blood) and I am PICKY about it, but a good tangy Cheddar with the right texture is a thing of joy, definitely not forever.

  20. Are you talking about the neon nacho cheese dip they serve at stadium canteens? Because if so, I am baffled as to how it isn’t at the bottom of the list, it barely qualifies as cheese. How on earth did it place higher than mozzarella and feta?!

  21. Oh no, Nacho cheese outranks Edam, Mozarella and Manchego?
    Consider the gilded glove of cheese tossed at your feet!

    P.S. Whenever I travel to or through Holland/Schiphol I buy cheese to bring as a gift to friends, family and co-workers. Well that and Stroopwaffles.

  22. As of writing this I’ve just realized that I have about nine different kinds of cheese in my fridge..well, eight, I’ve used up the Maasdamer today.
    I live by myself and that thing where I was planning to eat more Vegan has just gotten tossed out of the window due to an acute onset of reality.

    • There is a vegan cheese shop in my town that looks really good, but also 8 types of cheese just sound perfect as my motto use to be the more types of cheese on a pizza the better .

      • You’re my hero for the multilingual punning, in my mother tongue, no less!
        Chances are the cheese situation might escalate to a dozen.It‘s my local farmer‘s market today and there are those burly Austrians with these huge wheels of spicy curated cheese from the alps at it.That cheese pairs so wonderfully with a decadent French onion soup and also this is the time of the year for Federweißer, and I am only human..

  23. Um, hello. I once dreamed of being a cheesemonger.

    Therefore, I must tell you that you have overlooked an excellent aged cheese called piave.

    And I submit for your consideration, a few vegan cheeses:

    3. Parmela Creamery Aged Cheddar

    2. Field Roast Chao slices in Coconut Herb, Tomato Cayenne, and Creamy Original (similar to a mild white cheddar).

    1. Miyoko’s Mozz, a fresh, milky mozzarella that melts beautifully on pizza.

  24. Listen I think it’s very important to draw a distinction between fresh mozzarella and all other mozzarellas because a fresh mozzarella, possibly marinated with balsamic vinegar or topped with pesto, is a top five food, not just a top five cheese.

    The best cheese I ever had was this savory crumbly white cheese studded with dried cranberries. It was perfect– savory and salty and the sweet acidity of the cranberries complemented it perfectly. But I never got its name so it is just the Lost Best Cheese.

    • Hard (soft?) agree on the mozzarella.

      I’m fairly sure your lost best cheese is Wensleydale with cranberries btw. Happy cheese hunting!

    • My mum would heartily agree with you. Every time she goes back to France she comes back with huge blocks of it 😄

  25. I shall not fight just state how my odd ball taste buds rank cheese.

    Absolute bottom don’t even wanna hafta smell it rank: Cheddar

    The invincible champion I’d consume my body weight in rank: FETA

    Acceptable snack rank provided there’s dried fruit as a buffer: Babybel’s Edam (original, not light)

    Cooking only rank: Parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino romano, mozzarella and asiago

    The bisexual ingredient cheese: ricotta

    This is for making dessert rank: mascarpone

    I have probably forgotten an Italian cheese in the cooking rank somewhere but yeah that’s pretty much how I feel about cheese especially cheddar.
    Also apple pie tastes like an abomination against fruit to me but my dad whose formative years were spent in serious apple pie region and can’t lie for shit loves my apple pie.
    It tastes “juuust right” to him. xD

      • Oooh there is a GULF between poor Feta and excellent Feta. Poor quality Feta is an over salted abomination. Excellent Feta is a creamy dream – I remember the first time I had amazing Feta and how it totally changed my feelings about it.

        • Once a year the Greek festival happens, they have a mini market of actual Greek exports and I try to get at least one block of the feta because it’s got that perfect ratio of salty to creamy.

          I love salty as a flavour, but dry feta NOPE.

      • Uggggghhhhh, I had successfully blocked the fact that is “a thing” out of my mind until now.

        It’s a defilement that takes the abomination of apple pie into eldritch abomination territory and I never ever want to witness it.
        Like an arachnophobe wouldn’t want to trapped in an oubliette of spiders.

  26. So uh family genealogy project I was asked to help with hit some snags because “old country” records are like a dancing matryoshka doll, but now we have proof the bootlegging thing isn’t just some family tale. The newspaper announces the arrests listing their names and the address matches the one I found in the census records.
    I guess they didn’t pay protection money on schedule or something.

    And one of the bachelor uncles (the one everybody recalls as the attractive one, he was a fine, fine looking man) was very likely gay and maybe worked in a gay bar at some point.

  27. I literally just got home from my cheesemonger side hustle & I might cry. Cheddar first. REALLY. I’ve never felt so betrayed by autostraddle. If you need a REAL cheesemonger insider view lmk

  28. No other real comment but if you get the chance, try Tasmania’s South West Cape’s Blue Brie. Full of warm sun, salty southern ocean and cream, cream, cream.

  29. what are yalls opinions on Gjetost Cheese? It’s brown, sweet, norwegian – they caramelize the sugar in the milk aka they do magic.

Comments are closed.