10 Best Cheeses for Pulled Pork: Take Your Sandwich to the Next Level

Pulled pork sandwiches are a classic favorite, with tender, smoky meat paired with a tangy barbecue sauce. But did you know that adding cheese can take this sandwich to the next level?

The right cheese provides an extra layer of flavor and texture that perfectly complements the pork. Whether you prefer a simple slice of cheddar or something more adventurous like crumbled blue cheese, there are so many options to experiment with.

In this article, we’ll cover the 10 best cheeses to pair with pulled pork so your sandwiches have that extra oomph. For each cheese, we’ll discuss its flavor profile and texture and how it complements pulled pork. Let’s get started!

Why Cheese and Pulled Pork Are a Match Made in Heaven

Before we get into the specific cheese varieties, let’s look at why cheese makes such a great pairing for pulled pork:

Adds More Flavor

Cheese contributes its own unique flavors to the sandwich that layer with the sweet, smoky flavors of the pork. From sharp cheddar to creamy brie, you’ve got options to add a whole new flavor dimension.

Provides Contrasting Textures

The tender pulled pork pairs wonderfully with the dense, creamy texture of melted cheese. Together they create an irresistible mouthfeel.

Satisfies Your Sodium Craving

Let’s face it, pulled pork can use a little extra salt. Many cheeses are naturally high in sodium, helping to balance and enhance the pork’s flavor.

Prevents Dryness

Melted cheese helps keep the pulled pork moist. No more dry, tough to chew pork!

Adds Protein

Cheese packs a protein punch, making your sandwich much more nutritious and filling.

Now let’s get into the list of the top 10 cheeses that complement pulled pork exceptionally well.

1. Sharp Cheddar

The classic choice, sharp cheddar is a must-try cheese for pulled pork. Here’s why it works so well:

  • Tangy, Bold Flavor – The sharp flavor stands up to the pork and barbecue sauce beautifully.
  • Smooth Melting Ability – Cheddar melts into gooey perfection on a sandwich.
  • Contrasting Texture – Dense and creamy when melted.
  • Great On Burgers Too – It’s a versatile cheese that’s great with other BBQ staples.

Try It: On a classic pulled pork sandwich or slider with BBQ sauce. Also great with caramelized onions.

2. Pepper Jack

Pepper jack amps up the flavor with a touch of heat:

  • Spicy Kick – Jalapeño and habanero peppers provide a mild heat.
  • Creamy Base – Smooth Monterey Jack cheese gives it a creamy melt.
  • Flavor Fusion – The spicy cheese complements the sweet pork.
  • Great For Tacos – It also pairs well with Mexican flavors.

Try It: On tacos, sliders, or nachos with pulled pork. Also works on pizza and quesadillas.

3. Gruyère

This Swiss cheese has a delightful nutty flavor:

  • Sweet, Nutty Taste – Complex, yet mild flavor.
  • Satisfyingly Dense – Still melty, but with more body than other cheeses.
  • Earthy Overtones – Slightly mushroomy flavor notes.
  • Heat It Up – Stands up to broiling and grilling.

Try It: a French-inspired sandwich with Dijon mustard or quick pickled onions. Also pairs well with wine or ale.

4. Provolone

Provolone is an Italian cheese that shines when melted:

  • Mild Taste – Let’s the pork flavor shine through.
  • Two Styles – Smooth creamy or firm for slicing.
  • Melts Perfectly – Gets nice and gooey when heated.
  • Traditional Pairing – Often used in Italian cooking.

Try It: On meatball subs, hoagies, and Philly cheesesteaks. Also pairs well with sausage and onions.

5. Smoked Gouda

For extra smoky flavor, go with smoked gouda:

  • Deep Smoked Flavor – The smoke complements the pork beautifully.
  • Sweet Nutty Notes – With a hint of caramel.
  • Creamy Texture – Smooth melt with a touch of crumble.
  • Charcuterie Pairing – Great with cured meats.

Try It: With BBQ pork on charcuterie boards, pizza, mac and cheese, or panini.

6. Havarti

This Danish cheese has a complex flavor:

  • Creamy and Mild – With a hint of acidity.
  • Buttery Finish – Rich, yet refreshing.
  • Rind Washed – Fermented during aging for flavor.
  • Sandwich Staple – A common ingredient in Danish smørrebrød.

Try It: On open-faced sandwiches with sliced pork, pickles, and mustard. Also nice with rye bread.

7. Monterey Jack

Monterey Jack is a classic melty cheese:

  • Mild and Buttery – Won’t compete with the pork’s flavor.
  • Melts Smoothly – No oil separation.
  • Traditional Pairing – Used often in Tex-Mex cooking.
  • Great For Quesadillas – Helps bind the ingredients together.

Try It: Sprinkle over enchiladas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and nachos with pulled pork.

8. Queso Fresco

This crumbly Mexican cheese adds a salty bite:

  • Salty, Mild Flavor – Accentuates the pork’s flavor.
  • Dry, Crumby Texture – Contrasts nicely with the tender meat.
  • Traditional In Latin Cuisine – Used often in Mexican dishes.
  • Piquant Overtones – Slight tangy, peppery taste.

Try It: Sprinkle over tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and nachos with pulled pork. Also pairs well with beans and rice.

9. Blue Cheese

Blue cheese packs a serious punch of flavor:

  • Strong, Pungent Taste – Stands up to the pork’s bold flavor.
  • Tangy and Salty – Perfect for rounding out sweetness.
  • Creamy, Crumbly Texture – Softens the shredded meat.
  • Use Sparingly – A little goes a long way.

Try It: Just a pinch crumbled over pork sandwiches and tacos. Also makes a great dipping sauce when blended.

10. Goat Cheese

The tang of goat cheese balances nicely with pork:

  • Tangy, Tart Flavor – With grassy, earthy notes.
  • Smooth and Spreadable – Blends seamlessly into dips and spreads.
  • Great On Its Own – No melting required thanks to its creaminess.
  • Pair With Fruit – Helps cut through the richness.

Try It: As a sandwich spread, in savory dips, or topped with sweet mango. Also brilliant in crepes and flatbreads.

Now you’ve got 10 delicious cheeses to experiment with to take your pulled pork sandwiches and tacos to new heights! Don’t be afraid to combine cheeses too for even more decadent flavor. A blend of cheddar, jack, and provolone is a classic cheese mix perfect for melting over pork.

More Tips for the Best Pulled Pork and Cheese Pairings

Here are some additional pointers to get the most out of mixing cheese with your pulled pork:

  • Focus on Flavor Compatibility – The cheese should enhance the pork, not compete with it.
  • Mind the Melt – Cheese needs to melt smoothly or crumble nicely over the pork.
  • Get Adventurous with Add-Ons – Mix and match cheeses. Add extra toppings like caramelized onions, peppers, or slaw.
  • Include Cheese Two Ways – Melt over pork and place extra slices on the bun.
  • Try Smoked Varieties – For extra smoky sandwiches and tacos.
  • Shred It – Shredded or grated cheese distributes nicely over pulled pork.
  • Creative Combos – Layer cheese into pulled pork mac and cheese, nachos, or tater tot casserole.


1. Why does cheese pair so well with pulled pork?

A: Cheese pairs wonderfully with pulled pork because it adds extra flavor, provides contrasting textures, satisfies sodium cravings, and helps keep the pork moist and juicy. The creaminess and saltiness of cheese balances out the sweet, smoky flavors of the tender pork.

2. What type of cheese is best for pulled pork?

A: Sharp cheddar, pepper jack, smoked gouda, and provolone are some of the most popular cheeses to pair with pulled pork. In general, you’ll want a cheese that melts well and has a bold, salty flavor to stand up to the pork. Soft, creamy cheeses can work too for contrast.

3. Can I use more than one type of cheese?

A: Absolutely! Using a blend of different cheeses can provide even more complex flavors. Try mixing cheddar, pepper jack, and provolone for a classic melted cheese topping.

4. What’s the best way to add cheese to pulled pork?

A: Grated or shredded cheese that can be distributed evenly over the pork works best. You can also slice cheese and melt it over pork sandwiches or tacos. For extra decadence, stuff cheese inside the sandwich too.

5. What other toppings go well with pulled pork and cheese?

A: Try caramelized onions, sauteed peppers, pickles, coleslaw, sliced apples, barbecue sauce, and spices like cayenne or chili powder. Get creative with your favorite toppings!

6. Is there a way to make pulled pork and cheese keto-friendly?

A: Yes! Skip the bun and serve pulled pork over a salad, wrapped in lettuce cups, stuffed in roasted peppers, or on its own. Top with keto-approved cheeses like cheddar, feta, bleu cheese, parmesan, or swiss.

7. Can I freeze pulled pork with cheese?

A: It’s best not to freeze pulled pork with the cheese mixed in, as this can cause texture issues. Freeze just the pork, then add cheese when reheating.

8. What drinks pair well with pulled pork and cheese?

A: Iced tea, lemonade, beer, hard cider, fruity cocktails, and red or white wine all make good partners for pulled pork with melted cheese. The drink helps cut through the richness.


When it comes to pulled pork, the right cheese can take your sandwich or taco to new heights of flavor. As we’ve seen, cheeses like sharp cheddar, gouda, and provolone add delicious contrasting textures and bolster the pork’s sweet, smoky notes. Pepper jack and blue cheese bring the heat and tang.

Whether you go for a classic slice or an unexpected crumbled cheese, you really can’t go wrong with this flavor combination. With so many varieties to choose from, it’s fun to experiment and find your perfect cheese match for pulled pork. Just a small sprinkle is all you need to make an ordinary sandwich extraordinary.

Best Cheeses for Pulled Pork

Discover the perfect cheese pairings for pulled pork sandwiches. From sharp cheddar to tangy blue cheese, this article explores 10 delectable options to elevate your sandwich to new heights of flavor.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Cheese
Cuisine American
Servings 1


  • Sharp Cheddar
  • Pepper Jack
  • Gruyère
  • Provolone
  • Smoked Gouda
  • Havarti
  • Monterey Jack
  • Queso Fresco
  • Blue Cheese
  • Goat Cheese


  • Cook pork shoulder or butt on low heat or in a slow cooker until very tender, about 8-10 hours.
  • Remove pork from cooking liquid and shred using two forks.
  • Place pulled pork in a baking dish and mix in your choice of shredded cheese. Use about 1 cup per pound of pork.
  • Optional extras to mix in: bbq sauce, caramelized onions, bacon pieces.
  • Top with more cheese.
  • Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes until cheese is fully melted and pork is heated through.
  • Garnish with green onions and serve on buns or over rice.
Keyword Best Cheeses for Pulled Pork

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