What Cheese Goes in Caesar Salad? Top 13 Picks

The Caesar salad is a classic and delicious salad that has been popular for decades. While the original Caesar salad only contained romaine lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and black pepper, many variations have emerged over the years. One of the most common additions to Caesar salad is different types of cheese. The creamy, salty flavors that cheese contributes pair perfectly with the crisp romaine lettuce and tangy dressing.

If you enjoy Caesar salad, you likely have wondered what types of cheese work best. With so many cheese options available, it can be difficult to choose. Certain cheeses enhance the traditional Caesar flavor, while others add unique new twists.

This article will discuss 15 of the best cheeses to use in your Caesar salads. Keep reading to discover new cheese possibilities and find your perfect Caesar cheese match.

Traditional Cheeses for Caesar Salad


Parmesan cheese originated in Italy and is a hard, aged cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a rich, nutty, salty flavor and a granular texture that makes it perfect for grating. Parmesan adds a distinctive punch of flavor to Caesar salad and blends beautifully into the creamy dressing. Make sure to use genuine Parmesan cheese rather than “Parmesan-style” cheese for the best taste.

Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano is another Italian sheep’s milk cheese. Like Parmesan, it has a bold, salty flavor. However, Pecorino Romano’s flavor is even more intense. It packs a punch alongside the garlicky Caesar dressing. Its crumbly texture also adds nice texture to the salad. Pecorino Romano makes an excellent Parmesan alternative or addition.


Manchego comes from Spain and contains a buttery, salty taste. It has a firm texture with small holes throughout. Manchego brings a deep, rich flavor to Caesar salad. Its firmness allows it to hold up well when tossed with the salad. The buttery taste and hint of sweetness pair nicely with the tangy dressing.

Soft Cheeses for Caesar Salad

While firm cheeses like Parmesan work well in Caesar salad, soft cheeses can also make great additions. Their creaminess provides a new dimension of texture and flavor. Here are some top options:


Brie is a soft cow’s milk cheese from France with an edible rind. It tastes rich, buttery, and slightly fruity. Brie becomes gooey and melts beautifully when added to a hot Caesar salad. The creaminess perfectly balances the crunchy lettuce and croutons. Just make sure not to overheat it or the cheese will become too runny.


Camembert is another soft, creamy French cheese. It has a white, edible rind and a smooth interior. The flavor of Camembert starts out mild when young and increases as it ripens. When added to Caesar salad, Camembert provides a subtle creaminess along with mushroomy notes.


Burrata is an Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. It has a soft, stringy interior wrapped in a shell of mozzarella. The cream filling oozes out when you cut or bite into it. Burrata is an indulgent addition to Caesar salad – each bite bursts with creamy richness to balance the sharp dressing.

Goat Cheese

Goat cheese, also called chèvre, contains a tangy, tart flavor from the milk of goats. Its texture can range from soft to semi-firm depending on age. Goat cheese crumbles nicely over a Caesar salad, adding a pleasant tartness that cuts through the rich dressing. For an extra kick, look for a seasoned goat cheese flavored with herbs, pepper, or other spices.

Unique Cheeses for Caesar Salad

Tired of the same old Parmesan? Liven up your Caesar salad with unique, flavorful cheeses from around the world. Here are some interesting options to try:


Halloumi is a brined Cypriot cheese made from goat and sheep’s milk. It has a distinctive, salty flavor and a firm, chewy texture that holds its shape well. When heated, Halloumi develops a crispy, browned exterior while the interior stays soft. It makes a fantastic topping for Caesar salad – just grill or pan-fry the Halloumi first so it gets nice and crispy.

Queso Fresco

Queso fresco is a fresh Mexican cheese made from cow or goat’s milk. It has a mild, tangy flavor and a crumbly texture. Queso fresco sprinkled on top of a Caesar salad adds a tasty acidity to cut through the rich dressing. This cheese also has a high moisture content, so it doesn’t harden when heated.


Feta is a classic Greek cheese made from sheep and goat’s milk. It has a salty, tangy taste and a crumbly texture. Feta pairs wonderfully with the bold flavors of a Caesar salad. Try using tomato basil feta for extra flavor. Just don’t over-crumble the feta or it may become lost in the other ingredients.


Cotija is sometimes called the “Parmesan of Mexico.” It’s a firm, crumbly cheese with high salinity. Cotija brings a sharp, robust flavor to Caesar salad. Its crumbles add a nice crunch factor too. For an extra kick, use smoked cotija for a smoky twist.


For a familiar flavor, add some cheddar cheese to your Caesar salad. Sharp cheddar provides a pleasing bite. Mild cheddar melts deliciously when the salad is served warm. Try white cheddar for a creamy accent. Just stick to high-quality cheddar to avoid rubbery cheese.

Blue Cheese

Blue cheese like Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or Stilton makes an excellent addition to Caesar salad. The pungent flavor pairs boldly with the garlic and Worcestshire sauce in the dressing. The blue cheese crumbles also add creaminess and texture. Just don’t overdo the blue cheese or it will overpower the other flavors.

How to Add Cheese to Caesar Salad

Now that you know what types of cheese to use, here are some ways to incorporate them:

  • Grate Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, Manchego, or other hard cheese over the salad as a finishing touch. Start with 1-2 tablespoons per serving.
  • Crumble soft cheeses like goat cheese, feta, or Gorgonzola over the salad. Use about 1-2 tablespoons per serving.
  • Add diced Brie, Camembert or slices of mozzarella. The heat from the dressing and lettuce will gently melt the cheese.
  • Top salads with fried or grilled Halloumi slices. Their delicious crisp texture contrasts the soft lettuce.
  • Make cheesy croutons by topping cubes of bread with Parmesan before baking.
  • Whisk shredded cheese like cheddar into the dressing for extra creaminess.
  • Stuff cherry tomatoes with cheese crumbles for fun, tasty bursts of flavor.
  • Drizzle salads with an extra dose of creamy Caesar dressing right before eating so the cheese doesn’t get soggy.

Best Practices for Cheese in Caesar Salad

  • Try different types of cheese to discover new flavor combinations. Change up your usual Parmesan with Manchego, Cotija, or another unique cheese.
  • Use high-quality cheeses for the most flavor. Low-quality cheeses may taste rubbery or bland.
  • Avoid pre-shredded cheese which often contains anti-caking agents that affect the texture. Shred blocks of cheese yourself instead.
  • Add cheese sparingly as a garnish rather than blanketing the entire salad. Too much cheese overwhelms the other ingredients.
  • When adding soft cheese, wait to dress the salad until just before serving so the cheese doesn’t get soggy.
  • Cut large soft cheese pieces small so they distribute nicely when tossed with the salad.
  • For hot Caesars, add cheese once the salad comes off the heat so it gently melts but doesn’t over-melt into a puddle.
  • Pair pungent cheeses like blue cheese with fruits like pears, apples, or strawberries to balance their strong flavor.
  • Cut back on salty dressings and croutons when using very salty cheeses like Parmesan or feta.

Complementary Side Dishes for Cheesy Caesar Salad

A cheesy Caesar salad needs the right accompaniments. Here are some side dishes that pair deliciously:

  • Garlic bread or cheesy breadsticks
  • Bruschetta topped with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella
  • Roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Steak, chicken, or shrimp skewers
  • Sauteed mushrooms or grilled vegetables
  • Pasta salad or potato salad
  • Fresh fruit like strawberries, pears, or citrus slices
  • Caesar salad wraps made with tortillas or lettuce cups
  • Hearty vegetable soup, minestrone soup, or baked potato soup

Final Cheese Suggestions

The beauty of a Caesar salad is that you can customize it in so many ways. Take your pick of these tasty cheese choices:

  • Creamy: Brie, Camembert, havarti, Swiss, muenster
  • Tangy: Feta, goat cheese, queso fresco, cotija
  • Soft: Burrata, mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, ricotta
  • Firm: Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, Manchego, Halloumi
  • Bold: Blue cheese, sharp cheddar, smoked gouda
  • Mild: Monterey Jack, provolone, Colby, fontina


1. What is the traditional cheese used in Caesar salad?

The original Caesar salad only contained Parmesan cheese. Pecorino Romano is also now commonly used. These hard Italian cheeses provide a salty, nutty flavor.

2. What are some good cheese substitutes for Parmesan?

Try Manchego, Asiago, Romano, or aged cheddar for a similar firm texture and rich taste. Soft cheeses like feta or goat cheese also work well.

3. Should I buy pre-shredded cheese for Caesar salad?

Pre-shredded cheese often has anti-caking agents added. For best flavor and texture, buy cheese in blocks and shred or grate it yourself.

4. How much cheese should I add to a Caesar salad?

Use cheese sparingly – 1 to 2 tablespoons per serving is usually enough. Too much cheese overwhelms the other flavors.

5. When should I add the cheese to a Caesar salad?

Garnish the salad with grated hard cheese right before serving. For soft cheese, wait to add until just before eating so it doesn’t get soggy.

6. What cheese works well in a hot Caesar salad?

Mozzarella, Brie, Camembert, and other soft cheeses that melt nicely when heated. Just don’t overcook them.

7. Which cheeses pair well with the bold Caesar dressing?

Stronger blue cheeses, aged cheddar, Parmesan, Manchego, and Pecorino Romano stand up well to the intense dressing.

8. What cheeses complement fruits or vegetables in a Caesar salad?

Tangy feta, chèvre, and queso fresco pair nicely with fruits and veggies. Soft Brie or Camembert also go well.

9. Can I add bacon and cheese to my Caesar salad?

Yes! Bacon and cheese is a tasty combination. Use crispy bacon bits along with your cheese of choice.

10. What cheeses should I avoid in Caesar salad?

Skip bland cheeses like basic mozzarella or mild cheddar, as well as rubbery processed cheeses. Stick to quality, flavorful cheeses.


Don’t be afraid to think outside the Parmesan box. Part of the fun of making Caesar salad is playing around with new cheese varieties. Let your preferences and mood guide you as you discover the perfect cheese for your palate. With so many options, you could enjoy a different cheese in your Caesar every day of the week!

So next time you whip up a Caesar salad, try swapping in one of these delicious cheese choices. Your taste buds will thank you. Just remember to keep the cheese addition thoughtful so it doesn’t overwhelm all the other fantastic flavors. Now get out there and up your Caesar salad cheese game to tasty new heights.

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What Cheese Goes in Caesar Salad?

A comprehensive article on cheese options for Caesar salad, featuring traditional choices like Parmesan and Pecorino Romano, as well as soft and unique varieties, with serving tips and complementary side dishes.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Cheese
Cuisine American
Servings 1


  • Parmesan
  • Pecorino Romano
  • Manchego
  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Burrata
  • Goat Cheese
  • Halloumi
  • Queso Fresco
  • Feta
  • Cotija
  • Cheddar
  • Blue Cheese


  • Wash and dry lettuce leaves.
  • Grate or shave Parmesan cheese – about 2 tbsp per serving.
  • Make croutons by tossing bread cubes with oil and grated Parmesan. Bake at 400F for 5-10 mins.
  • Add lettuce to a large bowl. Drizzle with Caesar dressing and toss well to coat.
  • Top salad with grated Parmesan and croutons right before serving.
  • Can also add cubed or crumbled cheese like mozzarella, feta, goat cheese.
Keyword What Cheese Goes in Caesar Salad

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