Learn About Jack Cheese

Author: Chef Toby

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What is Jack cheese?

Jack or Monterey Jack cheese is a firm and creamy cheese that originated in California in the early 1700s, back when California was still a Mexican territory. Jack cheese is pale yellow and comes in other varieties, just as Dry Jack and Pepper Jack. Dry jack is aged jack cheese, and pepper jack is a cheese seasoned with hot peppers.

Learn About Jack Cheese

What does Jack cheese taste like?

Jack cheese is mild, with buttery notes. It is often compared to mild cheddar and Colby cheese when it comes to taste and texture. 

How can you eat Jack cheese?

Because of jack cheese’s mild flavor, it can be used in many different ways. Eat Jack cheese cubed up as a snack or sliced in a sandwich. It always melts nicely, making it a great addition to casserole dishes, pizzas, burgers, and cheese sauces. 

Where can you buy Jack cheese?

You can find Jack cheese in any grocery store in the cheese and dairy aisle in the form of shreds blocks, cubes, or in individual snack-sized portions. 

How do you store Jack cheese

Wrap blocks of jack cheese in parchment paper, then wrap in plastic and kept in the refrigerator. As a result, your cheese will last anywhere from three to four weeks. Use shredded or sliced jack cheese within a week of opening and discard any cheese that is molded or has a funky smell. 

Fun Fact about Jack cheese:

In Monterey, California, Mexican Friars made this cheese in their monasteries. An American businessman named David Jack started selling this cheese all over California, it was eventually dubbed Monterey Jack.

Did you know?

Some cheese manufacturers combine Jack and Colby cheese together, to create an orange and white hybrid cheese called Colby Jack.

Recipes Using Jack Cheese

Pepper Jack Cheese Bread

Make this spicy, cheesy bread for your next dinner. In a bowl, combine sautéed peppers and onions, pepper jack cheese, mayonnaise, and pickled jalapeños. Spread the mixture over two halves of french bread and bake in the oven on a baking sheet until the bread is toasted and the top is bubbly and golden.

Easy Monterey Jack Queso Dip

Make a dip perfect for chips and veggies that is creamy and flavorful. In a saucepan, make a sauce using diced onion, jalapeño, milk, cornstarch, and Monterey jack cheese. Looking for something spicier? Replace the jalapeño with a serrano pepper for a boost of heat.

Antipasto Pasta Salad

This pasta salad comes together very quickly with ingredients that you most likely have in your kitchen. Combine cooked pasta with drained chickpeas, cubed jack cheese, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and olives. Add in other ingredients you might have available like salami, pepperoni, or other cheeses. Toss the salad with a light basil vinaigrette and serve.

Seafood Enchiladas

This seafood spin on classic chicken enchiladas replaces chicken for shrimp and crabmeat. The seafood is mixed with cottage cheese, jack cheese, cilantro, and chopped green chilies, and rolled inside of corn tortillas. The enchiladas are covered in a creamy white sauce and baked until the shrimp and crab are warmed through. Serve topped with more cilantro or sliced jalapeños for an added level of spice.

Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

This snack requires no cooking, and the only supplies needed are a knife and a cutting board. Using long wooden skewers, pierce strawberry halves, grapes, and one-inch cubes of Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese. Serve the fruit kabobs with a sour cream and yogurt dip flavored with cinnamon and honey.


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