Pepper Jack Cheese: Everything You Need to Know
What is Pepper Jack Cheese?
Pepper Jack Cheese is a cow’s milk cheese that blends the creamy, buttery flavor of Monterey Jack cheese with the intensity of spicy peppers. Jalapeños, serrano peppers, and habañero peppers are all used to create heat. As the cheese ages, the peppery flavor intensifies. Some older pepper jacks can taste quite zesty, but generally, the cheese is only aged for a few months. It will take on a creamy color and semi-firm textures.
How is Pepper Jack Cheese made?
Monterey Jack Cheese was made by the Mexican Franciscan friars of Monterey, California, in the 19th century. Then David Jack, a California businessman, decided that the market for the cheese could be developed. He produced the mild, white cheese that we now call Monterey Jack. Later, producers began to add small pieces of spicy peppers to the curds of their Jack cheese, creating Pepper Jack Cheese.
How should I eat Pepper Jack Cheese?
Pepper Jack Cheese melts very well. This makes it great for quesadillas, hot sandwiches, and nachos. Try adding it to Mexican food as these flavors pair well together.
The moist texture also makes it suitable for grating over dishes. It goes especially well with barbecued meats such as beef, and it can be used on burgers, steaks, and various broiled dishes. You could also serve cubes or slices as part of a cheese platter. Try it with melons, grapes, pickled vegetables, and olives for contrast and great texture. Slice it into sandwiches with bologna for a picnic.
Try it in mac and cheese with fresh slices of jalapeño to create a spicy side dish or comforting meal. Stuff it into a chicken breast and wrap it with bacon for a flavor explosion. You can even put a cube into the middle of a homemade burger so that you get oozing melted cheese when you bite into it.
What should I drink Pepper Jack Cheese with?
Pepper Jack Cheese goes best with slightly sweet white wines like Chardonnay, Riesling, or dessert wines. These complement the spicy and creamy nature of the cheeses. It’s also great with a light beer. You’re looking for a beer that isn’t too hoppy or powerful in flavor, as this can bring out the bitterness of the spice. Instead, go for a light lager.
If you already love Pepper Jack Cheese and you’re looking to get even more spicy cheese into your life then we stock a huge range in the cheese shop and online. Check out our Carolina Reaper Cheese, Scorpion Cheddar, Ghost Pepper Cheese, Smoked Habanero Cheddar, Super Hot Pepper Cheese, Hot Pepper Cheese, Smoked Hot Pepper Cheese, Smoked Horseradish Cheese, Yogurt Cheese with Jalapenos, Hot Pepper Cheese Curds, and Buffalo Wing Cheese Curds.
Some of these are super hot whilst others combine chili spice with creamy cheese flavors. The smoked cheeses are great for BBQ dishes. Try them all to find your favorites!
How do you like to eat Pepper Jack Cheese? Let us know in the comments!