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I Tried 7 Trader Joe's Cheeses & the Best Is Super Creamy and Rich

The popular grocer stocks so many different cheeses—see which ones belong on your plate.
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Trader Joe's has a cult following for its exciting seasonal product drops and extensive freezer section brimming with quick dinners and global flavors. TJ's cheese department is another reason to love this quirky grocery store.

From buttery-soft brie to firm, grainy parmesan to rolls of flavored goat cheese, there's something for every cheese taste in the dairy case at Trader Joe's. There are even some plant-based and lactose-free cheese options. Trader Joe's has all your cheesy needs covered.

The store stocks fancy cheeses for entertaining and a great mix of pre-shredded Parms and mozzarella for topping pizzas. Of course, there are also slices for sandwiches and burgers and tubs of cream cheeses and spreads.

Even the professionals shop at TJ's. Molly Browne, education director at the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and an ACS Certified Cheese Professional, says, "Trader Joe's has a nice selection of artisan cheeses, and many of their options have become cult classics."

If you want to impress with your cheese board skills, Browne recommends "picking three to five types of cheeses, depending on the size of your crowd. Vary the flavors and textures—try one soft cheese, one harder cheese, and one funky cheese like a blue."

For cooking, Bronwne notes that it comes down to the recipe you have in mind and personal preference. "Cheese attributes like acidity, moisture, textures ranging from soft to hard, and flavors from mild to sharp assist the artist behind the apron in determining the right cheese to make any dish a standout," she says.

So whether you're preparing a cheese board to impress guests or want a new snacking cheese to keep in the fridge, head to your local TJ's to stock up.

For an idea of where to start—should you stick to the standby double cream brie or try something new that's more herby or spicy?—we're here to help. I picked up seven of the most popular cheeses at Trader Joe's to sample for myself.

I took note of how each cheese looked, smelled, and, of course, tasted. So, while I always encourage trying something new at the store, if you don't want to take the risk, here's how my taste test of seven Trader Joe's cheeses went.

Dutch Smoked Cheese

trader joe's dutch smoked
Lizzy Briskin, Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (1 oz): 80 cal, 5 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 300 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 5 g protein

This round cheese comes from the Netherlands and is infused with a rich, smoky flavor.

The look: The cheese presumably comes from a long tube. The grocery store sells it in a thick, round patty shape with a rust-brown rind around the perimeter. The center is yellowish, and the cheese has a firm but squishy, rubbery texture. The rind is edible, and it can be peeled off easily.

The taste: I expected a more smoke-forward flavor from this cheese, but most of the smokiness was captured in the rind, so if you get a piece without any rind (or if you prefer not to eat cheese rinds), you miss that more interesting taste. The center of the cheese was mild and creamy, but nothing stood out.

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Brie Cheese with Wild Mushrooms

trader joe's wild mushroom cheese
Lizzy Briskin, Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (1 oz): 120 cal, 12 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 4 g protein

This soft cheese comes from Germany and contains a mix of thinly sliced mushrooms. It's sold in wedges, presumably taken from a large wheel. This cheese has a high fat and saturated fat content compared to the more firm options I tested.

The look: The cheese wedge is about 2 inches thick and has an ashy white rind. The center is off-white and marked by slivers of mixed mushrooms and air bubbles of various sizes. It has a semi-firm texture, so this is not the uber-creamy, spreadable brie you may expect.

The taste: The mushrooms give this cheese a decidedly umami flavor, and I found it to taste almost truffly, but there are no truffles or truffle oil in the ingredient list. There aren't a ton of mushrooms in the cheese, so you rarely get a full piece of fungi, but you can taste them in every bite. Otherwise, the cheese is not overly strong flavored, and it didn't have the silky smooth cream texture I love in a soft cheese.

Wisconsin Extra Sharp Cheddar

trader joe's cheddar cheese
Lizzy Briskin, Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (1 oz): 110 cal, 9 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, <1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 7 g protein

This plank of extra-sharp cheddar is a product of Wisconsin. It's been aged for a minimum of nine months, a process that concentrates the flavor and firms up the texture.

The look: This is a pretty standard-looking block of white cheddar cheese. It's just under 1 inch thick and has a firm texture that gives a bit when squeezed. It slices easily into neat rectangles.

The taste: I expected a much stronger cheese flavor from this "extra sharp" cheddar, but it's quite mild. Cheddar is a great melting cheese, and this would be delicious in a grilled cheese sandwich, but you'd want something spicy or sweet to amp up the flavor.

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Parmesan Cheese

trader joe's parmesan
Lizzy Briskin, Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (1 oz): 110 cal, 7 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, <1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 9 g protein

This cheese had the highest protein count and one of the highest sodium content of the Trader Joe's cheeses I sampled. The packaging doesn't specify where this cheese is from. Technically, if it's not from Parma, Italy, it can't be called Parmesan with a capital P. I assume TJ's would make it known if this was an Italian import, so let's assume this is parmesan, not Parmesan.

The look: This cheese is sold in the signature thick wedge. It has a hard, dry rind on the wider edge of the wedge and over one side (the rinds are great for thickening soups, so don't let yours go to waste). The cheese is the firmest in this test and has a pale yellow color.

The taste: This parm was saltier than many of the others I sampled, but it wasn't necessarily all that flavorful or bold-tasting. It had the grainy texture of all Parmesans, so it's easily grated and sliced off in shards rather than neat slices. I think pricier imported parmesan cheeses have a more robust flavor.

Asiago Cheese with Rosemary & Olive Oil

trader joe's rosemary olive oil asiago cheese
Lizzy Briskin, Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (1 oz): 120 cal, 10 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 7 g protein

Asiago is another hard cheese, and this wedge is infused with dried rosemary and olive oil.

The look: This thin wedge is coated on one side with a generous sprinkling of dried rosemary. The herb sticks to the cheese well, so you get a fair bit in every bite if you slice it correctly. This asiago also has a firm rind on one side.

The taste: I immediately noticed the funky aroma of this cheese after opening the package. It has a sharp but creamy flavor with an herby finish. I wouldn't say I could taste the olive oil, but you get plenty of rosemary, which could be off-putting if you're not a fan of intense dried herb flavors.

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Double Cream Gouda Cheese

trader joe's gouda
Lizzy Briskin, Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (1 oz): 110 cal, 9 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 5 g protein

This gouda comes from Holland and is made with cow's milk. Like the parm, it's sliced from a larger wheel and has a rind on two sides.

The look: This is a rubbery, dense cheese with a few small air pockets in the yellowish center. It has a darker yellow rind that's quite hard and waxy.

The taste: This gouda has a tangier flavor than most of the cheeses I tried from Trader Joe's. It's sharp but creamy, with a richness that coats your mouth. The texture is semi-hard, and the cheese is easy to slice into planks or cubes. The rind also peels off easily.

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La Délice de Bourgogine Triple Cream Soft Ripened Cheese

trader joe's triple cream cheese
Lizzy Briskin for Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (1 oz): 110 cal, 11 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 3 g protein

This French cheese doesn't have a distinct classification, but it's similar to brie or Camembert in its flavor, texture, and look. It comes in a special hard plastic case to presumably prevent any smushing in transit, as it's a very soft, delicate wedge.

The look: The high-fat content of this soft cheese is visible. It has three layers: a fairly thick washed rind, then an intensely creamy layer that's silky smooth and spreads like soft butter. The center is a bit firmer, which gives the cheese some structure, and is pocked by small air pockets.

The taste: This cheese is insanely creamy and rich. You can cut away slices, but they nearly fall apart on your knife. This is a cheese that needs a cracker for spreading. The flavor is wonderfully buttery and has a funky back-of-the-throat flavor that you get from well-made cheeses.

Lizzy Briskin
Lizzy is a trained chef, food writer, and recipe developer for print and digital outlets including Insider, Real Simple, and the Chicago Tribune. Read more about Lizzy