Fans of a juicy turkey sandwich will know that the best way to create a deluxe version of this family favorite is to add a slice or two of cheese.
Whether you like your turkey sandwich cold and fresh or prefer it grilled and piping hot, cheese is the perfect partner to leftover turkey.
But how do you choose the best cheese for a turkey sandwich? Look for a cheese that is robust but not overpowering in terms of flavor, and that will melt perfectly when grilled. The most popular cheeses for a turkey sandwich include gouda, provolone, Emmental, and Monterey Jack.
Have we got your tastebuds tingling for a cheesy turkey sandwich? Let’s take a look at the best cheeses for a turkey sandwich, to make sure you get the perfect combination!
Why Put Cheese In A Turkey Sandwich?
A flavor-filled turkey sandwich is a firm favorite in many households. Just think of those thick slices of soft bread, filled with perfectly sliced turkey and fresh lettuce and tomatoes.
Delicious! But if you’re a turkey sandwich fan, you might be wondering why it is a good idea to add cheese to this much-loved snack?
Adding cheese to a turkey sandwich creates a whole new taste sensation, and if you haven’t tried it then now is the time to start!
Putting the right cheese in a turkey sandwich will not only add a new dimension of flavor to the sandwich but also complement the taste of the turkey and other fillings.
And if you’re a fan of a grilled turkey sandwich, adding cheese will transform your hot snack into an oozy, gooey, cheesy stack of deliciousness!
When it comes to adding cheese to a turkey sandwich, there are many options available. However, some cheeses work far better than others, so it is good to have a basic idea of which cheese pairs well with turkey in a sandwich.
The final decision will come down to personal taste and what flavor combination you are aiming for, so let’s figure out how to pick the best cheese for your succulent turkey sandwich!
How To Choose The Best Cheese For A Turkey Sandwich
Cheese is one of the most versatile sandwich ingredients out there, with numerous different types available.
This popular dairy product comes in a huge range of flavors and textures, and picking the right one is vital when it comes to the success of your turkey sandwich!
One of the first things to consider is the strength of flavor of the cheese. Do you want to taste the cheese, or use it to add a background flavor to the turkey?
Some cheeses can be far too overpowering for the delicate flavor of turkey, while others are very mild and subtle in comparison.
Then you need to think about texture! Do you want a firm, crumbly cheese, or soft cheese that molds around the turkey? If you’re making a grilled turkey sandwich, do you want a cheese that melts?
And finally, take a look at the flavor profile of the cheese—older matured cheeses tend to be smoother and nuttier in flavor, while young cheeses are more tangy and fresh.
Some cheeses are smoked, while others are flavored with herbs and seasonings.
Basically, when it comes to cheese on your turkey sandwich, the options are virtually endless!
But there are a few classic flavor combinations that people turn to time and again, as they are the perfect blend of cheese, turkey, and other fillings.
So, to take the guesswork out of choosing the right cheese for your turkey sandwich, here are our top 9 selections!
What Is The Best Cheese For A Turkey Sandwich?
Here are our top 9 picks for the best cheeses for a turkey sandwich, including some classic combinations and some more zany but surprisingly good options!
1. Gouda Cheese
- Flavor Profile: Mild, sweet, and creamy, with a hint of butterscotch
- Texture: Semi-firm
- Best For: The ultimate leftover turkey sandwich
- Pair With: Arugula, apple, and smoked turkey in between thick slices of sourdough bread
Gouda is often overlooked as a sandwich cheese, but it is the perfect partner for turkey in a sandwich, both hot and cold!
When it comes to a turkey sandwich, gouda ticks all the boxes – a semi-firm texture that molds around the cooked meat, and a creamy, mild flavor that accentuates the delicate taste of turkey.
Gouda works perfectly in a classic turkey sandwich, with crisp lettuce and slices of cucumber and tomato.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, switch the lettuce for peppery arugula and add in some sweet, crisp slices of apple. A real taste sensation!
2. Provolone Cheese
- Flavor Profile: A mild cheese with a smokey, nutty flavor
- Texture: Semi-firm and stretchy
- Best For: A cold roasted turkey breast sandwich
- Pair With: Pesto mayonnaise and crisp spinach leaves
Made famous by a well-known food court restaurant, the turkey and provolone sandwich is a popular combination that is easy to recreate at home.
Provolone is an aged stretched-curd cheese that originates from Italy. It has a mild nutty flavor, with a slight hint of spiciness with delicate smokey undertones.
This pairs perfectly with roasted turkey breast, adding new levels of taste without overpowering the cooked meat.
This cheese works best in a cold turkey sandwich, on a light whole grain or white bread roll. For some added zing, we’d suggest a dollop of pesto mayonnaise and some fresh baby spinach leaves for extra crunch.
3. Emmental Cheese
- Flavor Profile: Fruity and nutty
- Texture: Firm and stretchy
- Best For: Cold cuts of dark turkey meat
- Pair With: Pickled gherkins, iceberg lettuce, and Dijon mustard
Another cheese that works well for a cold turkey sandwich, Emmental is punchier and more robust in flavor than our first two picks.
It has a distinctive fruity flavor with notes of hazelnut, which work really well with darker leg and thigh meats.
This combination is enhanced with the addition of some crisp pickled gherkins, crunchy iceberg lettuce, and zingy Dijon mustard. A flavor-packed sandwich that will satisfy the heartiest appetite!
4. Monterey Jack Cheese
- Flavor Profile: Mild, creamy, and buttery
- Texture: Semi-hard
- Best For: Grilled turkey sandwiches
- Pair With: Keep it simple with a few slices of avocado and pickled jalapenos
Monterey Jack is the classic grilled sandwich cheese, and this is our cheese of choice for a hot turkey sandwich.
It has a mild buttery flavor that complements the delicate taste of turkey, and the creamy texture melts perfectly under the grill.
This cheese would work well with the addition of some avocado and pickled jalapenos, and for an extra salty kick, you could top it with some grilled bacon. Absolutely delicious!
5. Cheddar Cheese
- Flavor Profile: Strong cheese with an earthy, pungent taste
- Texture: Hard and crumbly
- Best For: Smoked turkey sandwiches
- Pair With: Thinly sliced red onion and juicy cherry tomatoes
Cheddar cheese is not for the fainthearted but if you like your food punchy and packed full of flavor, give it a try on your next turkey sandwich!
We think it works best with smoked turkey, where the sharpness of the cheese brings out the taste of the cooked meat perfectly.
For a touch of crunch and sweetness, add some thinly sliced red onion. A few cherry tomatoes served on the side will give a refreshing hit of sweet, juicy flavor.
- Flavor Profile: Mild, buttery, and creamy
- Texture: Soft and gooey
- Best For: Delicate slices of cooked turkey breast
- Pair With: Cranberry jelly for the classic thanksgiving sandwich
Brie is a soft, mild cheese that is very delicate in flavor. This is the best option for anyone who likes a very subtle cheese!
It will add a hint of creamy buttery flavor to your turkey, particularly if you have some thin slices of cooked turkey breast.
A turkey, cranberry, and brie sandwich is a classic holiday leftover dish, and many of us look forward to this creation more than the Thanksgiving feast itself!
7. Parmesan Cheese
- Flavor Profile: Strong and intense
- Texture: Hard and crumbly
- Best For: Adding a hit of flavor without the calories
- Pair With: Marinara sauce in a hot panini
Parmesan, or Parmigiano Reggiano, is a hard Italian cheese that is aged for a long period of time. This gives it an intense nutty flavor, which is sweet, salty, and very strong!
The reason that parmesan is a great choice is that a little goes a long way. This is ideal if you don’t want to load your sandwich with fatty cheese. A light sprinkling will give a great cheesy flavor, without pumping up the calories.
Parmesan works really well in a hot toasted panini, with some herby marinara sauce and slices of cooked turkey breast.
8. Edam Cheese
- Flavor Profile: Savory, nutty, and salty
- Texture: Semi-hard
- Best For: The ultimate turkey club sandwich
- Pair With: Bacon, salad leaves, and crisp slices of pickles
Edam is often overlooked as a sandwich cheese, but if you’re creating the ultimate club sandwich then it is a great choice!
The smooth texture and salty taste of Edam is ideal for a club sandwich, served inside a crusty baguette or thick slices of artisan bread.
Add in some crisp bacon, fresh salad leaves, and sliced pickles, top with honey and mustard spread, and you’ve got the perfect combination!
9. Colby Jack Cheese
- Flavor Profile: Mild and nutty
- Texture: Semi-hard
- Best For: Melts well under the grill, and robust enough to stand up to stronger flavors
- Pair With: Leftover beef chili works perfectly with turkey and Colby Jack cheese to create the ultimate chili cheese turkey sliders!
Colby Jack cheese originates from the US and is made from cow’s milk. You will often find Colby Jack mixed with Monterey Jack, as the two cheeses work together to create an incredible taste sensation.
This cheese melts very easily, making it a popular choice in grilled turkey sandwiches and sliders.
Try adding a spoonful of beef chili and a few thin slices of fresh jalapenos to your hot turkey sandwich—perfect for fans of spicy flavor combinations!