Goat cheese is endlessly versatile! Here’s what to know about creamy chevre: ideal for quick appetizers, salads, pastas, and more.
One of the most versatile ingredients in the dairy shelf, in our opinion? Goat cheese. This tangy, creamy cheese adds a bit of magic to any dish: toss soft crumbles on a fresh salad, warm it a simple tangy, creamy dip, or use it to make creamy pasta sauce. But goat cheese is more than just the fresh variety: there are ripened and aged versions too! What’s the best way to use this versatile cheese? Here’s what to know (plus our favorite recipes below).
What is goat cheese? What is chevre?
Goat cheese is cheese made from goat’s milk, both fresh and aged. Chèvre is another word for goat cheese (it translates to “goat” in French). The term chevre is often associated with the fresh variety of the cheese, but it can be used to describe any type. There are three basic categories: fresh, soft ripened, and aged.
- The most common type is fresh goat cheese: cheese that is unaged and soft, often sold in a log shape. What does goat cheese taste like? It’s buttery and tangy, with a distinct earthy finish. It has a creamy texture that’s easily spreadable at room temperature.
- There are many varieties of soft ripened or aged goat cheese, ranging from hard to semi-soft to crumbly to funky. Some examples of ripened and aged goat cheeses include:
- Goat Brie (France and Canada), like a milder version of cow brie
- Queso de Murcia al Vino (Spain), a smooth cheese washed in red wine
- Humboldt Fog (California, US), a funky soft ripened cheese with a gray ribbon of ash
- Aged Goat Gouda (Netherlands) is very hard with a crystalline texture (read more about types beyond chevre here)
Buying and storing goat cheese
What to look for when you’re buying goat cheese at the store? Here’s what to know:
- Fresh goat cheese should be bright white and firm. It is often sold as logs in the grocery store, but you can also find it in tubs.
- Aged goat cheese is available at the cheese counter. Store aged cheese wrapped in paper or wax paper in the refrigerator drawer for up to 1 week.
- Unopened fresh goat cheese that’s vacuum packed in plastic can last up to 2 months refrigerated.
- Opened fresh goat cheese lasts about 1 week refrigerated. Once it’s open, remove it from the packaging and store it in a sealed container in the fridge.
Is goat cheese good for you?
If you’re a cheese lover, goat cheese is one of your best bets. There are many benefits of this variety over a standard cow’s cheese like cheddar or mozzarella. Here are some of the benefits of goat cheese (via Prevention):
- Goat cheese has more vitamins and minerals than cow’s cheese. Goat’s milk is richer in essential nutrients than cow’s milk (like vitamin A & B, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium).
- It has slightly less calories than cow’s cheese. Goat cheese has just 75 calories per ounce—less than cow-based varieties like mozzarella (85), Swiss (108), and cheddar (115).
- Goat cheese is easier to digest. Even people who are lactose intolerant often can digest goat cheese! This is because it has less lactose than cow’s milk and a slightly different protein structure.
Goat cheese substitutes
What can you use instead of goat cheese in recipes? Cream cheese, ricotta cheese, feta cheese or labneh can work depending on the recipe. Go to Best Substitutes for Goat Cheese to read more.
Ways to use goat cheese
Fresh goat cheese is an extremely versatile ingredient, ideal for easy appetizers, a garnish for salads, or to dollop on pizza and pasta. For soft-ripened and aged cheeses, use them for cheese boards or to substitute in for aged cow cheeses in recipes. Here are a few of our top fresh goat cheese recipes:
This warm goat cheese appetizer is perfect for entertaining! Just 4 ingredients make this tasty dip for crostini or crackers.
- 10 ounces goat cheese log
- ½ cup orange apricot marmalade, or preserves or jam of any flavor*
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- Crostini, bread or crackers, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spread ⅓ cup of the preserves in a small baking dish. Add the goat cheese log. Top with 2 tablespoons of the preserves. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the dish from the oven and top with pistachios and fresh thyme. Use as a dip for crostini, bread, or crackers.
*Other great options are blueberry, blackberry, fig, tomato jam, and more.
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Goat Cheese
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: Goat cheese