What Does Havarti Cheese Taste Like?

Havarti cheese, with its creamy texture and buttery taste, originated in Denmark and continues to delight cheese lovers across the globe. This semi-soft cheese, created by Hanne Nielsen in the mid-19th century, is known for its versatility in the culinary world, providing a rich and smooth backdrop to numerous dishes and food pairings. Its unique taste profile consists of a mild yet tangy flavor, with subtle notes of sweetness.

The production of Havarti cheese involves a simple yet meticulous process, resulting in a smooth, easy-to-slice cheese that comes in various forms. From plain Havarti to flavored varieties like dill or jalapeño, there’s a type of Havarti to please every palate. When it comes to enhancing your culinary creations or simply savoring a delicious cheese on its own, Havarti is undoubtedly a fantastic choice.

Key Takeaways

  • Havarti cheese boasts a creamy texture, mild flavor, and Danish origins
  • It comes in various forms, from plain to flavored, offering diverse options
  • Havarti can be used in various culinary creations or enjoyed on its own

Characteristics of Havarti Cheese


Havarti cheese has a visually appealing aspect. Its semi-soft structure boasts a creamy yellow hue, reflecting its rich, buttery nature. You’ll find this eye-catching cheese with small irregular holes, enhancing its appearance.


When you experience Havarti cheese, you’ll notice its smooth and supple texture. The semi-soft consistency makes this cheese easy to slice and pleasurable to chew. As you enjoy the experience, the slight springiness adds a bit of excitement to your palate.


Taste-wise, you won’t be disappointed. Havarti cheese presents a mild yet distinct buttery flavor that’s accompanied by a subtle, buttery aroma. This combination creates a harmonious taste sensation in your mouth.

Historical Background of Havarti Cheese

In the 19th century, the origins of Havarti cheese, a Danish creation, were established. You might be interested to know that the birthplace of this creamy, semi-soft cheese was a farm near Copenhagen. Its creation is largely credited to a woman named Hanne Nielsen.

Hanne Nielsen was a passionate and dedicated dairy practitioner who traveled extensively throughout Europe. Her exploration led her to discover various cheese-making techniques which she brought back to Denmark. This journey eventually allowed her to develop the original Havarti cheese recipe that is still popular today.

As you taste Havarti, you may detect its European roots and connection to Danish culture. Over time, the cheese gained popularity not only in Denmark but also in various parts of the world. For instance, Wisconsin, a well-known cheese-producing region in the United States, started producing Havarti to cater to the growing demand.

Now that you have learned the historical background of Havarti cheese, you can better appreciate its unique flavor and characteristics. Keep in mind that the next time you enjoy a piece of Havarti, you are also savoring a piece of Danish history and the passion of Hanne Nielsen.

Nutritional Facts about Havarti Cheese

Havarti cheese is a delicious and versatile cheese option that can be enjoyed on its own or in various dishes. When it comes to its nutritional content, you may also find it beneficial to include in your diet. Below are some key nutritional facts about Havarti cheese.

In a typical serving of Havarti cheese (1 ounce), you will find approximately 100 calories. This makes it a reasonable option for those watching their caloric intake. However, it’s essential to remember that moderation is key, as with any food item.

A notable feature of Havarti cheese is its calcium content. Each serving contains about 150 to 200 milligrams of calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong bones and proper functioning of the nervous system.

The protein content in Havarti cheese is also relatively high, providing around 6 grams per serving. This makes it a valuable source of this essential nutrient, particularly for vegetarians and those who are looking to add more protein to their diet.

When it comes to sodium, a serving of Havarti cheese contains approximately 180 milligrams. While this may be a concern for those monitoring their salt intake, it is important to balance the cheese with other low-sodium food options.

The cholesterol content in Havarti cheese is around 20 milligrams per serving. If you have been advised by your doctor to watch your cholesterol levels, make sure to consume this cheese in moderation.

Havarti cheese also provides a small amount of Vitamin A in each serving. While it might not be a significant source of this essential vitamin, it can still contribute to meeting your daily requirements.

In summary, Havarti cheese offers a range of nutrients, including calcium, protein, and modest amounts of Vitamin A. With its calorie count and sodium content in consideration, enjoying this cheese in moderation can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet.

Varieties of Havarti Cheese

When exploring the world of Havarti cheese, you will find several varieties to suit your taste. Each one has its unique flavor profile, enhancing your culinary experience.

Cream Havarti is a type that has a higher fat content than the standard. This cheese is creamier and smoother, making it a popular option for those who enjoy a rich taste and velvety texture.

Smoked Havarti offers a distinct flavor as it is naturally smoked over wood chips. The smoky taste complements the creaminess of the cheese, providing a unique and delicious combination that is perfect for sandwiches or as part of a cheeseboard.

Havarti is also available in a range of flavored varieties. These flavors are introduced by adding various ingredients or spices during the cheese-making process. Some popular flavored Havarti options include:

  • Caraway: This Havarti has caraway seeds mixed into the cheese, giving it a distinct earthy and aromatic taste. It pairs well with rye bread or as part of a deli platter.
  • Dill: By adding fresh dill to the Havarti, this cheese takes on a subtle herbaceous flavor that pairs beautifully with smoked salmon or in a fresh salad.
  • Garlic: For those who enjoy a little extra kick, garlic Havarti provides a robust and savory taste. This variety works well melted over bread or as a complement to roast beef.
  • Cranberry: The addition of cranberries to Havarti creates a delightful balance of sweet and savory flavors. This cheese is perfect for holiday cheeseboards or enjoyed with crackers and fresh fruit.

As you explore the many varieties of Havarti cheese, you will find flavors and textures to suit any palate. From the creamy and rich cream Havarti to the smoky and robust smoked version, there is a type of Havarti for everyone to enjoy. Experiment with flavored options as well to create unique combinations for your next culinary adventure.

Culinary Uses of Havarti Cheese

Havarti cheese is incredibly versatile in the kitchen, offering various options for enhancing your favorite dishes. You can enjoy Havarti on its own or incorporate it into both sweet and savory recipes.

For an easy, yet delicious appetizer, pair Havarti with fresh fruits like apples and pears, or serve it on crackers to complement its mild, buttery flavor. If you’re looking to elevate your pizza night, try adding slices of Havarti on top of your pizza crust before baking, or sprinkle grated Havarti on pasta dishes for extra creaminess.

Adding Havarti to sauces will bring a velvety texture to your creations. For a delightful grilled cheese sandwich, use Havarti together with your choice of bread and fillings for a rich, melty twist. It also works beautifully in casseroles, offering gooey pockets of cheese throughout the dish.

Cheese platters look inviting with a variety of Havarti options, from plain to those with added herbs and spices. You can also create eye-catching cheese molds by incorporating Havarti into the mixture. Its mild taste and meltability make it a perfect addition to burgers for an extra layer of indulgence.

Although Havarti isn’t a traditional dessert cheese, you can experiment by adding it to sweet dishes. Its creamy consistency can be a delightful surprise in dessert recipes, providing a unique contrast to sweeter ingredients. With its confident and neutral flavor profile, Havarti cheese is a clear and versatile choice to bring richness and creativity to your culinary adventures.

Pairing Havarti Cheese with Food and Drinks

Havarti cheese has a semi-soft texture and a mild, buttery flavor, making it easy to pair with various foods and drinks. To enhance your Havarti cheese experience, consider these pairing suggestions:

When it comes to wine, Havarti cheese goes well with both red and white varieties. For white wines, a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc would complement the creaminess of the cheese. In the red wine department, you can opt for a Merlot or a Pinot Noir, as their fruity profile brings out the best in Havarti.

Beer enthusiasts will also find plenty of options for pairing with Havarti cheese. Look for lighter beers such as pilsners, lagers, or wheat beers to balance the subtle flavors of the cheese without overpowering it.

In terms of food, Havarti cheese pairs nicely with grapes, which provide a sweet contrast to the creamy cheese. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pistachios can add crunch and earthy flavors to the pairing.

If you prefer other cheeses, consider creating a varied cheese board alongside Havarti. Swiss cheese and Monterey Jack share a similar mildness, while Muenster cheese adds a slightly tangy note. If you’d like to introduce a bolder flavor to the mix, you can include blue cheese or a sharp cheddar.

Don’t be afraid to experiment when pairing Havarti cheese with food and drinks. Its versatile taste allows for various combinations that will delight your taste buds.

How to Preserve and Store Havarti Cheese

When it comes to preserving and storing Havarti cheese, there are a few key steps you should follow to maintain the quality and freshness of your cheese.

First and foremost, always ensure that your cheese is properly sealed to prevent any exposure to air, which can lead to drying out or mold growth. One common method is to use plastic wrap or aluminum foil, but you can also use a cheese storage bag or a resealable container for this purpose.

To further enhance the cheese’s shelf life, avoid exposing it to fluctuating temperatures. Store your Havarti cheese in the refrigerator, ideally at a temperature between 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 4 degrees Celsius). The ideal spot in the refrigerator is the vegetable or cheese drawer, as it tends to maintain a consistent temperature.

If you plan on using your Havarti cheese frequently for seasoning or adding it to various dishes, consider cutting it into smaller portions and wrapping those individually for easier access and quicker thawing. This way, you’ll also minimize the amount of air exposure each time you retrieve a piece of cheese.

As for the shelf life of your Havarti cheese, it generally lasts between 3 to 4 weeks when properly stored in the refrigerator. However, it’s always a good idea to monitor the appearance and aroma of your cheese to ensure it remains fresh. If mold starts to form, or if the cheese develops an off smell, it’s best to discard it and purchase a new block.

Remember, preserving and storing your Havarti cheese correctly will not only extend its shelf life but also retain its creamy, buttery taste and texture that you enjoy.

Comparison of Havarti Cheese with Other Cheeses

Havarti Cheese versus Cheddar

When comparing Havarti cheese to Cheddar, you’ll notice that Havarti has a milder, creamier flavor due to its shorter aging process. Cheddar, on the other hand, can range from mild to sharp, depending on the length of aging. The texture of Havarti is also softer and more readily melts, making it an excellent choice for grilled cheese or creamy sauces. Cheddar is firmer and may not melt as smoothly.

Havarti Cheese versus Swiss Cheese

Swiss cheese and Havarti differ in flavor and texture. Swiss cheese is known for its distinct nutty and slightly sweet taste and the iconic holes or “eyes” in its texture. Havarti does not have these holes and offers a mild, slightly tangy taste. Swiss cheese is firmer than Havarti, which can be more buttery and creamy.

Havarti Cheese versus American Cheese

American cheese, a processed cheese product, is quite different from Havarti. American cheese has an even milder taste and a smooth texture due to additives like emulsifiers. Havarti, conversely, is a natural cheese boasting a richer, creamier flavor. You might prefer Havarti for its more authentic and versatile taste compared to the simpler flavor of American cheese, which is typically used in sandwiches and burgers.

Havarti Cheese versus Muenster Cheese

Muenster cheese shares some similarities with Havarti, such as a semi-soft texture and mild flavor. However, Muenster cheese has a distinctive reddish-orange rind created by a paprika or annatto wash. Havarti does not have a colored rind but can feature some small eyes in its texture. Both cheeses melt well, so they work great in dishes requiring a smooth, melted cheese.

Havarti Cheese versus Brie

Brie is a soft-ripened cheese with a white, edible rind. Its taste is characterized as creamy and buttery, with a touch of earthiness from the rind. Havarti lacks the white rind and is slightly firmer than Brie. While both have relatively mild flavors, you may find Brie’s taste a bit more complex. Brie is most often enjoyed on its own or in a baked appetizer, whereas Havarti is more versatile for cooking and snacking.

Production of Havarti Cheese

Havarti cheese is a semi-soft cheese made from cow’s milk. To begin the production process, you’ll need high-quality cow’s milk that is fresh and pasteurized. Cheesemakers then combine the milk with rennet and starter cultures, which are essential for the development of the cheese’s distinct flavor.

After the milk has coagulated, forming cheese curds, the curds are separated from the whey. This is a critical step, as it determines the final texture of the Havarti cheese. To achieve that perfect semi-soft texture, cheesemakers gently cut the curds into smaller pieces, allowing more whey to drain away.

Once the curds reach the desired consistency, they are pressed into molds, which give Havarti cheese its distinctive shape. The cheese is then allowed to rest, allowing the flavors to develop further. The development of a rind is an important aspect of the aging process. To ensure a consistent and even aging, the Havarti cheeses are regularly turned and monitored by experienced cheesemakers.

The aging process for Havarti cheese can vary, with a typical range of three to twelve months. During this time, the flavors continue to develop. The longer the cheese ages, the stronger and more complex the flavors become, and the rind on the cheese will also become firmer. Havarti cheese is known for its creamy and buttery taste, with a hint of tanginess, making it a popular addition to sandwiches, salads, and cheese plates.

In summary, the production of Havarti cheese involves the use of cow’s milk, the application of specific cheesemaking techniques, and careful aging for flavor development. Embracing its Danish origins, Havarti cheese continues to be a favorite among cheese enthusiasts for its versatile taste and appealing texture.

Understanding the Taste of Havarti Cheese

Havarti cheese is a semi-soft Danish cheese with a distinct taste that appeals to many palates. When you take a bite of Havarti, you’ll notice its creamy texture and mild, buttery flavor. It’s a versatile cheese that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes or simply on its own.

The taste of Havarti can be described as a combination of sweet, creamy, and slightly sharp notes. It has a delicate balance of flavors that makes it a favorite among cheese enthusiasts. The sweetness in Havarti cheese comes from the natural sugars found in milk, which are converted into lactic acid during the cheese-making process. This adds a hint of tartness to the overall taste.

While Havarti is not as sharp as aged cheddar or as salty as feta, you will still detect a subtle sharpness and saltiness in its flavor profile. The sharpness of Havarti comes from the presence of amino acids and bacteria that develop during the aging process. As for the saltiness, it is a result of the salt added during cheese making, which acts as a preservative and flavor enhancer.

The creamy mouthfeel and smooth texture of Havarti are due to its high fat content, which ranges from 30% to 45%. This fat content contributes to the overall richness and satisfying taste associated with Havarti cheese.

In summary, when enjoying Havarti cheese, you’ll experience a delightful combination of sweet, creamy, sharp, and slightly salty flavors with an acidic undertone. This unique taste profile makes it an excellent choice to pair with fruits, crackers, and a variety of dishes, allowing you to appreciate its confident and complex flavor.

Health Benefits and Risks of Havarti Cheese

Havarti cheese is not only a delicious addition to your meals but also provides some health benefits. When consumed in moderation, it can be part of a balanced diet.

Calcium and protein: Havarti cheese is a good source of calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Additionally, it provides protein, assisting in muscle growth and repair.

Vitamin A: This cheese contains vitamin A, beneficial for your immune system and promoting healthy vision.

However, there are some risks and considerations to keep in mind when incorporating Havarti cheese into your diet.

Sodium and cholesterol: Havarti cheese is high in sodium, which can contribute to high blood pressure when consumed in large quantities. It also contains cholesterol, which may impact your heart health if you already have high cholesterol levels.

Calories: Like most cheeses, Havarti is calorie-dense, so it is essential to watch your portion sizes to avoid unwanted weight gain.

To summarize, enjoy Havarti cheese as part of a balanced diet, being mindful of your portion sizes and overall sodium and cholesterol intake.

The Popularity of Havarti Cheese in Different Regions

Havarti cheese originated in Denmark and has since gained popularity across various regions, including Copenhagen, Wisconsin, America, and Europe. In its home country, you can find Havarti as a staple in many households and served in restaurants, showcasing the pride Denmark takes in this delicious cheese.

Moving to Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, Havarti’s popularity soars with locals and tourists alike. Many specialty shops sell different varieties of this cheese, and it is a common ingredient in traditional Danish dishes. As a result, you, as a visitor, can appreciate the authentic taste of Havarti on your travels.

In Wisconsin, a state famously known for its cheese production, Havarti has made its mark. Cheese manufacturers in this American region produce exceptional Havarti cheese, brimming with a creamy and buttery taste. No wonder, you’ll often find Wisconsin-made Havarti in stores and supermarkets across the United States.

America, in general, has embraced Havarti cheese with open arms. You’ll find it in various supermarkets, gourmet shops, and restaurants throughout the country. The cheese is especially popular in dishes like sandwiches and cheese platters, where Havarti’s mild and creamy taste complements other flavors.

Havarti’s fame extends to Europe, where the cheese seems to be gaining traction in various countries. You can find Havarti in a growing number of establishments, especially in those regions that have a tradition of appreciating fine cheeses. So, it won’t be surprising to see Havarti becoming a favorite among European cheese enthusiasts.

Culinary Recipes You Can Try with Havarti Cheese

Havarti cheese is a versatile ingredient that can add a delicious touch to various dishes. Here are some mouth-watering recipes that showcase the delightful taste of Havarti cheese:

Havarti Cheese Pizza: Level up your homemade pizza game by substituting your regular mozzarella with Havarti cheese. The creamy and slightly tangy taste of Havarti perfectly complements pizza toppings such as vegetables, meats, or just a simple Margherita. Feel free to experiment with different pizza sauce bases to complement the Havarti flavor.

Pasta Dishes with Havarti Cheese: Elevate your pasta dishes by incorporating creamy Havarti cheese as your main ingredient. Try a rich and indulgent Havarti mac and cheese or a Havarti-based Alfredo sauce. Add in your favorite vegetables, like spinach or cherry tomatoes, to create a more balanced meal.

Grilled Havarti Cheese Sandwich: Put a twist on your classic grilled cheese by using Havarti instead of your regular cheddar or American cheese. The smooth, creamy texture of Havarti cheese makes for a delicious melt-in-your-mouth sandwich. Add a few slices of tomato or cooked bacon for an even more delectable experience.

Havarti Cheese-Topped Burgers: Impress your friends and family by incorporating Havarti cheese into your next burger night. Place a generous slice of Havarti cheese on top of your cooked patty and let it melt slightly before removing it from the heat. The mild flavor of Havarti won’t overpower the burger but will add a creamy and delicious accompaniment.

Incorporating Havarti cheese into these recipes can help you create delicious, unique, and flavorful dishes. Feel free to experiment with your favorite recipes and ingredients to create the perfect Havarti-inspired masterpiece.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the flavor profile of Havarti cheese?

Havarti cheese has a buttery, creamy and slightly tangy flavor. It is a semi-soft cheese, which makes it very versatile. You can enjoy it by itself, in a sandwich, or melted into your favorite dish.

How does Havarti compare to other cheeses in taste?

In comparison to other cheeses, Havarti’s taste is relatively mild, but it still has a distinct flavor. It is less sharp than Cheddar or Swiss, and less pungent than Blue cheeses. This makes it a great option for those who prefer a smoother cheese experience.

What foods pair well with the taste of Havarti?

Havarti pairs well with a wide variety of foods. Its creaminess goes well with fruits like grapes, apples, and pears. The cheese also complements the flavors of different types of bread, crackers, and charcuterie meats. For a wine pairing, choose lighter options like a crisp white wine or a refreshing rosé.

Is Havarti cheese mild or strong in flavor?

Havarti is typically considered a mild cheese. Its flavor profile is subtle yet still pronounced, which makes it ideal for those who enjoy milder cheeses that still offer some depth of flavor.

Do Havarti and mozzarella have a similar taste?

While both Havarti and mozzarella are mild cheeses, they do have their differences. Mozzarella has a more delicate flavor and a lighter, slightly spongy texture, while Havarti is creamier and has a subtle tanginess. While they may appear similar, each cheese brings its own unique flavor profile to your dishes.

What dishes benefit from the taste of Havarti cheese?

The versatility of Havarti cheese makes it an excellent choice for many dishes. Its creamy texture can enhance dishes such as grilled cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and quiches. Havarti also melts beautifully, which makes it a popular choice for toppings on casseroles, pizzas, and baked pastas.

What Does Havarti Cheese Taste Like?

Here's a simple recipe for Havarti cheese:
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Danish
Servings 4
Calories 206 kcal


  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp calcium chloride if using pasteurized milk
  • 1/4 tsp mesophilic starter culture
  • 1/2 tsp liquid rennet
  • 1 tbsp cheese salt
  • 1/4 cup cold water


  • Heat the milk to 86°F in a large pot, stirring occasionally.
  • If using pasteurized milk, add the calcium chloride and stir well.
  • Sprinkle the mesophilic starter culture over the surface of the milk and let it rehydrate for 2-3 minutes. Then stir it in thoroughly.
  • Dilute the rennet in the cold water and add it to the milk, stirring gently for 30 seconds.
  • Cover the pot and let it sit undisturbed for 45-60 minutes, until the curd has formed and can be cleanly cut with a knife.
  • Cut the curd into 1/2-inch cubes and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Heat the curds and whey to 92°F, stirring gently.
  • Drain off the whey until only the curds remain.
  • Sprinkle the cheese salt over the curds and mix it in thoroughly.
  • Press the curds into a cheese mold and let them drain for 2-3 hours.
  • Remove the cheese from the mold and let it air dry for 2-3 days, until a rind forms.
  • Store the cheese in the refrigerator, wrapped in cheese paper or waxed paper.


Calories: 206kcal
Keyword what does havart cheese taste like
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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