The 9 Best Cheese Books in 2022

A memoir, plating guides, reference books, and more

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Our Top Picks

Best for Cheese Plates: That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life at Amazon

"It's a beautiful, straightforward guide from the queen of internet cheese plates."

Best for Next-Level Cheese Plates: The Art of the Cheese Plate at Amazon

"A longtime fromager shares her secrets."

Best for New Cheese Lovers: The New Rules of Cheese at Amazon

"For new and seasoned cheese lovers alike, this read is fun and informative."

Best Memoir: Goat Song at Amazon

"Take an inside look at what it’s really like to leave city life behind to raise goats."

Best Cookbook: Hot Cheese at Amazon

"The ultimate cookbook for croque monsieur, khachapuri, and more."

Best for Fondue: Essential Fondue Cookbook at Amazon

"Choose from 75 recipes to create the fondue of your dreams."

Best for Cheesemaking: Home Cheese Making at Amazon

"Make mozzarella, chevre, blue cheese, and more."

Best Reference Book: The Oxford Companion to Cheese at Amazon

"Curious cheese lovers can keep learning with this incredible wealth of knowledge."

Best for Discovering New Cheeses: The Book of Cheese at Amazon

"Find new favorite cheeses using Thorpe’s expert system."

You may think that the best gift to give a cheese lover would be more cheese. Indeed, that could make a lovely present, but unless you know their favorites (and what’s already in their fridge), you may end up getting something that they’ll regift. Instead, you may want to consider a cheese book or even get one for yourself. Learn how to craft beautiful and delicious cheese plates, find inspiration for your next meal by way of a cookbook, relish in a lyrical memoir, and more. The possibilities are seemingly endless and outrageously cheesy.

Here are the best cheese books for you and all your cheese-loving friends.

Best for Cheese Plates: That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life

 Courtesy of Amazon

Marissa Mullen, founder of That Cheese Plate and Cheese by Numbers went from publicist to cheese influencer by posting her beautiful creations to Instagram. If you, too, want to create spreads that stop your guests in their tracks, pick up her book and get your phone camera ready. This guide offers formulas for making boards, like the ones Mullen famously creates, using either the same or similar cheeses, plus helpful tips on which accompaniments pair best. As you find yourself following her formulas for gorgeous boards, you may just find your own creativity unlocked. Think of it as cheese board 101.

Best for Next-Level Cheese Plates: The Art of The Cheese Plate

Tia Keenan is a longtime chef, writer, and fromager, who knows her cheese. In "The Art of the Cheese Plate," she takes readers on a tour of her world and teaches them how to create cheese boards that will both inspire and delight. New cheese lovers will learn the names of spectacular farmhouse cheeses and how to pair them, while experienced cheese lovers will be delighted with new combinations and flavor ideas, and recipes for easy pairing items. You’ll braise rhubarb in tequila, make creamed corn with pickled mustard seeds to try with goat cheeses, mix olives with white chocolate, and more. Keenan is a true master of cheese, and you’ll be closer to mastery yourself after working your way through this treasure.

Best for New Cheese Lovers: The New Rules of Cheese

Anne Saxelby is cheesemonger to the stars—or at least to the restaurants of New York City. Her shop Saxelby’s is famous among cheese fans, thanks to its thoughtful selection entirely comprised of American-made treasures. Saxelby’s book, which was released in 2020, is accessible enough for beginners, but her insight and profundity make it a treat for longtime cheesemongers, as well. It's a delightful little guide, which will surely become a classic.

Best Memoir: Goat Song

"Goat Song" is the tale of a couple leaving their one-bedroom apartment in New York City to move to Vermont and start a goat farm. Woven in with the memoir are author Brad Kessler’s musings on the human relationship to land and animals, and the long history of those interactions. He traces back the history and traditions, not just to Europe and the United States, but also to India and Africa. If you also dream of owning a goat farm, Kessler’s book will be the perfect fit for you, but it’s also a great read for those looking to reexamine their relationship with food and the earth.

Best Cookbook: Hot Cheese

If you prefer your cheese melty, you’ll love Polina Chesnakova’s "Hot Cheese," featuring the ooziest, tastiest recipes and photos. You’ll find best-ever versions of standbys, like mac and cheese and grilled cheese, and new favorites, like asparagus, taleggio, and preserved lemon tart, adjaruli khachapuri, and shepherd’s pie tater tots.

Best for Fondue: Essential Fondue Cookbook

To fondue or not to fondue? Do it, especially if you’re guided by Erin Harris’s "Essential Fondue Cookbook," featuring recipes, techniques, shopping tips, and more. Classic recipes include traditional Swiss fondue, and then there are also options like Asian tempura fondue and tomato-saffron broth fondue. If you love fondue, this is the book for you. Get out your bread, potatoes, and more, and start dipping.

Best for Cheesemaking: Home Cheese Making

Industry leader Ricki Carroll first released "Home Cheese Making" in 1982. Today, by its fourth edition, it has inspired countless cheese fans and even professional cheesemakers to create the cheeses of their dreams. In it, you’ll find recipes for burrata, triple crème Brie, goat milk gouda, and more. She also includes some recipes for some favorite condiments and simple cheese dishes.

Best Reference Book: The Oxford Companion to Cheese

This James Beard Award-winning tome is the first major cheese reference book on the market, with 855 A to Z entries on every aspect of cheese, from animal husbandry to production to history and culture. With 325 contributing authors from 35 countries, this is essentially the ultimate cheese encyclopedia. If you're interested in learning more about specific cheeses and producers, understanding its history, and more, you should have this one on your shelf. While it’s not really meant to be read cover to cover, the writing is clear and engaging enough that you could do so if you wanted.

Best for Discovering New Cheeses: The Book of Cheese

"The Book of Cheese" is a highly readable reference book for widening your cheese horizons. Using Thorpe’s system of "Gateway Cheeses" (a term that Thorpe has trademarked), readers will discover similar cheeses that they will theoretically also love. The former VP of Murray’s Cheese, who built out Murray’s extensive wholesale program, Thorpe is a cheese legend, and if there’s anyone in the cheese world who can offer a great recommendation, it’s her. From the nine Gateway Cheeses she has pinpointed, a whole world opens up. For those looking to taste new cheeses that they’ll certainly love (especially handmade options from the US), Thorpe’s book is the answer.  

What to Look for in Cheese Books

How You Serve Cheese

How do you like to serve cheese? Are you informal about it? Maybe you are the kind of person who likes to put cheese out on every occasion possible, and you're looking for recommendations for not only how to serve it, but also for new and unusual cheeses to try.


Whether or not you're new to cheese, an encyclopedic book will could be beneficial. Guides are often helpful; look to see if they offer suggestions on how to store and serve cheese, especially as it pertains to accompaniments. Next-level cheese lovers might want some great recipes that involve cheese or maybe even instructions on how to make cheese.


The author should ideally have some expertise and authority in the area of cheese. Many of the books we recommend here were written by cheesemongers or who have extensively researched or otherwise worked with cheese. These authors write the types of books that will inform, surprise, and entertain you.


Is it best to serve cheese chilled or at room temperature?

Most medium-soft and hard cheeses are best at room temperature to ensure you experience the best flavor, texture, and aroma. The rule of thumb is to remove the cheese from the refrigerator an hour before you want to serve it. Other cheeses, such as ricotta, cream cheese, and mozzarella, for example, are meant to be served chilled and taste better when they haven't been sitting for an hour or so.

Why is bacteria added to cheese?

Special "starter" bacteria are added to cheese to begin the cheese-making process. The bacteria convert the lactose (milk sugar) to lactic acid. It's a necessary ingredient.

Why is cheese so important in history?

The story of cheese is happenstance: It may have been accidentally discovered due to the practice of storing milk in containers made from the stomachs of animals. You may have heard of rennet—it's an enzyme found in the stomach of ruminant animals such as cows and goats. It was discovered to cause the milk to coagulate, separating into curds and whey. And so, before there was refrigeration, cheese was created as a way to preserve milk. There's evidence of early cheese making in the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia. The earliest cheeses were very salty, as part of the preservation effort.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Writer, reader, and professional cheese eater Christine Clark teaches cheese and pairing classes throughout the United States and is dedicated to helping people expertly get their cheese on. Her cheese adoration is so strong that she has a whole podcast dedicated to it. She is a Certified Cheese Professional through the American Cheese Society.

Updated by
Carrie Havranek
Carrie Havranek
Carrie has 10+ years experience as a food writer and editor. Her work can be found in her cookbook, Tasting Pennsylvania, and her site, the Dharma Kitchen.
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