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Monterey Jack

Monterey Jack cheese is a very popular Mexican cheese that is made with cow’s cheese. This cheese is also credited with being one of the four cheeses that was discovered and made solely in the US.

History of MontereyJack

Monterey Jack has many origins but the most popular one is that the cheese was a local adaptation of the semi-soft Italian cheese. There are mentions of the cheese in American literature as way back as 1954. The official name of the cheese was given by the Food and Drug Administration of The United States of America in 1955. But the actual cheese was first made by Dona Boronda who made the cheese to fend for her family when her husband was crippled. Another person who is credited with making another variety of the cheese is Domingo Pedrazzi of Carmel Valley who created a cheese by applying pressure. In recent years, David Jacks has laid claim to the cheese as he upscaled the dairy process and started producing the cheese commercially. Another contestant who also lays claim to the cheese is the Franciscan Monks of 1700s who claim to have bought one variety of cheese from Spain through Italy.

Culinary Uses of the MontereyJack

  • Monterey Jack is a very mild cheese that is semi firm and creamy with high moisture content.
  • Another variety is available that is harder and much more commonly used for cooking. The hard variety melts well and can be used in cooking for making grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • This cheese is very popular cheese for snacking on and is also added to soups and sauces due to its mild flavor and taste.
  • It can be used as a substitute for Parmesan cheese due to the same texture and taste.

Cuisines Using MontereyJack

Monterey Jack was one of the cheeses that are credited completely to the USbut it is very popular in Mexican cuisine. Shredded cheese is used on most Mexican dishes but it is an integral part of American snack dishes too.

Popular Ingredient Recipes

Recipes with Monterey Jack include the following-

  • Black bean quesadilla uses this cheese to bring out the distinctive taste of dish.
  • Enchiladas are also prepared with this cheese.
  • Macaroni and cheese traditionally uses three different types of cheese and one of them is this variety of cheese.

MontereyJack Buying/Storing Tips

Monterey Jack cheese is sold in a soft as well as a hard variety. When you are buying the soft cheese, ensure that you check the specimen for coloring and darkening. The soft cheese should be uniformly creamy and semi soft in texture. As the cheese is very perishable, ensure that is it wrapped with parchment paper when it’s not being used. The hard variety of this cheese is much more stable and can be stored for a long period of time.


Monterey Jack is very low in tyramine that is found in high amounts in all other cheeses. Tyramine is supposed to be one of the contributing factors for migraines. Due to its low tyramine content, this cheese can be recommended to all migraine sufferers.