Historians believe that muenster originated in Alsace, France. Others give the honor to its neighbor, Germany. In Wisconsin, muenster was among the first semi-soft cheeses European immigrants made in the late 1800s, and Americans quickly developed a taste for it. Wisconsin muenster tastes milder, and the firmer texture helped it gain popularity as a slicing cheese for sandwiches. Traditionally a washed-rind cheese, in the United States the rind may or may not be washed. It usually has a bright orange natural annatto coating and is mild when young and mellows with age.


Orange or white surface; creamy white interior


Semi-soft, smooth and elastic


Mild to mellow, faint aroma, savory; creamier with age

Serving Suggestions

Add a new twist to toasted cheese sandwiches or to your next cheeseburger. Muenster melts superbly on top of casseroles or pizza. Combine avocado slices, shredded muenster, olives, hard boiled eggs, green onions and celery. Serve in pita bread pockets.

Goes Well With

Apples, grapes, whole-grain breads and crackers, mustard, sausage, pickles Gewurztraminer, lager beers


Wisconsin cheesemakers produce muenster in cranberry, hot pepper, caraway, low sodium and Kosher varieties. 10-pound slab (long john), 5-pound loaf, 5-pound wheel, 3-pound wheel, random- and exact-weight

Performance Note

Muenster is available with or without its colorful annatto coating. Annatto may smear when cutting; wipe cutting tools with a damp cloth between each slice. To slice muenster, choose firm, well-chilled loaves and spray your slicer with a nonstick vegetable spray. Place a piece of deli paper between each slice.

  Cold Surface Broil Oven (in recipe) Oven (surface) Direct Heat (in suspension)