What Cheeses Go Well With Pastrami? (11 Tasty Picks)

Categorized as Foodpairing
What Kind of Cheese Goes Well With Pastrami

Are you looking for the perfect cheese to pair with your pastrami sandwich? Look no further! Whether you’re making a classic Reuben or just want to add some extra flavor to your lunchtime meal, there are plenty of delicious cheeses that go wonderfully with pastrami.

From classic Swiss cheese to sharp cheddar, this list has 11 tasty picks that will take your sandwich game up a notch. So grab your favorite cheese and get ready for some seriously delicious combinations.

1. Swiss cheese

Swiss cheese is an iconic cheese choice to pair with pastrami. It’s bright, creamy flavor and soft texture make for a delightful combination. The holes in Swiss cheese are actually called “eyes” and are created from the release of carbon dioxide from bacteria during the cheesemaking process.

This gas becomes trapped within the curds and creates air pockets that form the signature holes in Swiss cheese. The sharper the Swiss cheese, the more pronounced these holes become, giving it a unique texture and taste.

When paired with pastrami, Swiss cheese helps to break up its intensely salty and savory flavors with its milder sweetness. Not only does this combination create an exciting flavor profile but it also makes for an aesthetically pleasing sandwich – with the bold red hue of pastrami contrasted against the white color of Swiss cheese.

2. Cheddar

Cheddar cheese is a classic choice for pairing with pastrami. Its sharp and tangy flavor adds an extra kick to your sandwich that you won’t get from other types of cheese. Cheddar comes in all kinds of varieties, ranging from mild to extra sharp, so you can choose the perfect type to match your preferred level of flavor.

The deep orange color of cheddar also gives your sandwich a pop of vibrancy that will make it look as good as it tastes. When selecting a cheddar to pair with pastrami, opt for one of the sharper varieties for maximum flavor.

3. Provolone

Provolone cheese is a semi-hard Italian cow’s milk cheese that has a buttery, mild flavor. Its creamier texture pairs nicely with pastrami’s bolder flavors and adds an extra layer of richness to your sandwich. Provolone also melts easily, which helps to make it gooey and delicious.

This cheese is also slightly nutty and has a mild sweetness to it, which can help balance out the intense flavor of pastrami. Plus, its bright yellow color stands out against the red of pastrami and makes for a visually interesting sandwich.

4. Jarlsberg

This semi-soft, cow’s milk cheese from Norway has a mild, nutty flavor and smooth texture. Its creamy yet firm consistency makes it an ideal choice when building your sandwich masterpiece.

Not only does Jarlsberg work well with the bold flavors of pastrami, but it also adds a nice contrast of flavor that’s both subtle and satisfying. Plus, its even melting qualities make it easy to melt on a hot sandwich or just enjoy as is atop crisp lettuce.

5. Havarti

Havarti is a cow’s milk cheese from Denmark with a buttery, creamy flavor. Its mellow taste and mild aroma work well with the intense flavor of pastrami and create a balanced yet flavorful sandwich.

The texture of Havarti is semi-soft, which makes it great for melting on top of your sandwich. Its mild flavor won’t overpower the other components of your sandwich, but adds a nice depth to the overall taste. Plus, its light yellow color makes for an attractive contrast with pastrami’s bright red hue.

6. Monterey Pepper Jack

Monterey Pepper Jack is a combination of Monterey and pepper jack cheeses, giving it a unique flavor. It combines the smooth creaminess of Monterey cheese with the spicy kick of pepper jack for an unforgettable taste.

This cheese adds a nice layer of heat to your sandwich that will perfectly complement pastrami’s bold flavor. Its yellow and orange marbled appearance also gives your sandwich a vibrant touch that will make it look as good as it tastes.

7. Mozzarella

Mozzarella is a type of Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. Its mild flavor and soft texture make it an ideal addition to any sandwich. Not only does the soft texture of mozzarella pair nicely with pastrami’s hearty texture, but its milky flavor can help to soften the intense flavor of the meat.

Plus, its white color stands out against the bold red of pastrami and creates an aesthetically pleasing sandwich that’s sure to please everyone at your table.

8. Camembert

Camembert cheese is one of the most popular French cheeses. It’s creamy, tangy flavor is the perfect contrast to the saltiness of pastrami, adding an extra layer of deliciousness to every bite.

Camembert also has a light texture that doesn’t overwhelm the smoky flavor of pastrami, allowing all of the flavors in each sandwich to come through without one overpowering another. In addition, camembert has a unique aroma that gives the sandwich an additional level of complexity and depth of flavor.

9. Blue Cheese

Blue cheese is a type of cheese that’s made by adding cultures to cow’s milk and aging it for several weeks. This process gives the cheese its distinct flavor, aroma, and blue veins.

When combined with pastrami, the unique flavor of blue cheese really comes through. Its salty and tangy taste will add an extra kick to your sandwich and the creamy texture will help balance out the hearty texture of pastrami.

Not to forget, the distinct blue veins of this cheese adds a visually appetizing element to your sandwich that’s sure to please.

10. Gruyere

Gruyere cheese is known for its nutty, full-bodied flavor and soft creamy texture. This Swiss-style cheese is generally aged for at least four to five months, but it can also be aged for up to a year. It’s great melted on sandwiches, soups, and fondues.

Gruyere is the ideal choice when trying to pair something with pastrami – its smoothness compliments the smoky flavor of the pastrami, while still maintaining its own very distinct flavor. Its strong flavor also doesn’t overpower the pastrami but rather complements it.

It’s also versatile enough that it can be used in different dishes like mac and cheese, quiches and even grilled cheeses. Plus, as an added bonus, it won’t turn into a gooey mess.

11. Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a type of brined curd cheese that’s often associated with Greek cuisine. It has a distinct salty flavor and crumbly texture that makes it an ideal sandwich topping.

When paired with pastrami, feta cheese adds a nice contrast to the smokiness of the meat. Its saltiness can also help to cut through the fat and give your sandwich a satisfying bite. And just as with blue cheese, the crumbly texture of feta also adds a visually appealing element to your sandwich.


Wow, after looking at all of these delicious options for the perfect cheese-and-pastrami combo, we can certainly conclude that there’s no wrong answer!

From classic Swiss cheese to flavorful Feta, each of these 11 cheeses adds a unique flavor and texture that will ensure your sandwiches are always delicious. So go ahead and try out any of these tasty pairings the next time you’re in the mood for an unforgettable pastrami sandwich.

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!