What is Cooper Sharp Cheese? A Taste of Tradition

What is Cooper Sharp Cheese? A Taste of Tradition - Cheese Origin

Welcome to a flavorful journey through time as we uncover the story behind a cheese that’s been delighting palates for over a century. Cooper Sharp Cheese, a name that resonates with cheese connoisseurs and comfort food lovers alike, is more than just a dairy product. It’s a slice of American history, a testament to traditional cheese-making, and an enduring symbol of culinary delight.

In this post, we will delve into the rich, creamy world of Cooper Sharp Cheese, exploring its humble beginnings, its artful creation process, and the distinct characteristics that set it apart in the vast cheese universe.

From its roots in a small New York town to its place in kitchens across the globe, join us as we savor the storied legacy of Cooper Sharp Cheese, a true taste of tradition.

Quick Facts About Cooper Sharp Cheese

Quick FactsDescription
OriginCooper Sharp Cheese was first produced in 1893 by banker I.C. Cooper in New York City, USA.
Type of milkCooper Sharp Cheese is made from pasteurized cow’s milk.
TextureThe cheese has a semi-hard texture, similar to Cheddar.
ColorIt typically comes in white or yellow-orange shades, depending on the variety.
TasteThe taste is sharp, rich, and creamy with a slight tanginess.
Melting QualityKnown for its excellent melting quality, making it perfect for cooking and baking.
Popular UsesCommonly used in sandwiches, casseroles, burgers, and notably, the Philly cheesesteak.
Nutrition FactsIt’s a good source of calcium and protein but also high in fat and sodium, like most cheeses.
AvailabilityCooper Sharp Cheese is widely available across the United States, particularly in the Northeast.

What is Cooper Sharp Cheese?

What is Cooper Sharp Cheese?

Delve into the world of cheese, and you’ll find a myriad of flavors, textures, and origins, each with its unique story. Among these fascinating tales is that of Cooper Sharp Cheese, a beloved staple with a rich history dating back to the late 19th century.

First produced in 1893 by I.C. Cooper, initially a banker from New York City, this semi-hard cheese quickly gained popularity for its distinct sharp, creamy flavor profile. Made from pasteurized cow’s milk, Cooper Sharp Cheese is a testament to the beauty of simplicity and tradition. Its taste is both rich and slightly tangy, making it a versatile addition to a variety of dishes.

What sets Cooper Sharp Cheese apart from many others is its melting quality. This cheese melts beautifully, making it an ideal choice for cooking and baking. From sandwiches and casseroles to burgers and, notably, the iconic Philly cheesesteak, Cooper Sharp Cheese enhances every dish it graces with its creamy texture and robust flavor.

Available in white or yellow-orange shades, depending on the variety, Cooper Sharp Cheese is also a nutritional powerhouse. It’s a good source of calcium and protein, although, like most cheeses, it’s high in fat and sodium.

Widely available across the United States, particularly in the Northeast, Cooper Sharp Cheese continues to be a favorite among cheese enthusiasts. Its rich history, unique flavor, and versatility make it more than just a cheese – it’s a culinary tradition that has stood the test of time.

What Does Cooper Sharp Cheese Taste Like?

Cooper Sharp Cheese is a unique blend of flavors that sets it apart from other deli cheeses. It possesses a one-of-a-kind sharp and creamy flavor that isn’t found in typical American cheese. The taste is often described as richer, bolder, and slightly tangy.

It’s been compared to the flavor of extra-sharp cheddar, but with an edge that makes it uniquely Cooper Sharp. Some even describe its taste as having an almost nutty undertone, adding another layer of complexity to its flavor profile.

Beyond its distinct taste, what makes Cooper Sharp Cheese a favorite among many is its melting quality. It melts beautifully, lending a creamy texture to dishes that is hard to resist. Personally, we think this is one of the best options for making creamy mac and cheese and the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

In essence, Cooper Sharp Cheese offers a rich, bold taste with a creamy texture that appeals to a wide variety of palates, making it a beloved choice for cheese lovers.

Cooper Sharp Cheese Tasting Notes

Cooper Sharp Cheese Tasting Notes
  • Appearance: Semi-hard cheese that comes in white or yellow-orange shades, depending on the variety. The cheese is usually sliced or cut into blocks.
  • Texture: Cooper Sharp has a creamy, semi-hard texture that’s comparable to a good quality Cheddar. It’s firm yet easy to slice or grate, and it melts beautifully, making it ideal for a variety of hot dishes.
  • Aroma: This cheese has a mild aroma that’s not overpowering, similar to other cheeses made from cow’s milk.
  • Taste: The taste of Cooper Sharp Cheese is rich, bold, and slightly tangy. It’s sharper than typical American cheese but not as sharp as an extra-sharp Cheddar. Some people even detect a hint of nuttiness in its flavor profile.
  • Aftertaste: The aftertaste is pleasantly creamy and lingers on the palate, leaving a lasting impression of its distinct flavor.
  • Pairings: Cooper Sharp Cheese pairs well with a variety of foods and beverages. It goes well with fruits like apples and grapes, hearty breads, and a wide range of wines and beers. It’s also excellent in cooked dishes like sandwiches, casseroles, and notably, the famed Philly cheesesteak.

Is Cooper Sharp Considered a Real Cheese?

Yes, Cooper Sharp Cheese is considered real cheese. However, it’s important to note that it falls under the category of “pasteurized processed cheese.” This means that it’s made by combining and heating a mixture of cheeses (in this case, primarily cheddar), along with other ingredients such as milk, whey proteins, and emulsifiers.

Despite being a processed cheese, Cooper Sharp is made with real milk and aged cheddar, which contribute to its distinctive sharp flavor and creamy texture. It is aged between 100-180 days, further enhancing its taste and quality.

While it might not be a traditional cheese in the strictest sense (like a Brie or Gouda), the use of genuine dairy ingredients and the aging process help it maintain a flavor profile that’s closer to “real” cheese than many other American or processed cheeses.

What are the Ingredients in Cooper Sharp Cheese?

What are the Ingredients in Cooper Sharp Cheese?
Cultured MilkThis is milk that has been fermented with lactic acid bacteria, known as bacterial culture. It forms the base of the cheese.
WaterUsed in the cheese-making process.
CreamAdds richness and creaminess to the cheese.
Sodium PhosphateActs as an emulsifier, helping to blend and maintain the mixed ingredients together.
SaltEnhances flavor and also plays a role in preservation and texture.
Cheese CultureThese are good bacteria that are added to heated milk to start the cheese-making process. They help determine the ultimate flavor and texture of the cheese.
EnzymesThey speed up the curdling process in cheese-making. Most commonly, an enzyme called rennet is used.
Color (in some varieties)Some varieties of Cooper Sharp Cheese have color added to give them their distinct yellow-orange hue. The coloring is safe to eat and does not affect the cheese’s flavor.

Why Does Cooper Sharp Cheese Taste So Good? 5 Reasons Why

  1. Creamy and Flavorful: Cooper Sharp Cheese is known for its creamy texture and bold taste which comes from the use of real milk and hand-selected aged cheese in its production process.
  2. Versatility: This cheese can be sliced, shredded, or cubed, and it melts beautifully. This versatility allows it to enhance a variety of dishes, from sandwiches to casseroles.
  3. Unique Sharpness: Cooper Sharp isn’t your ordinary deli cheese. It adds a one-of-a-kind sharp flavor that comes from the aging process and the specific blend of ingredients used.
  4. Quality Ingredients: Cooper Sharp Cheese is made with a pasteurized mix of whey and proteins, along with milk and selected aged cheese, which all contribute to its distinctive taste.
  5. Comparisons to Traditional Cheese: Some fans compare the flavor of Cooper Sharp to that of an extra sharp cheddar, suggesting that despite being a processed cheese, it retains a flavor complexity often associated with more traditionally made cheeses.

Is Cooper Sharp a Healthy Cheese?

Health Benefits:

  • Cooper Sharp Cheese is a good source of protein. One serving contains 6g of protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues in your body.
  • It’s a low-carb food with only 1g of total carbs per serving. This could make it a suitable choice for those following a low-carb or ketogenic diet.
  • Cheese is also a great source of calcium, which is important for bone health.


  • However, cheese can be high in calories and fat. The calorie content of Cooper Sharp Cheese is 105 calories per serving, with 81 of these calories coming from fat.
  • Cooper Sharp Cheese is also noted for being a bit saltier compared to other American cheeses, which could contribute to higher sodium intake. High sodium intake can lead to increased blood pressure and heart disease risk.
  • The cheese is moderately processed and contains ingredients that may be problematic for some people, such as sodium phosphate.

As with any food, moderation is key. Enjoying Cooper Sharp Cheese in reasonable amounts as part of a balanced diet can be part of a healthy eating plan.

Cooper Sharp Cheese Nutrition Facts

NutrientAmount 1 oz (28.35g)
Calories from Fat81
Total Fat8.8g
Saturated Fat5g
Trans Fat0g
Total Carbs1g

Where to Buy Cooper Sharp Cheese?

  1. Cooper Cheese Official Website
  2. Walmart
  3. Safeway
  4. Instacart
  5. Schiff’s Direct

10 Best Cooper Sharp Cheese Substitutes

ColbyColby is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese that has a similar texture and flavor to Cooper Sharp Cheese. It melts well, making it a good substitute in recipes that require melting.
CheddarCheddar is a widely available cheese that has a stronger, sharper flavor than Cooper Sharp Cheese. It also melts well, but its flavor is more pronounced.
Monterey JackMonterey Jack is a semi-hard cheese with a creamy, mild flavor. Its meltability makes it a good replacement for Cooper Sharp Cheese in many dishes.
ProvoloneProvolone is an Italian cheese known for its mild, slightly tangy taste. It’s a good melting cheese that can stand in for Cooper Sharp Cheese in many recipes.
GoudaGouda is a semi-hard cheese with a sweet, mild flavor. It melts smoothly and can replace Cooper Sharp Cheese in cooking.
HavartiHavarti is a Danish cheese that’s smooth and creamy with a slightly sweet flavor. It melts well and can be a good substitute for Cooper Sharp Cheese.
MuensterMuenster is a semi-soft cheese with a mild flavor and smooth texture. It’s a good melting cheese that can replace Cooper Sharp Cheese in recipes.
American CheeseAmerican Cheese, while not as sharp or flavorful as Cooper Sharp Cheese, is a reasonable substitute due to its excellent melting properties.
Swiss CheeseSwiss cheese has a mild, nutty flavor that can substitute for Cooper Sharp Cheese. It’s also a good melting cheese.
FontinaFontina is an Italian cow’s milk cheese with a mild, slightly nutty flavor. It melts well and can be used as a substitute for Cooper Sharp Cheese in many recipes.

What Pairs Well With Cooper Sharp Cheese?

What Pairs Well With Cooper Sharp Cheese?

Food that goes well with Cooper Sharp Cheese:

BreadBaguette, Whole Grain Bread, Crackers
FruitsApples, Grapes, Pears
MeatsSalami, Prosciutto, Turkey
Nuts and SeedsAlmonds, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds
Jams and SpreadsFig Jam, Apricot Preserves, Honey
VegetablesBell Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers
Other CheesesBlue Cheese, Brie, Gouda

Also read: 11 Best Crackers that Pair Well with Cheese

Beverage that goes well with Cooper Sharp Cheese:

BeerLager, IPA, Your Favorite Cold One
WinePinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay
Non-AlcoholicTea, Coffee, Drinking Chocolate, Lemonade, Soda, Pear or Apple Juice

A Timeline of Cooper Sharp Cheese’s History and Origin

A Timeline of Cooper Sharp Cheese's History and Origin
1890I.C. Cooper, a banker, decided to venture into the world of cheesemaking in Theresa, NY. This marked the beginning of the Cooper Cheese company.
1893I.C. Cooper, left his banking job and started focusing on crafting aged cheese. He began by aging cheese curds, which resulted in a unique, sharp flavor that became the trademark of his cheese. This was the birth of Cooper Sharp Cheese.
1918Cooper had a vision of a thriving cheese business. He continued to age cheese curds, further perfecting the distinctive taste of Cooper Sharp Cheese.
1936The company moved from New York to Philadelphia, marking a significant shift in its history. Despite this move, the cheese maintained its original recipe and unique characteristics.
Late 20th CenturyCooper Sharp Cheese became a staple in American households, particularly in the Northeast. Its creamy texture and full flavor made it a popular choice for sandwiches and comfort food dishes.
TodayCooper Sharp Cheese is still made with hand-selected, high-quality American cheese that’s aged between 100-180 days. It is recognized for its unique flavor and is a favorite in various recipes worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Cooper Sharp a Good Melting Cheese?

Yes, Cooper Sharp is a good melting cheese. In fact, it is one of the best melting cheeses in North America. It’s known for its creamy, flavorful, and versatile nature.

2. Should I refrigerate Cooper Sharp Cheese?

Yes, you should refrigerate Cooper Sharp Cheese. The truth is, the cheese shreds best when it’s cold, it should always be kept in the fridge until you need to use it. Additionally, refrigeration between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit keeps your cheese fresh and free of mold and bacteria. While some hard cheeses don’t necessarily need to be refrigerated, they will last much longer if they are.

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