As a busy mom of 4 active kids, I’m always looking for quick and easy ways to put a delicious meal on the table. My family loves a good roast beef dinner, but I don’t always have time for a complex recipe with lots of fancy sides. That’s why when I was searching for what cheese goes with roast beef, I was so excited to discover how a simple cheese pairing can take basic roast beef from bland to beautiful with barely any extra effort.
Between school pickups, piles of laundry, and keeping little ones entertained, most nights I’m racing to get dinner on the table before the grumbling stomachs stage a mutiny. More elaborate roast beef recipes got relegated to special occasions only. But I found that just topping sliced roast beef with a tasty cheese along with a veggie side makes a satisfying meal my whole family enjoys.
It started with that beloved staple – cheddar. Just a few slices of the sharp orange cheese I usually have on hand transforms roast beef into an easy open-faced sandwich or weeknight platter. The kids devour it paired with some cornbread or rolls on the side. Havarti and Swiss quickly entered the rotation too for their melty, creamy goodness.
Later, I got more adventurous, crumbling gorgonzola over a roast beef salad. And using Manchego to give our sandwiches a sophisticated spin. The kids were initially hesitant about “the stinky cheeses mom likes” as they so lovingly call them. But even my pickiest eater now gobbles up roast beef and blue cheese pizza with gusto.
These simple cheese pairings have been a sanity-saver on my busiest days. I can whip up a roast beef and cheese tray in minutes, no recipe required. Or let the oven do the work for melty casseroles and nachos. It feels good providing my family with such a hearty, flavorful meal without laboring over complicated dishes after a long day.
In this article ahead, I’ll share the cheese pairings my family raves about along with easy serving ideas. Just simple, delicious ways to dress up roast beef with cheese.
So, what cheese goes with roast beef? For many people, cheddar is the default cheese to serve with roast beef. And for good reason – aged cheddar provides a sharp flavor and creamy texture that complements the beef beautifully.
The intensity of the cheddar can stand up to the hearty flavors of the meat. For roast beef sandwiches, a nice sharp cheddar adds a tangy flavor contrast, especially when paired with a bakery-style bread. Aged white cheddar or extra sharp orange cheddar are particularly good options.
When making a roast beef platter, slices of aged cheddar make a nice addition for topping crackers or bread. They have a nice firmness that allows the cheese to be eaten in slices or chunks without crumbling. The nutty sharpness balances the savory flavors of the beef well.
Swiss cheese is another excellent match for roast beef, thanks to its distinct nutty and slightly sweet flavors. In deli-style sandwiches, Swiss cheese is often the go-to pairing for roast beef. Its firm yet creamy texture melts nicely, binding the ingredients together.
Whether you’re layering slices on bread or including it in a hot roast beef dish, Swiss adds a lovely flavor dimension. Its subtle sweetness and hint of salt provide an excellent counterpoint to the rich meat. Try it in a warm roast beef melt for an exceptionally tasty sandwich.
For roast beef sandwiches with an Italian flair, provolone cheese is the perfect choice. Its smooth, mild flavor blends wonderfully with the roast beef without overpowering it. Slightly sweet and very creamy when melted, provolone is a natural fit for paninis, melts, or even your standard sliced sandwich.
Aged provolone provides a bit more bite and complexity of flavor. But mild provolone is very enjoyable with roast beef too, especially in sandwiches where you can appreciate the textures of the soft cheese and tender meat. The meltability of provolone helps bind the ingredients together into a cohesive and satisfying sandwich experience.
While mild cheeses pair nicely with roast beef in sandwiches, for a bolder flavor experience you can add some crumbled blue cheese. The tangy, creamy characteristics of blue cheese can give your roast beef a gourmet upgrade. It adds a whole new dimension of flavor, taking a roast beef dish from straightforward to seriously tasty.
A drizzle of blue cheese dressing over a roast beef salad or plank pairs wonderfully with the meat. For a hot open faced sandwich or melt, a sprinkling of blue cheese crumbles really kicks things up a notch. And for an appetizer platter, you can include some blue cheese chunks or a blue cheese spread alongside the sliced roast beef.
Just avoid overdoing it with the blue cheese – a little can provide plenty of robust flavor. You want the beef to still be the star!
Gruyère makes an excellent pairing for roast beef, similar to Swiss cheese but with a deeper, sweeter, and more complex flavor. It has a gorgeous pale yellow color and small holes, along with a firm but supple texture. The nuttiness and hint of fruitiness in Gruyère work so well with the hearty beef.
Because it retains its integrity when melted, Gruyère shines in a gourmet roast beef and cheese melt. It’s also fantastic sliced on a sandwich or piled onto a roast beef salad. For an easy but elegant roast beef appetizer, you can serve slices of Gruyère with crackers and thinly sliced beef. The flavored contrasts are simply beautiful.
If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, another type of blue cheese – gorgonzola – can make a delightful pairing with roast beef. Gorgonzola offers a very bold and potent flavor that can stand up to the intensity of roast beef. Its blue veining provides an instant flavor pop, with a sharpness that complements the meat rather than competes with it.
For an appetizer board, add some crumbled gorgonzola to pair with sliced roast beef, grapes, pecans and crackers. Or make a gourmet roast beef, arugula and gorgonzola sandwich melt – the flavors are absolute perfection together.
Just a little bit of gorgonzola cheese goes a long way, so you get a big flavor without overpowering the other components.
Fans of the classic horseradish and roast beef combo will appreciate horseradish-flavored Havarti cheese. Horseradish lovers can never have enough of this pungent condiment! The herbal, fiery kick of the horseradish plays so well off the richness of juicy roast beef. And Havarti provides the ideal smooth, buttery base for this added flavor.
I like to make roast beef melts with horseradish Havarti, caramelized onions and mushrooms for an over-the-top sandwich experience. Horseradish Havarti also pairs well with sliced roast beef in sandwiches or on an appetizer tray. The creaminess of the cheese mellows out the sinus-clearing horseradish for a nice balance.
Even without the horseradish, plain Havarti is an excellent choice for roast beef dishes. Its supple, creamy texture and delicate buttery flavor strike just the right balance with robust beef. Havarti melts beautifully, making it a go-to for hot roast beef sandwiches.
I also enjoy the flavor contrast of very mild Havarti cheese paired with slow-roasted beef in sandwiches and platters. The beef really takes center stage, with the Havarti playing a subtle supporting role. Its meltability binds the ingredients together into a comforting roast beef dish.
When making a hot roast beef dish like a casserole, nachos or heated sandwich, Monterey Jack is one of my favorite cheeses to use. Its creamy texture and mild flavor melt absolutely beautifully, creating a luscious cheesy experience.
Shredded Monterey Jack blends with roast beef seamlessly, enveloping the meat in gooey goodness. And when topped with Monterey Jack slices, the heat from the beef helps soften and lightly brown the cheese into a decadent crown. Whether you’re making a cheesy roast beef baked pasta, nachos or cheesesteak-style sandwich, Monterey Jack rarely disappoints.
For a roast beef pairing that’s outside the box, try Spanish Manchego cheese. Made from sheep’s milk, Manchego has a distinctive nutty, sweet and caramel-like flavor that makes a sophisticated match for roast beef. Its firm texture holds up well when slicing or grating.
Manchego works wonderfully in roast beef salads or charcuterie platters. Shaved Manchego over slices of rare roast beef makes quite the gourmet appetizer. And for a unique take on roast beef sandwiches, use Manchego sliced or grated in place of traditional cheese choices. The Manchego offers a whole new flavor experience.
Soft, creamy cheeses like Camembert provide a luxurious contrast to hearty roast beef. The smooth, rich Camembert almost melts away in your mouth, providing a wonderful textural balance to tender slices of beef. Spread it on crackers topped with roast beef for an easy but elegant appetizer.
For an amazing roast beef sandwich, I like to use the classic French cheese Camembert. The earthy, mushroom notes pair so interestingly with the flavors of the beef. And there’s nothing better than when the cheese gets deliciously oozy in a hot sandwich or melts!
Finally, let’s not forget about Parmesan – one of my favorite cheeses to use in all sorts of dishes. While Parmesan is not typically sliced and paired with roast beef, grated Parmesan can add a wonderful salty, nutty kick to roast beef entrees.
I’ll often sprinkle Parmesan over pasta dishes featuring roast beef, or use it in roast beef risotto or soup. You can also toss grated Parmesan into a roast beef salad for added richness. Roasted vegetables served alongside roast beef are likewise enhanced with a scattering of the grated cheese.
Just avoid heavy handedness with the Parmesan – a little goes a long way, providing enough nutty flavor without overwhelming the other components.
With so many excellent cheese options for roast beef, how do you decide which one to use? Here are some tips for selecting the best cheese for the occasion:
Is the roast beef going into sandwiches, served on a platter, or part of a hot dish? Soft sliced cheeses are great for sandwiches, hard cheeses perfect for platters, and melty varieties ideal for hot dishes.
Mild cheeses allow the flavor of the beef to take center stage, while strong cheeses make more of a flavor statement.
Is the roast beef grilled, roasted, or cooked in sauce? Complementary cheese flavors will differ depending on the seasonings and cooking style.
Do you want an indulgent contrast between the beef and cheese textures, or for them to complement each other?
Soft cheese provides a luxurious counterpoint to tender beef.
Oozy melted cheese pulls a hot roast beef dish together. But not all cheeses melt well, so opt for nicely meltable varieties.
Get a few cheese samples if possible and taste them with the roast beef. This gives you the chance to experience the flavor combinations.
Make sure the cheese pairs well with sides and other ingredients, not just the roast beef.
Pick a cheese you really enjoy – if it tastes great on its own, it will likely pair wonderfully with your roast beef.
At the end of the day, trust your own preferences and taste buds to decide which cheese will elevate your roast beef to the next level. With so many diverse cheeses to choose from, you have ample options to create an absolutely stellar pairing.
Now that you know the best cheese options, it’s time to put that knowledge into action! Here are some mouth-watering ways to incorporate cheese into roast beef dishes:
- Roast Beef and Havarti Melt – caramelized onions, Dijon mustard, on crusty artisan bread
- French Dip Roast Beef and Swiss – au jus for dipping, on a baguette
- Roast Beef and Cheddar with Horseradish Mayo – sharp cheddar with arugula on rye bread
- Italian Roast Beef and Provolone – roasted red peppers, balsamic vinaigrette, on focaccia
- Barbecue Roast Beef and Pepper Jack – barbecue sauce, crispy fried onions on a brioche bun
- Thinly sliced rare roast beef with Manchego cheese, marcona almonds, and fresh figs on a charcuterie board
- Roast beef tenderloin with crumbled Gorgonzola, roasted grapes, and artisanal crackers
- Steakhouse-style roast beef platter with thinly sliced meat, Havarti cheese, cornichons, cherry tomatoes, and crostini
- Roast beef with Swiss cheese slices, dijon mustard, and mini sandwich rolls for assembling bites
- Roast Beef Baked Ziti – shredded roast beef and melted mozzarella baked into a cheesy pasta casserole
- Roast Beef and Cheddar Stuffed Potatoes – fluffy baked potatoes filled with shredded cheese, roast beef, bacon, sour cream, and chives
- Nachos Supreme – tortilla chips piled with melted Monterey Jack, roast beef, pinto beans, jalapeños, pico de gallo, and guacamole
- Roast Beef and Blue Cheese Pizza – sliced roast beef, crumbled blue cheese, caramelized onions, and balsamic reduction on a homemade pizza
12 Cheeses That Go Well With Roast Beef
- Blue Cheese
- Monterey Jack
- Pick one.
- Add it on your roast beef.
My name is Beth, Elizabeth Evelyn to be exact. A native Tennessean, I was born in the South.
I am the author behind Local Milk Blog.
Local milk is a journal devoted to home cookery, travel, family, and slow living—to being present & finding sustenance of every kind.
It’s about nesting abroad & finding the exotic in the everyday.
Most of all it’s about the perfection of imperfections and seeing the beauty of everyday, mundane life.