Gouda is formed into large, 10- to 25-pound wheels and covered with yellow wax rind. As it ages, the cheese takes on firm texture, caramel color and intense flavor similar to cheddar.
Holland's most famous export, Gouda cheese is known for its characteristic wax rind, yellow interior and mild, nut-like flavor. It is similar to Edam cheese, but creamier in texture due to a higher milk fat content (about 48%).

In Europe, Gouda is a favorite for breakfast, served with fresh fruit. It's delicious with beer and red wine, and particularly good for grating or melting in fondues.


Gouda cheese is named after the Dutch town of Gouda. Just outside Rotterdam, farmers from surrounding areas have brought their produce to market here for centuries. The town still has a cheese weighhouse (The Waag) that dates back to 1668. In bygone times, this was the place weighmasters inspected cheese prior to sale. Today, tourists of Gouda are drawn to ceremonial weighings where they can enjoy a taste of authentic Gouda cheese.

Varieties and Buying Tips

Gouda can be made from whole or part-skim cow's milk and aged anywhere from a few weeks to over a year. When young, the cheese is soft and quite mild. Aged over a year, Gouda takes on a harder texture, caramel color and intense flavor that is almost cheddar-like. Gouda cured for two years is a rare product that is prized by cheese connoisseurs.

Domestic Gouda (made in the U.S.) is rarely aged and extremely mild flavored. Also mild is Baby Gouda, usually sold at supermarkets in one-pound rounds covered with red wax.

Some markets may also carry specialty varieties that are smoked or flavored with cumin seeds, caraway, cracked pepper or various herbs.

Storage Tips

A semi-soft cheese, Gouda may be wrapped airtight in a plastic bag or foil and refrigerated for several weeks. Check the package for a "sell-by" date.

Usage Tips

• Serve Gouda as a table cheese or dessert cheese.

• Pair with dark-grained breads, beer and full-bodied red wines.

• Grate and sprinkle over baked potatoes and homemade pizzas.

• Melt into a Dutch kaasdoop (a  Gouda cheese fondue served with roasted or boiled potatoes and rye bread).

Try one of our favorite Gouda recipes:

Crescent-Wrapped Gouda
The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza
Mac-n-Smoked Gouda with Cauliflower