If you’re searching for low sodium cheese options, I’ve got you covered! Check out this (growing) list of cheeses you can enjoy in moderation on a low sodium diet.
Newsflash: You don’t have to give up cheese when you’re living a low sodium lifestyle. While you may not be able to have a cheese board as a meal, some options make enjoying your favorite cheese on occasion a possibility.
Many varieties, mainly processed, aged cheeses, are high in sodium due to the salt added to them as they’re made. Sodium is used in the cheesemaking process as a preservative to enhance the cheese’s flavor and reduce moisture in aged cheeses. This is why many of our favorites, like cheddar and parmesan, are so high in sodium.
Fortunately, there are some lower sodium options available.
How to Pick the Best Low Sodium Cheese
- Always-Always-Always check the labels, even if it’s a cheese you’ve purchased before. Product ingredients and preparation processes change, and the result is often increased sodium you might not notice if you don’t check the label every time.
- Skip string cheese, processed cheeses, and cheese slices. These cheeses typically have the highest sodium counts.
- Learn to work your numbers. If your doctor has given you a daily sodium limit, you might still be able to enjoy your favorite cheese in moderation by reducing your sodium intake for the rest of the day. If you’re craving grilled cheese, choose the lowest sodium bread and mix your favorite cheese with a lower sodium option to reduce the sodium count. Learning to monitor your sodium intake responsibly can make the occasional splurge optional. Always check with your doctor before altering your prescribed diet.
Low Sodium Cheeses to Look For
Don’t confuse fresh mozzarella with the firmer, aged mozzarella you can buy shredded in bags at the grocery store. Fresh mozzarella is softer and sold covered in water or brine. Because it’s fresh, the salt used to remove moisture from cheese isn’t necessary, making it a lower sodium option. A 1-ounce serving can contain as little as 65 mg of sodium.
Swiss cheese is what most people reach for when they’re on a low sodium diet. As aged cheeses go, it contains the least sodium. A one-ounce serving can contain as little as 60 mg of sodium. It’s easily shredded and melts well, making it an excellent choice for pizzas, quiches, and grilled cheese. I use it to top my Easy Low Sodium Chili.
Cream cheese is another lower sodium cheese option. The fact that it’s a fresh cheese, not aged, means it doesn’t require as much sodium to make or preserve as other cheeses. Aldi’s Happy Farms brand cream cheese only contains 95 mg of sodium per two-tablespoon serving.
You might know mascarpone cheese as the delicious base for tiramisu, but many low sodium cheese lovers use it in various ways, even as a substitute for cream cheese. Like cream cheese, it can be used in both sweet and savory recipes, but it contains much less sodium, 15 mg of sodium per tablespoon.
Goat cheese is one of my favorite cheeses to add to a salad. Most goat cheese averages between 100-130 mg of sodium per ounce, but Aldi’s Emporium Selection Plain Goat Cheese has only 80 mg per one-ounce serving.
Brands to Look For:
Several natural brands offer lower sodium cheese options that you should be able to find in your local grocery stores.
Sargento’s Swiss Natural Ultra-Thin Slices contain only 20 mg of sodium per slice.
Aldi Shredded Swiss & Gruyere
I use Aldi’s Shredded Swiss & Gruyere in just about everything that calls for cheese! One ounce contains 70 mg per ounce.
BelGioioso is known for its high-quality Italian-style cheeses. Their creamy mascarpone contains a mere 5 mg of sodium per tablespoon. You can use their product locator to find locations in your area that sell it.
Boar’s Head Low Sodium Muenster
If you’re open to ordering online, there are additional options available. Swiss Villa, a Pennsylvania company that connects customers with healthy products from small family farms, offers two low sodium options. Their Unsalted Cheddar and Unsalted Cheddar Goat Cheeses contain zero sodium.
Unsalted cheddar – 0 mg sodium!
Unsalted Cheddar Goat Cheese – 0 mg sodium
Wisconsin Cheese Mart is a family-owned cheese shop operating in Milwaukee for more than 80 years. Their Decatur Dairy Colby-Swiss contains only 70mgs of sodium per ounce. For reference, standard Colby has about 170mgs of sodium per ounce.
If you know of an option not listed here, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can include it.
Q and A Section
How much is an ounce?
Most cheeses are measured by the ounce, and the best way to make sure exactly how much cheese you’re using is to invest in a small kitchen scale. Eventually, you may be able to eyeball what an ounce of your favorite cheese looks like but to start, an inexpensive scale is your best bet to monitor how much you’re eating.
Why is there so much salt in cheese?
Salt is added to cheese as it’s made to enhance the cheese’s flavor, but it also serves an essential purpose in the cheesemaking process. It acts as a preservative in aged cheeses, which are typically higher in sodium, and helps prevent excess bacteria growth. Salt also helps dehydrate cheese, drying out the curd to give it the texture we’re accustomed to. You can learn more about salt’s function in cheesemaking here.
Have questions about choosing the best low sodium cheese?
Watch the web story here!