What Are the Best Tips for Using Pepper Jack Cheese?

Lainie Petersen

Pepper jack cheese can be enjoyed on its own or as an ingredient in a variety of recipes. When working with pepper jack cheese, it is advisable to take the same precautions as you would whenever working with hot peppers in order to protect your skin, eyes, and mucus membranes. It is also a good idea to find out the type or types of peppers used in the cheese and to sample the cheese yourself before adding it to a dish or serving it to others.

Pepper jack cheese can irritate the skin and eyes, so precautions should be taken when preparing it.
Pepper jack cheese can irritate the skin and eyes, so precautions should be taken when preparing it.

For lovers of spicy, flavorful foods, pepper jack cheese is often a welcome treat. This cheese blends Monterey jack cheese with various types of hot peppers. Many people enjoy eating pepper jack cheese on its own or on top of crackers as a snack, appetizer, or light meal. The cheese is semi-hard and easy to slice, which makes it ideal for use in sandwiches or as a hamburger topping. When the pepper jack is made from different types of chili peppers, the various colors embedded in the cheese can be quite attractive and significantly add to the appearance of the cheese. As a general rule, Monterey jack and pepper jack are best suited for use in Latin and some American cuisines.

Spicy pepper jack cheese can be used instead of cheddar in canapes and appetizers.
Spicy pepper jack cheese can be used instead of cheddar in canapes and appetizers.

Different pepper jack cheeses may contain peppers of varying levels of heat intensity. For example, jalapeƱo jack cheese, which is very popular on cheeseburgers, is made from a relatively mild hot pepper. Habanero jack cheese, on the other hand, is made from an extremely hot pepper that may present problems for some eaters. Before serving a pepper jack cheese to guests or including it in a recipe, be sure to try a small bite so as to develop a better understanding of its flavor and intensity.

Oils from hot peppers have been known to cause irritation to skin, eyes, and mucus membranes. As such, you may wish to be very careful when handling pepper jack cheese, particularly when it is made with very hot peppers. Some people find that it is best to wear gloves while handling peppers and foods that contain them. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or face if your hands have come into contact with the peppers. Another thing to consider is that while Monterey jack cheese is known as a cheese that is less likely than some to trigger migraine symptoms, some people find that very spicy foods are themselves triggers. Be cautious when serving this cheese to those who suffer from migraines.

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Discussion Comments


Pepper jack cheese on Mexican pizza is great! It compliments the flavors of this ethnic pizza perfectly.

When I make this dish, I take a little bit of mozzarella and pepper jack cheeses and mix them together. This way, I get the traditional flavor of traditional pizza along with the bold flavor of this unique, slightly warm cheese.


I love to put pepper jack cheese on tacos, in burritos, and on top of Mexican rice. It makes the perfect addition to any Mexican or Spanish dish because it compliments the spiciness and heat of these dishes.


Pepper jack cheese is great on sandwiches and melted on hamburgers. You can find it in the dairy section of your favorite store or deli in pre-cut slices. When you buy it like this, it is very convenient to use and you won't have to slice it yourself, which could expose your hands to the oils in the peppers.

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