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Provolone Vs. Pepper Jack Cheese

Are you having a hard time telling the difference between provolone and pepper jack cheese?  

Provolone and pepper jack cheese are both semi-hard cheeses with a smooth texture.  

Both are commonly used in sandwiches and are known for their melting properties, making them suitable for various culinary applications.  

However, despite these similarities, their flavor profiles set them apart. 

In this post, we’ll go over these varieties of cheese and highlight the features that distinguish them.  

What is provolone cheese?

Provolone is a semi-hard cheese that originated in Southern Italy.  

It is typically made from cow’s milk, though variations using sheep or goat milk exist.  

The cheese is produced by curdling milk with rennet, then aging it for 2 to 3 months for mild varieties and up to 2 years for sharper ones.  

Provolone’s texture ranges from smooth and creamy to firm and crumbly, depending on the aging process. 

Its flavor is robust, tangy, and slightly nutty, intensifying with age.  

The varieties of provolone include the mild Provolone Dolce and aged Provolone Piccante.  

Aging imparts a more complex taste and crumbly texture to Piccante.  

Provolone is commonly used in sandwiches, salads, and melted pizzas.  

Mozzarella or Gouda can be used in place of provolone for a milder flavor, while aged cheddar or Parmesan can replace aged Provolone. 

What is pepper jack cheese?

Pepper Jack cheese is a variety of cheese that originated in the United States. 

It is semi-soft cheese made from Monterey jack cheese. The production process involves adding jalapeño peppers to the curds of Monterey jack cheese during the cheese-making process. 

Typically, Pepper Jack has a smooth and creamy texture with a pale-yellow color.  

The addition of jalapeños gives it a slightly spicy flavor.  

This cheese is known for its distinct, flavorful profile that combines the heat from the peppers with the richness of the cheese. 

Pepper Jack cheese may include different pepper combinations or variations in spice levels.  

It may be aged but usually for a few months. 

Pepper Jack is versatile and can be used in various dishes such as sandwiches, burgers, quesadillas, and salads.  

It melts well, making it a popular choice for melted cheese dishes. 

Substitutes for Pepper Jack can include Monterey Jack for a milder option, or a combination of Monterey Jack and a spicy cheese like cayenne pepper-infused cheese for a similar heat level. 

Pepper jack has a spicy flavor  

The main difference between these varieties of cheese comes down to their flavor 

Pepper jack has a distinct spicy kick due to the inclusion of jalapeño peppers, while provolone offers a mild, creamy taste with a slightly tangy note.