5 Low-sodium Cheeses

By: Julia Layton & Sarah Gleim  | 
Swiss cheese
So you love cheese but your doctor has you watching your sodium intake. Are there any out there that still fit within the restraints of your diet? Abyrvalg/Shutterstock

When you think of cheese, you likely don't think of "low-sodium." Salt, after all, plays a critical role in making cheese. It adds flavor, helps dry the milk curds, and helps kill bacteria when there's a cheese brine.

But as we know, salt is high in sodium. Its chemical makeup is about 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride. And the science has been clear on sodium for a long time: Too much of it in your diet can cause high blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.


Where does that leave you if you're a cheese lover? Today you can find several versions of low-sodium cheese at the supermarket. But what does that even mean? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends most people have less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. So as a general guideline, a serving of cheese that has 5 percent of the daily value (115 milligrams) or less of sodium is considered low; a serving that has 20 percent of the daily value (460 milligrams) or more is considered high. Here are five that fit within those restraints.

5. Brick Cheese

brick cheese
Brick cheese, like this Weyauwga aged cheese from Wisconsin, is named for the bricks originally used in the process to make it. Keith Homan/Shutterstock

Brick cheese was first produced in Wisconsin the late 1800s. It's named after the clay-fired bricks once used in making it. Its taste is mild and similar to white American cheddar, but it's cooked at a higher temperature. That produces more fat and a different protein structure, resulting in a creamy cheese that melts perfectly. It's not the cheese with the lowest amount of sodium on our list, but with about 160 milligrams of sodium per 1-ounce serving, that's not half bad, as far as cheese goes.


4. Goat Cheese

Goat cheese
Goat cheese is delicious served with figs and other slightly sweet fruits. Karl Allgaeuer/Shutterstock

Goat cheese is a soft, neutral flavored cheese that's ideal for pairing with savory salads and sandwiches and topping on sweet treats, too. It's also spreadable and makes a wonderful addition to a charcuterie board. Because goat milk also has less lactose than cow's milk, it's a great option for those who are lactose intolerant. Goat cheese can have between 100 and 130 milligrams of sodium in one, 1 ounce serving.


3. Fresh Mozzarella

Caprese salad
One of the most common ways to serve fresh mozzarella is in a Caprese salad, with tomatoes, fresh basil and pepper. Moncherie/Getty Images

Don't get fresh mozzarella confused with the shredded stuff. That's key here. Fresh mozzarella is high in moisture and doesn't use salt in aging. It's often sold in containers of liquid — usually water, brine or whey — to keep it fresh. It's commonly served sliced with tomatoes, basil and vinaigrette as a Caprese salad. A single, 1-ounce serving can have as little as 40 milligrams of sodium.


2. Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese
A bagel just doesn't seem complete without a schmear of cream cheese. And the good news is it's very low in sodium. 4kodiak/Getty Images

Some of your favorite desserts probably include this next cheese. We're talking about cream cheese. What makes cream cheese different from some of the other cheeses on the list is that it's made from cream instead of milk. But like goat cheese, cream cheese is delicious with both sweet and savory foods. What would lox and bagels or cheesecake be without cream cheese? And it's one of the lowest on our list — a 1-ounce serving can have as few as 53 milligrams of sodium.


1. Swiss Cheese

swiss cheese
The king of all cheeses, Swiss cheese, also is one of the lowest in sodium. So eat all you want, in moderation of course. All-stock-photos/Shutterstock

The cheese that's actually lowest in sodium is one of the most famous. Swiss cheese. While there are hundreds of varieties of Swiss cheese, we're mainly talking about the yellow, medium-hard cheeses that are classified as Swiss or Alpine cheese. They originated in the Emmental area Switzerland. These cheeses are known for having holes — or eyes — that form when a bacteria called Propionibacterium freudenrichii is added during the cheesemaking process. It produces carbon dioxide that creates the holes that the cheese is so famous for.

While Swiss cheese might be delicious on a Reuben, you might have to skip sandwich and eat just the cheese (corned beef is loaded with sodium!). A single 1-ounce serving of Emmental has about 60 milligrams of sodium. So have two!


Low Sodium Cheese FAQs

What cheese has lowest sodium?
Swiss cheese is one of the lowest-sodium options out there.
Is mozzarella cheese salty?
Whole-milk mozzarella is lower in sodium — with 105 milligrams — than the part-skim type (150 milligrams).
Which cheese has the highest sodium?
According to ScienceDirect, processed cheese has the highest amount of sodium with 1,242 mg of salt per 100 grams.
Is string cheese low in sodium?
No, string cheese typically has 724 mg of salt per 100 grams.
Which cheese has the least amount of sodium?
Swiss, brick, goat cheese, mozzarella and cream cheese have the least amount of sodium.

Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • American Heart Assoc. "Get the Scoop on Sodium and Salt." (March 23, 2022) https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/sodium-and-salt
  • Anne Collins. "Sodium in Cheese 1." (Oct. 27, 2010) http://www.annecollins.com/sodium_diet/sodium-cheese.htm
  • Also Salt. "Sodium Content in Foods." (Oct. 28, 2010) http://www.alsosalt.com/sodiumcontent.html
  • Clark, Stephanie. The Conversation. "Why does Swiss cheese have holes?" Feb. 27, 2020. (March 23, 2022) https://theconversation.com/why-does-swiss-cheese-have-holes-130451
  • Cultures for Health. "Salt in Cheesemaking." (March 23, 2022) https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/cheese/salt-in-cheesemaking/
  • Diet Bites. "Sodium in Dairy Products." (Oct. 27, 2010) http://www.dietbites.com/Sodium-In-Foods/sodium-in-cheese.html
  • Harvard School of Public Health. "Salt and Sodium." (March 23, 2022) https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/salt-and-sodium/
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  • Low Sodium Cooking. "Where to Find Low Sodium Ingredients." (Oct. 27, 2010) http://www.lowsodiumcooking.com/free/IngredientSources.htm
  • SEO Press Releases. "Sodium Reduction in Cheese Using Nu-Tek's Modified Potassium Chloride." April 14, 2010. (Oct. 27, 2010) http://www.seopressreleases.com/sodium-reduction-cheese-nuteks-modified-potassium-chloride/7846
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Sodium in Your Diet." Feb. 25, 2022 (March 23, 2022) https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/sodium-your-diet