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Is Cheese A Condiment?

Norah Clark
Board of different cheese.

Cheese can be a condiment and an ingredient in food, but it depends on its use. If cheese was sprinkled over pasta to increase its flavor, then it could be considered a condiment. Most of the time, it’s just an ingredient in food or a food item and is not a condiment.

The number of terms in the field of cooking that even the most experienced cook could be confused about. It’s similar to cheeses and condiments.

Many think the idea that cheese can be a condiment is opposed to this idea. It’s funny that people on Reddit debate this issue!

If you’re still unsure of the right answer, continue reading, and we’re certain you’ll get it.

First, let’s define a condiment. A condiment is any sauce, preparation, or spice you add to food items to enhance the flavor. There are also sauces or table condiments like mustard or ketchup sauce when you purchase prepared food items.

Most of the time, consuming condiments without any other foods is not usual. For instance, it is rare to find any people who just eat mayonnaise or ketchup right from the container! Well, maybe if you’re pregnant with certain cravings…

In the same way, nobody consumes salt or pepper without sprinkles of them over a dish.

What Is Cheese?

We all know that cheese is a dairy product made through milk curdling. In yours, let alone my kitchen, cheese is used in many different ways.

You can serve it as a charcuterie board with fruit, cured meats, and crackers. Also, you can use it to top various food items like lasagna, pasta, pizza, and so much more – just ask an Italian! It depends on what you use cheese for and whether you can call it an ingredient or not.

Is Cheese A Condiment?

We’ve already mentioned that the answer depends on how you use the cheese. Let’s look at how cheese functions as a condiment and also where it is used as a food product or ingredient.

1. Cheese As A Condiment

The idea of cheese being an ingredient is extremely controversial. But, we can’t deny that it can be compared to some of the characteristics associated with condiments in some instances.

If, for instance, we think of Parmesan cheese and parmesan cheese, we often apply grated parmesan cheese to foods that are already cooked, like pizza and pasta.

In these cases, you could affirm that cheese helps intensify the flavor and acts as a condiment. The waiter/waitress will approach you with a parmesan shaker if you are in a good standard Italian restaurant.

Another scenario in which cheese can be considered condiments is when it comes to cheese sauces. You may get cheese sauce served when you eat certain foods like nachos. It can be used as a condiment, too.

2. Cheese As A Food Item Or Ingredient

Many people think cheese should be a food item instead of a condiment.

In the first place, unlike other condiments, you can consume certain cheese varieties by all. For instance, it is considered a food product because most people consume it in its raw form and without additional ingredients.

In the same way, you could enjoy cheese and fruits with crackers, which acts more like a food item than an ingredient.

An excellent example of how cheese can be a component used in food preparation is sandwiches made of grilled cheese. In this case, it’s not the ingredient used as a supporting one but the principal one.

According to us, cheese is a food item that is more of an ingredient used to add flavor to the taste of the dish. However, it’s also an item you can eat if you consume it in raw form or as the primary ingredient.


Is cream cheese a condiment?

Any kind of cream cheese can be considered a condiment when served with any other dish. But if you’re using it as the obvious ingredient in cheesecakes, it’s considered a food ingredient.

Which food chains treat cheese as a condiment?

Typically, the most well-known chains like McDonald’s or Taco Bell don’t consider cheese a food item.

However, some food chains like Subway have included cheese on their menus in the condiments section.


Debates like this are similar to whether pineapple should be on pizza. The debate is so crowded with different opinions and arguments that you won’t be able to form your decision. There are also many discussions and ideas about whether cheese is an ingredient.

However, based on my opinion as a chef of over 10 years, I believe that cheese could be used as a condiment and an ingredient. It’s all about how you make use of it.

If you sprinkle cheese over any of your favorite cooked food, like lasagna, it’s an added flavor! If you’re using it as the primary ingredient, it’s probably not!

Profile Image Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, Editor of Boyd Hampers! Norah is a food writer with over a decade of experience in hospitality as a pastry chef, sous chef, and barista; former chef at the Savoy Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel.

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