10 Best Provolone Cheeses

provolone cheese

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Provolone is a favorite cheese around the world. Nutty, creamy and melty all in one, there's a reason that Provolone cheese resonates with so many people.

Deliciousness is only one factor. And myriad factors affect cheese. Seemingly minor changes in its preparation can cause hugely detrimental effects further down the line. The process from animal milk to curdled cheese may seem as easy as leaving the milk alone for a long time, but it is much more involved. The levels of animal rennet added, the amount of kernelling and recombining, introducing specific bacteria and mold inoculations, and even the shapes that the forming cheese is stored in all affect the style of cheese that the cheese maker is left with at the end of the process.

This great diversity gives rise to the smorgasbord of cheese options one finds today. Want something that melts well but still offers that sharp bite? Try cheddar. Need a bold, smoky, creamy base to highlight the best parts of the red wine you opened? Try some slices of comte. Need something that will make your mouth pucker? Try some crumbly bleu. Something to give you crazy dreams? Blue stinton is at your service.

But how about when you need something mildly nutty, nice and melty, almost Swiss-like, but without all those holes that waste space on your sandwich? What you need is Provolone. But even when you've found the cheese, it does not mean you've found the brand. Countless cheese makers produce Provolone as part of their repertoire, and those choices are blown out into near-infinity in the age of Internet shopping.

Fear not, though, Provolone lovers, for we have searched through the detritus of the internet to bring you the top 10 best Provolones you can find on the market. We'll consider each of these ten in depth, but first, let us tackle a few of the most frequently asked questions that we received regarding Provolone cheese.

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Provolone FAQ

1. What Exactly Is Provolone?

Provolone is an Italian cheese, meaning you are probably not pronouncing its final syllable correctly. Specifically, Provolone comes from the South of Italy, originating near the infamous Mount Vesuvius in the region of Casilli. Provolone is white-bodied, smooth-skinned, semi-hard, full-fat cow's milk cheese. Provolone is classified as an aged “pasta filata” cheese, indicating both that it is allowed to mature for a while before sale and that the cheese is created using a stretched curd method.

Today, many countries produce cheeses similar to Provolone. In Northwestern Italy, the city of Cremona is heavily involved in Provolone production. Some Provolone cheeses are smoked. The smoking and aging both drastically affect how individual Provolone cheeses taste. But in general, some smokiness is expected in this semi-hard cheese.

2. What Are the Different Types of Provolone?

Many varieties of Provolone exist based on the amount of time the Provolone is aged. Provolone Piccante (which means “sharp” or “piquant”) is aged for a minimum of four months. It has a very sharp taste. Provolone Dolce (meaning ”sweet”) has a very mild taste.

3. Which Wines Pair Well with Provolone? 

A glass of Syrah that puckers the mouth is a great choice to pair with Provolone. The smoky full-fat-quality of the cheese highlights the plum, leather and black pepper notes of the Syrah. If you can't find a Syrah (also called a Shiraz), you can reach for a Barolo. Again, the dryness of the red brings out the best parts of the Provolone. The notes of the Barolo add dark flowers and creamy vanilla spice alongside the elements you can expect from this dry Italian red: ripe cherry and raspberry.

If Barolos aren't your thing, one of our favorite combos has quickly become Provolone and Chianti. Find yourself a nice Tuscan red with plum and sour cherry flavors, and you'll find that the Provolone will uncover elements of orange peel, almond, and even coffee that were hiding underneath.

4. What about Pairings with Other Forms of Alcohol?

We found that Provolone pairs excellently with American porters, pale ales, pale lagers, and stouts. If you're looking for pairings with drinks of a stronger nature, try port, sambuca, and sweet vermouth.

5. Where Can You Buy the Best Provolones?

Check your local farmers' market, grocery store, or fromagerie. However, if you can't be bothered to get out into the world, we've made it easy for you. All the cheeses listed can be found on Amazon.

How We Reviewed

A cheese is technically a mold-based product. Many of us don't like to think that, but it really means that the stakes are high for cheese. The high-quality stuff can bring you to tyrosine heaven, but the crappy stuff can downright make you sick. That's why we cut so much off of our list. Only the proven brands make the cut.

Overall Price Range of This Product (and Similar Products)

Expect to pay $10 to $20 on average for a block of Provolone you can use more than once (assuming it is not too big a party). Some chunks of Provolone can cost you significantly more than that, but the difference in aging and flavor may convince you to go beyond the average price point.

What We Reviewed

  • Manteche - Provolone and Butter by BelGioioso
  • Applegate Sliced Provolone
  • igourmet Smoked Caciocavallo
  • Frank and Sal Imported Provolone Cheese
  • Auricchio Provolone
  • Sharp Provolone Cheese
  • Mitica Caciocavallo
  • Glacier Ridge Farms Smoked Provolone Cheese
  • Tillamook Single Sliced Smoked Provolone
  • Ken's Market Deli Sliced Provolone Cheese

Manteche - Provolone and Butter by BelGioioso

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Manteche is unique due to its quality of being hand shaped around a significant block of unsalted butter. The tastes of both the provolone and the butter mix and resist each other in interesting ways, leading to a product that tastes of nothing else. Manteche is ultimately a tangy type tasting cheese.


  • Unique
  • Interesting and different 
  • Price for variety 


  • High fat
  • Gluten-free 


The texture is much creamier than your average cheese, due to the nature of its creation.

Applegate Sliced Provolone

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This cheese is made with RBGH free milk, no artificial ingredients, or GMO additives. Plus it's gluten-free and humanely raised so you know it tastes like a cheese your grandmother would love. This is a hit from the 1930s before the hunger crisis drove humanity into the dark, swaddling arms of chemical warfare on our own plants. If you love the planet and yourself, then you will love this cheese.


  • Non-GMO
  • Humanely raised
  • No artificial ingredients 
  • Great flavor 


  • More pricey than most 
  • Not everyone's favorite 
  • Less creamy 


The text is that of our average hard cheese.

igourmet Smoked Caciocavallo

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Imported from Italy, this caciocavallo cheese is a traditional pasta filata or an example of stretched curd cheese; this aspect gives it a unique shape and flavor. Other types of pasta filata include but are not limited to mozzarella and provolone. This particular caciocavallo has been smoked and then aged for exactly three months.


  • Pasta filata cheese
  • Unique flavor from smoke
  • Aged three months 


  • Not the cheapest
  • Imported 


The texture is dry and crumbly, as you might expect from the aging process.

Frank and Sal Imported Provolone Cheese

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The cheese makers behind this scrumptious slice are the biggest producers of Provolone cheese around. So you know they are the masters of their craft. They have been selling Italian cheese for around a quarter of a century, making them a leader in the Italian cheese market and flavor.


  • The biggest sellers of provolone
  • Italian cheese flavor 
  • Traditional 


  • Definitely expensive
  • Upscale 


Traditional texture of this cheese, exactly what you would expect.

Auricchio Provolone

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This cheese is also a product of Italy. It might be the “World's Most Famous & Favorite Italian Cheese” based on the words of the producers themselves. It is shaped by hand and aged for six months. The flavor of this cheese would as be considered another taste of classic Italy.


  • Classic Italian taste 
  • Great producers
  • Consider themselves famous 


  • The price
  • Quantity 


With a hand shaped texture that is out of this world, you know you will love it.

Sharp Provolone Cheese

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Surprised? This cheese is also a product of Italy proper. Named Piccante, the flavor of this slice is sure to be sharp and smooth as it will melt in your mouth. No claims from the producer here about fame, fortune, or long-standing existence; this is just a good cheese.


  • Great flavor
  • Humble company 
  • Italian-made 


  • Cheap quality for what it is
  • More expensive than other options 


The texture is somewhere between a classic crumble and the sweet cream from which it was made.

Mitica Caciocavallo

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Displaying the classic curd or teardrop shape, this cheese is tangy, with hints of nuts like almonds. This gives the cheese a sharp and round taste. The cheese also sports a hard edible rind. In some experts' opinions, this is the best part of the cheese. It comes highly recommended that you consume it on crackers.


  • Classic shape 
  • Great flavor
  • Edible rind 


  • High price
  • Most expensive cheese 


The texture is much more creamy than you would expect; however, the rind is nice and hard.

Glacier Ridge Farms Smoked Provolone Cheese

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The next cheese on our list is smoked and pasteurized. It's a processed cheddar combination provolone cheese. This gives the cheese a unique flavor. Additionally, it is naturally smoked during the aging process.


  • Quality is high
  • Texture is great 
  • Price point is nice 


  • Not a gourmet cheese
  • Quantity 


The texture is just a bit creamier than the expected crumble. Perfect for parties.

Tillamook Single Sliced Smoked Provolone

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Deli sliced and sandwich ready, this is a cheap cheese option you can't skip if you are on a budget and love flavor. The Tillamook brand makes great, high-quality products for the average consumer. This cheese is no different.


  • Classic taste
  • American-made
  • Sandwich-ready 
  • Affordable 


  • Cheaper quality than other options
  • Not a gourmet cheese 


The texture is great, about the same as your average cheddar.

Ken's Market Deli Sliced Provolone Cheese

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Another sandwich-ready slice, this cheese is sure to impress your next turkey and bread combo. Not really for a wine and olive kind of night, this cheese is crying out for some mayo and mustard. It is worth your time and money to give this strong cheese option a try.


  • Affordable
  • Great texture
  • Great taste
  • Nice scent


  • Not a gourmet cheese
  • Less quantity 


This cheese also floats around the same texture as cheddar cheese.

The Verdict

The most affordable and tasty cheese on this list is the cheese option from Ken's; however, the most flavorful cheese is definitely the Frank and Sal option on our list. We loved both these cheeses and hope you give both a try on your next excursion to Amazon.  

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