Special Report

The Countries Producing the Most Cheese

From lavish cheese boards to hot slices of pizza, from fondue to bubbly mac & cheese, cheese is one of the most delicious and versatile foods on earth.  

Some countries are simply synonymous with cheese. In France, Italy, Switzerland, and Spain, for example, cheese isn’t just a popular food, it’s a way of life. But believe it or not, none of these countries’ cheese production even comes close to what the world’s top producer turns out. Number one in the cheese world? The United States. In fact, the U.S. produces more than double the amount of cheese of its closest competitor, Germany. (These are America’s favorite cheeses.)  

That doesn’t mean that Americans eat more cheese than any other nationality, though: Austria actually produces the most cheese per capita, with a whopping 78 kilograms (about 172 pounds) annually for every resident, as compared to a mere 18.7 kilos (just over 41 pounds) in the U.S. – though in both cases it’s hard to determine how much is actually consumed within the country in question and how much is exported. 

In the United States, Wisconsin, not surprisingly, produces the most cheese; clocking in at nearly 3.5 billion pounds annually, that’s more than what’s produced in all of Italy.  

To determine the world’s biggest cheese producers, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a ranking of cheese-producing countries published by the international online food magazine Chef’s Pencil. The site compiled their information, which is current as of 2021, from Eurostat, the USDA, Dairy Australia, Index Mundi, Statistics Canada, and Statista.

Click here to see the countries producing the most cheese

Some cheeses are indelibly linked to their countries of origin. Think of France with its Camembert, the Netherlands with its Gouda, and Spain with its Manchego. On the other hand, Cheddar – a classic English cheese with a history going back centuries – has become a worldwide favorite that doesn’t necessarily much resemble the original It’s the second most popular and widely produced cheese in America, for instance, after another borrowed example – mozzarella – found on almost every pizza in the country (as at the best pizza place in every state).

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