Colby Jack Vs. Pepper Jack Cheese

With hundreds of types and varieties of cheese available, it’s important to find out the differences between them when they have similar names or appearances. In this article, we’ll explore what you should know about Colby Jack Vs. Pepper Jack cheese.

What Is Colby Jack Cheese?

Colby Jack Cheese

Colby Jack is a semi-hard American cheese made from Colby cheese and Monterey Jack cheese. Originally produced in the State of Wisconsin, it is primarily Colby cheese with marbled Monterey Jack that gives it the cream-white appearance.

It is a semi-soft cheese with a smooth texture. Colby Jack can taste sweet and tangy, but it’s mostly mild and always smooth.

Not readily available outside of the United States, this cheese is a staple in American dishes like macaroni cheese, pizzas, burgers, pasta bakes, and more. In almost all cases, it’s most recommended for melting or topping over dishes where it can be melted.

What Is Pepper Jack Cheese?

Pepper Jack Cheese

Pepper Jack Cheese is a variation of Monterey Jack Cheese which was originally created by Franciscan monks in California, USA. Pepper Jack contains chili peppers such as jalapeƱos, garlic, and rosemary.

It has a sharp, spicy flavor with a semi-soft texture that can taste sharper and spicier as it ages. The more aged varieties can have a drier, crumbly texture and an intensified taste.

Pepper Jack Cheese goes well with antipasto platters, salads, burgers, and even grilled cheese sandwiches. The cheese melts easily, but it’s equally good when served as is.

It has a white-milky color with brown, crimson chunks of peppers and other ingredients visible within the cheese itself.

What’s The Difference Between Colby Jack and Pepper Jack Cheese?

Colby JackPepper Jack
Made with pasteurized cow’s milk.Made with pasteurized cow’s milk.
A combination of Colby & Monterey Jack Cheeses.Monterey Jack Cheese.
Best for burgers, macaroni cheese, pasta bakes, and similar.Best for burgers, salads, cheese platters, and similar.
Tastes mild, sweet, and tangy.Tastes sharp and spicy.
Semi-hard texture.Creamy and smooth texture.
Looks orange with creamy white veins of ‘marble jack.’Looks cream white with noticeable chunks of peppers.

There are a lot of differences between these two kinds of cheese, with Colby Jack being a more notable melting cheese with a mild, somewhat tangy flavor that lends itself to many dishes.

Pepper Jack has more of a kick because of the peppers and a creamier texture because it doesn’t contain Colby cheese. They both contain Monterey Jack, and they’re both made with cow’s milk which means they’re not vegan-friendly or lactose-free. Besides this, they’re both American cheeses.

  • Type: Colby Jack is a semi-soft, rindless, processed cheese. Pepper Jack is also a semi-soft cheese with a natural rind. They’re both made from cheese produced with pasteurized cow’s milk.
  • Appearance: Colby Jack is orange with cream-white marbling, while Pepper Jack is almost completely cream-white with textured chunks of peppers within the cheese itself.
  • Taste and texture: Colby Jack cheese has a mild taste with sweet and tangy notes. Pepper Jack has a sharp flavor with a spicy kick. Colby Jack is semi-hard, while Pepper Jack is much creamier.
  • Culinary uses: You should use Colby Jack cheese for topping dishes or melting purposes, but with Pepper Jack, you can use it for the same purposes, but also as a general all-rounder cheese.


These two kinds of cheese have similarities because of a shared origin, but they’re still different enough that you need to know the best uses for each. You now know that Colby Jack cheese is more suited to melting, while Pepper Jack can be used in almost any situation, so long as you don’t mind the extra spice!