Why Won’t My Cheese Melt in Milk? 3 Reasons & Fixes!

One of the most popular recipes requiring cheese is mac and cheese. And it requires you to melt your cheese in milk first. Also, countless other recipes follow the same process.

However, it can be annoying when your cheese won’t melt how you want it to. So you must be wondering, “why won’t my cheese melt in milk?”

Cheese not melting in milk depends on the type of cheese you’re trying to melt. Different cheeses have different chemical properties. For instance, cheese with high moisture content melts easily. The same applies to aged cheese or cheese with high-fat content. But acid-curdled cheese only melts partially. 

We have all of these factors explained in detail for you in this article. Just keep reading to learn more!

Melting Cheese in Milk

Melting cheese in milk is a classic approach when making any creamy dishes. You might want it for your creamed corn as a side dish with your Thanksgiving turkey. Or even when you’re trying to make the perfect alfredo sauce for your fettuccine alfredo.

However, despite the dish you’re making, melting the cheese can often be irksome. After all, you want it to have the perfect gooey consistency. And it’s a downer if you can’t achieve the texture you meant to. 

And that can alter the dish in ways you’d rather it didn’t. Perhaps your creamy sauce is now all chunky, thanks to the unmelted cheese. Or maybe it’s stringy in all the weird ways. 

The last thing you want is a lumpy mac n cheese. Cheese not melting properly can cause this to happen. 

Anyway, now you’re probably wondering why does cheese not melt in milk

Well, why don’t we get into that right away?!

3 Reasons Why Your Cheese Refuses to Melt in Milk

Do you want to know why won’t some cheese melt? Or thinking that if cheese doesn’t melt is it fake? Don’t worry, it’s probably not fake. 

One important thing to note is that high-temperature cheese must be refrigerated. It can last at least 60 days in the refrigerator. 

But if you use high-temperature cheese after it expires, then it will change the chemical properties. Therefore, it won’t melt the same. 

So there are a few reasons why your cheese won’t melt properly in milk. But yes, lots of it has to do with the chemical properties of the cheeses. 

Let’s have a quick look at them! 

Reason 1: Moisture Content

Now, the moisture content of your cheese plays a role in its ability to melt. Cheese that has a high amount of moisture tends to melt more easily. This is because they contain proteins that are rather loosely packed.

As a result, there’s room for water to get in between the proteins. And therefore, these types of cheese are easier to melt. Because they’ll melt more readily compared to cheese with low moisture content. 

So cheeses that are more on the moist side include brie, mozzarella, and cream cheese. On the other hand, Parmesan, Gruyere, and Manchego fall on the list of hard cheeses. 

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It’s difficult to melt hard cheese because there’s so little water-packed between the proteins. Therefore, when you try to melt any hard cheese, it will only melt partially.

And if you’re pondering on how to fix cheese sauce, don’t worry! Because there are ways to fix a lumpy cheese sauce!

So, this is basically why when making cheese sauces soft cheese is preferred instead. Instead of melting parmesan cheese in milk, crumbs of it are usually sprinkled on top. To add that bit of extra flavor to your dish, as well as a bite. 

Reason 2: Age of the Cheese

How old your cheese is will also affect its ability to melt in milk. Usually, aged cheese can melt more easily than fresh cheese. 

Primarily, in any cheese, there are calcium atoms. These act as a sort of glue or coagulant. And so, they are responsible for holding the casein molecules in cheese together. 

But when you heat the cheese, the casein molecules separate. That’s because the calcium glue between those molecules dissolves away. 

Now, in terms of fresh cheese, these casein molecules are very stretchy. But they are also large. And their stretchy nature causes them to get tangled just like your wired earphones. 

This also explains the stretchy nature of mozzarella as well. But as the cheese starts to age, ripening enzymes start working on the casein molecules. 

These enzymes break down the casein molecules into smaller pieces.

As a result, it’s difficult for these little molecules to get as easily tangled. And that promotes a smoother melting for your cheese. 

Aged cheddar is a great example because it tends to melt nicely in the milk. 

Reason 3: Acidity and Fat Content

Cheeses with high content of fat melt more easily than cheeses with low-fat content. Good examples would be Leicester and Cheshire cheese

On the other hand, high acidity lowers the melting ability of the cheese. So cheeses that have high acidity get very stringy after being melted. For instance, Gruyere is one type of cheese that is high in acid. 

Normally, cheese is curdled using an enzyme called rennin. Rennin is commercially known as Rennet. However, some cheeses aren’t curdled the normal way. 

These cheeses are curdled using acid instead. Some examples include ricottapaneer, halloumi, vegan cheeses, and goat cheeses. Instead of the heat, the acid helps to break down the calcium glue between casein molecules. 

Now, these casein molecules are held together by microscopic bonds between themselves. As a result, upon heating, the bonds get stronger. 

Because any water is driven out from in between. 

Well, the problem here is that there’s too little moisture in these types of cheese. And therefore, they will struggle more to liquefy and tend to hold solid shape instead. 

Hence, these cheeses can be easily fried or simmered, without worrying about them melting. 

So if you’re trying to melt acid-curdled cheese in your milk, you’ll end up disappointed. And that might be another reason why your cheese won’t melt in milk.

3 Tips to Help Melt Your Cheese Easily

Are you still struggling to figure out, “why is your cheese not melting?” Well, we have some quick tips to help you melt your cheese with ease!

Tip 1: Before melting your cheese, first let it cool down to room temperature. Wondering how to melt cheese with milk on stove? Well, having a low heat on is the best way. 

It’s good to switch the plug off after using your electrical stove. It can’t hurt to be safe. 

Plus, try to use grated or shredded cheese for melting. You can also use either 8-inch or 9-inch chef knives to dice your cheese into tiny pieces!

Tip 2: For sauces and fondues, adding acid in the form of lemon juice or wine will help. And if you add some starch, your cheese will certainly melt smoothly. 

Tip 3: It’s important to select the right kind of cheese while melting cheese in milk. So it’s best to avoid stringy cheeses. 


How much time does it take for the cheese to melt in milk?

Generally, it takes around 3 to 5 minutes for the cheese to melt in milk. But that also depends on the temperature of the milk. Now, say milk is on the stove with a low to medium heat on. This timeframe is accurate in that case. However, the time will vary on high heat and for warm milk off the stove.

Which cheeses are best for melting to get creamy sauces?

There are several kinds of cheese that are best for melting to get creamy sauces. Commonly used ones are smoked gouda, provolone, swiss cheese, blue cheese, and aged cheddar. But besides these, there’s also Colby, Havarti, Muenster, Monterey Jack, and Fontina. They all melt very smoothly. 

Which one of the Mexican cheeses melts the best?

Out of the Mexican cheeses, queso asadero cheese melts the best. Upon melting, it has a soft and creamy texture. And the taste is usually mild, but good nonetheless. Generally, this cheese is used in dishes like queso fundido and quesadillas. However, it’s not uncommon to use it in pizzas either.


That’s all we had on your question, “why won’t my cheese melt in milk?” Hopefully, we were able to help you find your answer!
Try not to stir your cheese too vigorously while melting to prevent a lumpy texture.

Good luck and thanks for sticking with us till the end!