Top 6 Woods for Smoking Cheese [Applewood, Hickory, Oak & More]


Make the best cold smoked cheese with these best smoking sticks. Lush softwoods like apple, hickory and oak. Get the best wood for smoking cheese today.

Top 6 Woods for Smoking Cheese [Applewood, Hickory, Oak & More]

Many smoking guides focus on meat, but that leaves too many people dying of the wonders of smoked cheese . Adding cheese to the smoker is a great way to get the vegetarians involved at your BBQ, or to add a fun twist to your spread that even die-hard carnivores will enjoy.

Smoking cheese presents a different challenge than smoking meat because YOU want to create a smoke that will enhance your cheese, but not overwhelm it. The best woods for smoking cheese are soft woods that don’t have a strong smoke, like apple or maple. Even the most durable hardwoods like oak and hickory are good choices.

Electric cheese smoker for cold smoking



Applewood comes from the apple tree, a fruit tree that may not be native to North America but has now covered those shores for good (particularly in the northern part of the United States). Applewood is a popular choice for smoking many types of food because of its mild, subtly sweet flavor.

Applewood pairs well with many types of smoked cheeses, from semi-hard to hard cheeses. Its sweet and fruity taste blends well with the smoky note of the cooking process and the natural saltiness of the cheese.



Maple is a sweet hardwood of the maple tree that grows in most of the United States and southern Canada. You can get regular maple and sweet maple for roasting. Even plain maple has a light, sweet flavor that pairs well with many smoked foods, including cheese.

Maple pairs well with smoked cheese because its flavor is sweet without overpowering the smoothness of the cheese. If you’re looking for a good color in your cheese, maple is one of the best woods to use as it helps the cheese get that smoky mahogany color. You can even make sugar maple cheese boards.



Pecan trees are technically a type of hickory, but the wood of these pecan trees native to the southern United States is much sweeter than hickory. Walnut smoke is slightly sweet but has an earthier, nuttier flavor than maple or apple.

Pecans are one of the best woods for smoking cheese as they have a savory, bacon-like aroma that gives the cheese a rich smoke. However, it’s not as intense as oak or hickory, so it works with both semi-hard and hard cheeses.



A staple of Carolina-style barbecues, hickory wood comes from a species of walnut tree common in the southern United States. Hickory wood is one of the most durable woods in the United States thanks to its hardness and stability and produces a long and consistent smoke supply.

Hickory smoke has a rich, smoky flavor that often tastes like bacon. It’s a good option if you want to add a little meaty flavor to your smoker without making meat. However, hickory smoke is too strong for softer cheeses, so use it with a rich, hard cheese like cheddar. Hickory also pairs well with Gouda, a creamy Dutch cheese that starts to taste like smoked bacon when cooked over hickory.



The reddish-brown cherry wood comes from the cherry tree that grows in most of the United States. Cherry wood is similar to apple wood in that both are fruity and sweet, although cherry is sweeter than apple. 

The mild, sweet flavor of cherry wood pairs well with cheeses, including semi-soft cheeses that don’t quite compete with rich woods like walnut. However, if you smoke with cherry wood, you should know that the red of the wood will turn your cheese a deep dark color. Don’t worry you didn’t burn it!



Oak wood, from the stable and durable oak tree, is one of the famous woods for grilling thanks to its constant and long burning time and its smoky aroma. Oak smoke has a nutty, earthy flavor but isn’t as overpowering as hickory.

Oak wood is versatile, especially when grilling hard cheeses (semi-soft cheeses should be paired with a softer wood like cherry as oak can be overwhelming). The best cheeses for oak smoking are cheddar, gouda, and asiago. 

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