Cheers for low-fat cheese! We snacked on nearly 50 types to find five skinny versions that are so rich and flavorful, you'll swear they're the real deal. By: Dina Cheney

taste test cheese

The winners:

Best for salads: Athenos Reduced Fat Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese ($5.72 for 12 oz.)
"I'll never buy a full-fat version again!" vowed one tester after sampling this robust feta made with part-skim milk. Addictively salty and creamy (with one-third fewer calories than regular feta), it's spectacular sprinkled on salads—from classic Greeks to slices of watermelon and red onion.

Best for Sandwiches: Sargento Deli Style Sliced Reduced Fat Pepper Jack Cheese ($3.62 for 6.67 oz.)
Flecks of spicy habanero and jalapeño chiles kick up the heat in these tasty slices made with fresh 2% milk (some companies use condensed or dry milk). Panelists praised Sargento's smooth texture and zesty flavor. Add slices to cold-cut sandwiches or grilled panini. Bonus: It tastes even better melted!

Best for Snacking: Kerrygold Reduced Fat Dubliner Cheese ($5.49 for 7 oz.)
Produced in Ireland with milk from grassfed cows, this cheese is aged for a year to intensify its nutty, sharp flavor and dense, crumbly texture. Delicious on its own or with apple slices, toasted nuts and a glass of wine, it's a dead ringer for aged cheddar—but has fewer calories and less fat.

Best for Melting: Karoun Dairies Part-Skim Mozzarella Ball ($5.99 for 1 lb.)
Many reduced-fat mozzarellas come preshredded and have a dry texture and wan taste. But this part-skim ball crafted from hormone-free milk is rich, full-flavored, slightly tangy and ideal for pizza, baked pasta and lasagna.

Best for Party Platters: Coach Farm Reduced Fat Goat Cheese with Herbs ($7.99 for 7 oz.)
Long featured on the menus of top chefs, Coach Farm's line of small-batch goat cheeses includes this luscious version made with skim milk and rolled in dried basil, thyme and rosemary. The contrast between the grassy herbs and the creamy cheese wowed panelists: "It tastes artisanal, not low-fat," one pointed out.

More Taste Test winners: