What Does Limburger Cheese Smell Like? [The Stinky Cheese Guide]

Ever smelled cheese, and for the first time, it put you off? That must be the smell of Limburger cheese (if you’re sure the cheese hasn’t gone off). Besides the signs of spoilage, Limburger cheese is known for its strong, repulsive smell.

In summary, Limburger cheese is not for the faint-hearted. You need to do a lot of bracing up if you’re going to eat this ‘stinky’ cheese.

So, if you have not yet found a word for the smell of Limburger cheese or do not understand why cheese should be smelly, you are on the right page.

Continue reading to see answers to all your possible questions about the infamous Limburger cheese.

An overview of Limburger cheese

Limburger cheese is a Belgian semi-soft cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk. This cheese was first sold in markets in Limbourg, which gave it its name.

Sometime in the 1800s, this cheese made it to Wisconsin, America, through some Swiss immigrants.

Many things make this cheese very special. These include its preparation process and its strong aroma. That is why it is often said that eating Limburger cheese is not for the faint-hearted.

In addition, Limburger cheese is healthy. It aids in weight loss and can also help to strengthen the bones and teeth.

What does Limburger cheese smell like?

The most appreciated word to describe the smell of Limburger cheese is ‘sweaty gym socks.This pungent smell repels some people from eating the cheese.

Why does Limburger cheese stink?

Limburger cheese is classified under washed-rind, smear-ripened cheeses.

In the making of this cheese, the cheesemakers regularly wash Limburger with a saltwater brine solution to prevent mold growth and make it habitable for the bacteria, Brevibacterium linens (b-linens), they smear it with.

B-linens are responsible for the pungent smell of Limburger cheese and the red or orange rind. These bacteria, with their stink, trigger chemical reactions that give Limburger cheese its buttery, earthy, complex flavor.

In addition, this is the same bacteria that grows in areas of the human body, like the foot. It is responsible for the offensive odor that oozes from sweaty feet. So, likening the smell to sweaty gym socks is not inappropriate after all.

Smearing b-linens on the cheese also helps the ripening process as the cheese ages within 2 to 3 months. Furthermore, the cheesemakers constantly wash the cheese (by hand) as it ages, making it moist.

Can you eat Limburger cheese?

Yes, you can.

Limburger cheese is edible, regardless of its smell. Once you remove the rind (if you can’t stand the smell of Limburger cheese), you can enjoy delicious cheese.

What does Limburger cheese taste like?

Limburger cheese has a mild but complex taste.

The taste of the cheese can be described as mushroomy with woodsy and grassy notes. Overall, it is a delicious buttery cheese. Some people also compare Limburger’s taste with ripe brie or raclette.

How to eat Limburger cheese

Traditional Limburger cheese sandwich

The Limburger cheese sandwich is one of the most eaten Limburger pairings. Slices of the sandwich are put in between two slices of rye bread for a German-style meal. You can make a more spicy sandwich by adding raw onions and brown mustard.

Additionally, bars in Wisconsin serve this traditional Limburger sandwich with local beer. You can also wash it down with a larger or ginger ale.

Limburger cheese salad

Another way to eat Limburger cheese is to make Limburger salad.

Add slices of cheese, chives, lettuce, onions, garlic, radish, and a sprinkle of mustard seed. You can sweeten and moisten it with honey and canola oil. You can also make it spicy with slices of pepper.

Limburger and grilled brats

One of the delicious ways to eat this cheese is to serve it with grilled bratwurst.

Grill the brats with beer, onions, and unsalted butter. Grill the brats properly on each side, remove the liquid, and grill again until they are slightly charred and brown.

Afterward, slice the brats and cheese and serve in between two buns.

Limburger mac and cheese

Use Limburger cheese to make your regular mac and cheese. But for this mac and cheese, you’ll have to use the cheese with the rind (brace up for that). You can also make your meal heartier with pork, bacon, or sausage.

As spread

Limburger cheese works well with jam as a spread for bread and crackers. You can eat this for breakfast, lunch, or a light late-night meal.

Limburger cheese alternatives


limburger cheese smell - millenora

Liederkranz is a lot like limburger. Many people call it the American cousin of Limburger cheese.

It is also a semi-soft cheese made from cow’s milk, but it is smear-ripened with a different bacteria. The interior of Liederkranz is pale ivory, and it has a milder pungent smell.

In addition, Liederkranz is also buttery and creamy. This Limburger alternative goes well with any Limburger recipe. And this includes local beers and ales.

Italian taleggio

Italian Taleggio cheese - millenora

Italian taleggio originates from Val Taleggio in Bergamo, Italy. The cheese started as a way of preserving milk.

Different types of taleggio are now produced in factories with pasteurized or raw cow milk. As taleggio ages, it is smear-ripened and washed with saltwater.

Additionally, the red rind with a strong aroma encloses a creamy, buttery interior that has a complex taste. The taste is described as mellow, lightly fruity, nutty, and slightly acidic.


maroilles cheese - millenora

Maroilles originates from Maroilles village in France. It is a soft cheese made from cow’s milk, with a reddish-red washed rind. The interior of maroilles cheese is soft and oily with a nutty, earthy, and mushroomy taste.

Stinking bishop

limburger smell cheese - millenora

Stinking bishop is an English cow’s milk cheese that originates from England. The rind of this cheese is washed with pear cherry (perry), a beverage made from fermented perry pears.

Like Limburger, you can serve slices of this cheese on brown bread or as a spread for crackers.


epoisses cheese - millenora

Epoisses is a Burgundian cheese from France made from pasteurized cow’s milk. Just like Limburger, it is smear-ripened but washed with brandy.

Beyond the red or orange rind is an interior that has a fruity and bacon-like flavor.

Does Limburger cheese go bad?

Yes, it does.

Like every cheese, Limburger will go bad if you do not store it properly or if it exceeds its shelf life.

How do you know Limburger cheese has gone off?

If you suspect your Limburger cheese has gone bad, you may not want to rely solely on the smell to detect spoilage.

Check for mold growth and taste it to see if it tastes like sour milk. If you observe any deviation from the deliciousness of healthy Limburger cheese, throw it out.


Is Limburger cheese vegan?

No, limburger cheese is not vegan.

The cheese contains dairy products and may contain other ingredients that are gotten from animal origin.

Is Limburger cheese gluten-free?

Yes, it is. Limburger cheese does not contain any gluten ingredients.

Is Limburger cheese dairy-free?

No, it is not. Limburger cheese is made from cow’s milk. If you’re eating dairy-free, Limburger is not an option for you.

Is Limburger cheese healthy?

Limburger cheese contains probiotics that are necessary for proper digestion. 100g Limburger cheese contains approximately:

  • 327 calories
  • 27g fat
  • 20g protein
  • 0g carbs
  • 0g sugar
  • 0g fiber
  • 0g salt
  • 90mg cholesterol
  • 393mg phosphorus
  • 497mg calcium
  • 128mg potassium
  • Other minerals and vitamins like magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium, and vitamins A, B, D, E, and K are in trace amounts.

What’s the shelf life of Limburger cheese?

Limburger cheese has a shelf life of six months. To keep the cheese longer, store it in a refrigerator or freezer.


Limburger cheese, the stinky cheese, is one of the most delicious cheeses there is. That is, if you’ll brace yourself and embrace the smell, you’ll attest to the fact that Limburger cheese is indeed delicious.

Once you have overcome the smell, pair Limburger with delicious grilled brats or make a simple sandwich with it. But, if you can’t get yourself to eat the cheese, go for any of the alternatives.

Thanks for reading.

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