WSU’s award-winning Cougar Gold cheese has received rave reviews from the likes of Bon Appetit magazine and freshman US senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, who gave it a thumbs-up in a viral social media post last June.

Of course, Cougs already understand the appeal of Cougar Gold⁠—and have for a long time. WSU’s famed canned cheddar turned 75 last fall.

To celebrate, we’re asking fans of WSU’s famed signature cheese to share their favorite original recipes for a chance to be featured in the magazine. Send yours to or via social media.

Ruth Andrews (’71 Ed.) and Jackie L. Randall (’73 Ed.) shared these fun notes via Facebook. “My favorite recipe is cutting a chunk out and eating it,” writes Andrews. “Why mix it with anything else?” Randall agrees. “My favorite recipe: open can, cut cheese, eat. Perhaps, get some crackers.”

Can of Cougar Gold cheeseCourtesy WSU Creamery/Photo Alamy


To get your imagination and stomach working, consider this recipe from Jennifer Bliesner (’94 Comm.), which features Cougar Gold and other cheeses in a savory ham strata.


Cougar Gold Cheese and Ham Strata

Unsalted butter or cooking spray

3 cups half-and-half

½ cup grated Parmesan, divided

10 large eggs

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

12 ounces rustic Italian bread, preferably stale, crust removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)

2 cups shredded Cougar Gold cheese

1 cup shredded Beecher’s Flagship cheese

6 ounces diced ham


Butter or spray a 9-by-13 baking dish. Whisk together the half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, eggs, salt, and pepper to taste in a large mixing bowl.

In another large mixing bowl, mix together the bread cubes, Cougar Gold and Beecher’s Flagship cheeses, and ham. Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, remove strata from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature while heating oven to 325 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and bake until slightly puffed and browned and no longer jiggly in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.


Note: The strata can be assembled the day of baking. Let the mixture stand at room temperature 30 minutes to an hour before baking.


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Cougar Gold recipes from readers

Have you tried the Hot Cougar Gold Cheese Dip at Spokane’s Historic Davenport Hotel? You can make the rich and savory appetizer at home with this Spokesman-Review recipe.

From the archives: How Washington tastes: The apple meets Cougar Gold (Spring 2013)