How to Make Your Own Cheese Cave

By on December 05, 2013

Cheddar Cheese Cave

Make your own cheese cave and you’ll be able to cure hard cheeses at home!

Your 21st century cheese cave won’t look as romantic as a stone cave in Europe, with interesting things dripping from the walls. In fact, your “cave” will probably be a repurposed mini-refrigerator. While not as evocative in appearance, your modern cave will do the job accurately and you’ll be creating fragrant cheeses.

Learn how to prepare hard cheeses in our new video, where Tricia makes cheeses in her kitchen. Then follow our directions here and set up your own cheese cave for curing those cheeses at just the right humidity and temperature. Hard cheeses typically need to be cured 60 to 90 days, and with a cheese cave you can maintain the proper environment.

Regulate moisture in the cheese cave

Sadly, you can’t just pop your curing cheeses into your refrigerator. Our fridges are low-humidity and adequate moisture in the air is crucial for ripening cheeses. On the other hand, you can’t just put a pan of water in the fridge and hope for the best. You don’t want water to condense and drip on the cheeses.

An old mini-fridge is ideal, for low energy consumption and a small footprint in your pantry or cellar. Go ahead and add that open pan of water when you set up the old fridge, but for best results track the humidity with a hygrometer. Our simple Wireless Thermometer reports temperature and also measures humidity.  You are aiming for humidity in the 75 to 90 RH (relative humidity) range.

Regulate temperature in the cheese cave

If you just plug your refrigerator in and let it run, you won’t end up with the 50°F temperature that is ideal for aging your cheese. You’ll need to connect your fridge to a refrigerator thermostat to get the temperature right.

Tricia has some cheese ready for her

Put the cheeses on wood

Try these bamboo mats under your cheeses, or make your own racks of wood to support them while letting air circulate. Tricia has her waxed farmhouse cheddar on a wooden cheese board, ready to cure in the cheese cave.

No crowding

How many cheeses can you fit in a cheese cave? The rule of thumb is to have half of the volume taken up by cheese, and half by air. Adding and subtracting cheeses from the cheese cave will alter the humidity too—with more cheeses raising the humidity.

For more information, consult our excellent books on cheesemaking: Home Cheesemaking, and Home Dairy. We also have an info-packed booklet, Making Cheese, Butter & Yogurt.

It’s simple to set up your own cheese cave and cure some hard cheeses!

Cheddar cheese cave photograph by Gary Bambridge available under a Creative Commons 3.0 License Attribution.


  Comments (9)


Semi good article but doesn’t give directions on regulating moisture as promised. Many too many ads and links to wade through. Hard to read on mobile device.

Posted by Eric Olson on Dec. 06, 2013 at 10:33:17 PM

Eric, Thanks for your feedback!  As for the humidity, it’s one of those “it depends” kind of things. Once you have your cave set up, the monitors in place, and the cheeses curing, then put in a partly covered pan of water and tweak how much of the pan is uncovered until you reach the right humidity.

Posted by on Dec. 07, 2013 at 9:13:20 AM


I have a wine cellar with controlled chilling 55-59F. The humidity is maintained by the chiller at around 50%, which turned out to be too low for any unwaxed cheese, e.g., swiss or parm. My waxed cheddars and gouda do just fine. Next step is to take over a couple of wine bins, enclose them and try the open pan of water idea. Someone also suggested one of those single water bottle humidifiers. FYI, I use Ricki Carroll’s book and supplie with great results.

Posted by Jim Bachman on Dec. 07, 2013 at 10:29:08 AM

Jim, Thanks so much for sharing your tips! Very interesting! Good to hear you join us as a Ricky Carroll fan too grin

Posted by on Dec. 07, 2013 at 8:22:40 PM

Jim, Thanks so much for sharing your tips! Very interesting! Good to hear you join us as a Ricky Carroll fan too grin

Posted by on Dec. 07, 2013 at 8:22:43 PM


Hi, Great article. What books would your refer to someone who is new to cheese making? And what is your favorite book?
Thanks so much for your site.

Posted by Vic on Dec. 09, 2013 at 2:46:47 AM


Santa lives in a cheese cave?!

Posted by sarah on Dec. 09, 2013 at 9:57:47 AM

Vic, Thanks for your kind words! Our favorite book is the authoritative Home Cheesmaking by Ricki Carroll Enjoy your homemade cheese!

Posted by on Dec. 09, 2013 at 11:39:58 AM

Sarah, Of course he does. Why do you think the cheese wax is red?

Posted by on Dec. 09, 2013 at 11:40:29 AM

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