As far as we’re concerned, cheese is at the base of the food pyramid—it’s the building block for all of life’s most delicious dishes, and can augment most any meal. That said, selecting the wrong cheese could result in a chunky cheese dip or can stand in the way of an otherwise transcendent slice of pizza. So the next time you think about turning up the heat, make sure you’re using the correct type of cheese by checking out this guide to melting cheese.

Cheeses: Cheddar, Mozzarella, Oaxaca, Provolone
These cheeses have a little give when heated up, but don’t melt completely, resulting in elastic strands of cheesy goodness. This is the stuff you want on your pizza, nachos or hot sandwich.

Cheeses: American, Blue, Brie, Camembert, Cheddar, Comte, Edam, Fontina, Gouda, Gruyere, Havarti, Jack, Jarlsberg, Muenster, Raclette, Swiss
When you want to seamlessly blend cheese into a sauce or dip, creamy cheeses should be your go-to. They’ll become smooth when melted, making them perfect for your mac-and-cheese or fondue.

Cheeses: Cotija, Feta, Goat, Halloumi, Queso fresco, Ricotta
While these cheeses will soften a bit when exposed to heat, they’ll mostly retain their shape. Their sturdiness makes them a good bet for salads, pasta dishes or alongside crackers on cheese plate. Speaking of which, here’s how to make the ultimate cheese board.

Now, that you know how to cook with cheese, check out how to select your queso when you’re serving it straight on a platter.