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Artisan cheese is manufactured by hand using the traditional craftsmanship of skilled cheesemakers. As a result the cheeses are often more complex in taste and variety. Many are aged and ripened to achieve certain aesthetics. This contrasts with the more mild flavors of mass produced cheeses produced in large scale operations, often shipped and sold right away.

Part of the artisan cheese making process is aging and ripening of the cheeses to develop flavor and textural characteristics. One type of artisan cheese is known as farmstead cheese, made traditionally with milk from the producer's own herds of cows, sheep, and goats.

Examples of artisan cheesemakers include:

Examples of artisan cheeses include Burrata, Cabrales cheese, Serra da Estrela cheese, Coulommiers cheese, Crucolo, Époisses de Bourgogne, Fourme de Montbrison, Scamorza, Fourme d'Ambert, Humboldt Fog, Idiazábal cheese, Lanark Blue, Oka cheese, Shropshire Blue cheese, Dragon's Breath (cheese), Abondance (cheese), Picodon, Maytag Blue cheese, Vieux-Boulogne, and Abondance.

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