Cheddar cheese is one of the most common cheeses used in American cuisine. Be it the good old mac ‘n’ cheese or grilled cheese, cheddar is the star of any great dish.
Yet, there are chances that you simply don’t like cheddar’s taste, or you cannot find fresh cheddar anywhere around you.
If this is the case, then finding a suitable substitute is the best bet for you as not all cheeses have a texture or taste similar to cheddar. There are only a few.
So, what are the best substitutes for cheddar cheese? The best substitutes for cheddar cheese are Colby cheese, Cantal cheese, brick cheese, Gouda, double Gloucester cheese, Monterey jack cheese, Edam, Gruyere, and mozzarella. The substitute should match the quality of cheddar (texture, flavor note, or melting point) you need for your dish.
If you’re confused about which substitute to use for your dish, read on. We will cover the best cheddar substitutes in detail!
What Is Cheddar Cheese?
Cheddar cheese is a type of hard cheese that is available in two colors – white and yellow cheddar.
There’s not much difference between these two as yellow cheddar only consists of one additional ingredient. That is, annatto for the color. Annatto does not affect the taste of yellow cheese.
Cheddar cheese has a slightly bitter flavor due to the presence of various milk peptides.
The overall texture is dependent on the age of cheddar cheese. For instance, if you take a look at fresh cheddar, it is very smooth and creamy with a mild flavor.
However, aged cheddar cheese is somewhat crumbly and sharp. The taste becomes nuttier and also tangier with earthy notes as it ages, too.
Can You Find Substitutes For Cheddar Cheese?
You may think that it’s hard, or almost impossible to find substitutes for cheddar cheese due to its complex flavors. But that is not true as certain cheese varieties can imitate or at least slightly resemble cheddar cheese.
Keep in mind that you won’t get the same taste with these substitutes but they can blend well with other cheddar-based dishes.
Whenever you’re choosing any substitute, you need to check the below three things mainly:
- Texture: If you are planning to use fresh cheddar, always look for cheese varieties that have a creamy and soft texture. As for aged cheddar, the texture should be slightly tough and crumbly.
- Taste: The taste of cheddar differs a lot. It can be bitter and sharp or mild and buttery too. Opt for a substitute with a similar taste or flavor note you’re looking for in your dish.
- Melting Properties: Cheddar melts perfectly in any dish, be it grilled cheese or pasta. So, you need to find an alternative that melts nicely.
You can also check out the best cheddar cheese substitutes here to save up on your time.
9 Best Substitutes For Cheddar Cheese
We have considered a variety of factors, from texture to taste to melting capabilities, for deciding the best cheddar cheese substitutes. Hence, given below are the best ones, according to us:
1. Colby Cheese
Colby cheese is an excellent substitute for cheddar cheese due to its similar texture and somewhat similar taste. It’s also the first choice for many people wanting to substitute cheddar with other cheese.
What Is It?
Typically, Colby cheese comes in an orange-white color. It was first produced in the Wisconsin region of the U.S.
This cheese is also sometimes known as ‘Colby Swiss cheddar’ today as it’s basically a milder form of cheddar.
It’s semi-hard in nature and has a mild and nutty taste to it. Moreover, it has enough moisture content to melt nicely.
Why Colby Is A Good Cheddar Substitute
The similarities between cheddar and Colby cheese are numerous. In fact, many people end up confusing both of them.
Colby has a yellow color which resembles yellow cheddar very nicely. It also has a soft texture that would blend well with various cheddar dishes. Although, Colby is softer than cheddar.
As for the taste, Colby is simply a less intense version of cheddar. Cheddar is quite sharp whereas Colby offers a delicate taste and texture. Colby also melts like cheddar and becomes creamy due to its moisture content.
Overall, Colby is an excellent substitute for cheddar cheese in salads, mac ‘n’ cheese, sandwiches, etc. However, it isn’t the best choice for sauces, stews, and casseroles.
2. Cantal Cheese
Cantal cheese is yet another excellent cheddar cheese substitute. It is the best choice of substitute if your recipe requires an aged or mature cheddar cheese as Cantal is firm and strong in nature.
What Is It?
Cantal cheese is a very famous hard and strong cheese produced in Auvergne in France. It is known as ‘French cheddar’ due to the similarities between the taste and texture of the two kinds of cheese.
Cantal cheese has a mild aftertaste of milk which lingers on the tongue.
Why Cantal Is A Good Cheddar Substitute
There are many similarities between Cantal and cheddar. First, both of them have a mild and creamy texture when they are freshly produced. Over time, they develop a hard and sharp taste just like cheddar.
When you melt Cantal cheese, you won’t even realize that it’s not cheddar until you get the milky aftertaste that is common to Cantal.
Cantal cheese works excellently well with sauces and soups. As for sandwiches, Cantal slices will take longer to melt than cheddar, so it’s not ideal for paninis.
3. Brick Cheese
Brick cheese is your go-to substitute for cheddar if you want a cheese with similar meltability and stringiness.
What Is It?
As the name suggests, brick cheese comes in a brick shape. It was first manufactured in Wisconsin.
It’s available in both white and yellow color variations. So, you can choose either depending on your requirements. It has medium softness which makes it simply ideal for melting purposes.
Why Brick Cheese Is A Good Cheddar Substitute
Brick cheese has certain similarities to cheddar cheese. Initially, it has a mild and sweet taste that is somewhat similar to that of cheddar. Over time, it becomes hard and strong as seen in aged cheddar varieties.
The only difference here is that brick cheese is more intense than cheddar.
Brick cheese is extremely ideal for your melting and stringiness requirements, such as in grilled cheese, pizza, and casseroles.
4. Gouda Cheese
Gouda cheese is a considerable substitute option for cheddar cheese. It is not the best on the list but it does have some similarities to cheddar cheese. It’s also great if you want to melt and use it.
What Is It?
Gouda is a type of Dutch cheese and is one of the most commonly-used cheese varieties today.
Gouda is available in color variations, such as yellow and white. It is mainly sweet with a very creamy, soft, and stringy texture when it’s young.
Why Gouda Is A Good Cheddar Substitute
Just like cheddar cheese, young Gouda has a mild and creamy texture when it’s young. As it ages, the texture becomes more crumbly and the taste becomes more intense. It also has the right melting properties for most dishes.
The only complaint we have found is that young Gouda is much milder than cheddar. But, if you want to use it, you can go ahead with aged Gouda options.
Although it’s not the most similar to cheddar, it is perhaps equally popular. So use it and know most will enjoy the substitute, even if it may lack some of the qualities of cheddar.
5. Double Gloucester Cheese
Double Gloucester cheese is perfect if you want a more intense and flavorful option for cheddar.
It has outstanding melting properties without any stringiness. It’s very useful for pasta, cheese sauces, and other creamy items.
What Is It?
Double Gloucester cheese is a full-fat milk cheese known for its sharp taste and melting nature. This cheese has a very buttery flavor, along with a strong nuttiness.
You can also get single Gloucester cheese, but it is crumbly and unsuitable as a cheddar cheese replacement.
Why Colby Is A Good Cheddar Substitute
Double Gloucester cheese has a similar buttery flavor to that of cheddar cheese. However, the taste here is more prominent and sharper.
This cheese is suitable for cheddar cheese recipes where you’re required to make a cheese sauce. It is because this cheese melts and becomes extremely soft instead of stringy and gooey.
6. Monterey Jack Cheese
The Monterey Jack cheese is absolutely scrumptious and one of the most preferred cheese varieties for sandwiches and soaps. It’s also quite similar to young cheddar cheese in texture and consistency.
What Is It?
The Monterey Jack cheese is a type of semi-hard American cheese with a mild sweet flavor. It has the right amount of creaminess, along with suitable melting properties for any dish.
Why Monterey Jack Is A Good Cheddar Substitute
The Monterey Jack cheese is suitable as a cheddar substitute due to its creamy nature.
Keep in mind that it isn’t as creamy as cheddar but it still works great. There’s also a slight sweetness that isn’t seen in cheddar.
However, the best thing is both cheddar and Monterey Jack melt in a similar way. So, they blend well with any dish and can be substituted for each other.
You may want to avoid Pepper Jack cheese, though, as it has a smokey flavor cheddar definitely doesn’t.
7. Edam Cheese
If you’re looking for a low-fat alternative to cheddar, Edam cheese won’t disappoint you. It is creamy, mild, and melts just perfectly.
Due to its mild taste, it is not very flavorful as a snack by itself. Instead, it complements other ingredients well, like pasta.
What Is It?
Edam cheese is a semi-hard and low-fat cheese that has originated in the Netherlands.
It has a harder texture and milder taste than cheddar. It has a pale yellow color which can impart a good look to the dishes.
Why Edam Is A Good Cheddar Substitute
Edam isn’t the best substitute on this list but it’s great for low-fat cheese recipes. As it has a mild taste, Edam works suitable for substituting young cheddar, but it won’t be suitable for replacing sharp or aged cheddars.
Again, Edam cheese melts very well and can work well in dishes where melted cheese is required.
8. Gruyere Cheese
Gruyere cheese is the creamiest out of all the substitutes, even cheddar itself. Hence, if the recipe calls for a creamy texture, you can substitute cheddar for this one.
What Is It?
Gruyere cheese is a type of hard Swiss cheese that has a slightly sweeter taste than cheddar. Young Gruyere cheese has a slightly nutty and smooth texture, but with age, it develops a grainy texture.
Why Gruyere Is A Good Cheddar Substitute
Gruyere cheese is suitable for cheddar-based dishes as it has a great creamy texture initially. It also melts fabulously when used in other dishes. As it becomes gooey when baked, it is excellent for casseroles, too.
However, for uncooked meals, this option may not be the best as the taste can get too overpowering and heavy.
9. Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella cheese is available almost everywhere. So, if you want the stringiness in your dish, you can substitute cheddar for mozzarella.
What Is It?
Mozzarella is a type of Italian and soft cheese that is ideal for pizzas, pasta, and other similar food items. This cheese has a mild flavor and is one of the most meltable cheese varieties today.
Mozzarella also has a lovely stringiness which increases the appeal of various dishes.
Why Mozzarella Is A Good Cheddar Substitute
Mozzarella isn’t the same as other cheese varieties described in our list. But, due to its melting nature and mild flavor, it can substitute cheddar cheese very well.
There are slight variations in the taste as mozzarella isn’t as salty or sharp as cheddar. So, it is better to use a blend of mozzarella with other sharp cheese to get a proper cheddar cheese type of texture and flavor.
Best Substitutes For White Cheddar Cheese
If we specifically talk about white cheddar cheese, then you can opt for its other type: yellow cheddar cheese, if the color doesn’t matter to you.
However, assuming you don’t have or can’t have any type of cheddar, the top five substitutes for white cheddar include:
- Colby cheese
- Monterey Jack cheese
- Gouda cheese
- Double Gloucester cheese
These varieties all melt well, have a similar taste and texture to that of white cheddar cheese.
What To Consider When Substituting For Cheddar
If you’re confused about which substitute to go for, we have got you covered! Consider keeping in mind the below-mentioned things before you pick any substitute:
Type Of Dish
Some cheese varieties go well with baked or cooked dishes while others are better for the raw stuff. For instance, Colby cheese blends excellently in sandwiches and pasta whereas it’s not good enough for stews, soups, and casseroles.
On the other hand, Cantal cheese is great for soups and stews. However, it isn’t very suitable for sandwiches due to its high melting point.
Hence, you should decide which substitute to go for as per the dish you’re planning to prepare without cheddar.
If you’re concerned about the fat content in cheese varieties, then this should be your priority.
Certain cheese varieties such as Edam cheese are low in fat content. Apart from that, mozzarella and Swiss cheese are other low-fat varieties.
Availability And Price
Lastly, the availability of the cheese you’re planning to use and its price is also important to consider.
In the U.S., cheese varieties like mozzarella and Monterey Jack are easier to find. Fresh mozzarella is more expensive than other varieties whereas Edam cheese is a cheaper alternative.
Cheddar cheese is an extremely popular cheese today due to its unique taste and properties. It’s used in a variety of dishes.
So, if you cannot use cheddar for some reason, it may ruin the dish’s entire flavor. You can avoid this from happening by opting for a substitute.
With this list, we hope you got an idea about which cheese variety you should opt for in place of cheddar!