Did you know cheddar is among the most commonly used cheese in the United States, which is why countless recipes call for it as the main ingredient?
Even though the firm texture, signature orange color, and nutty flavor of cheddar cheese are hard to beat, some individuals still don’t prefer to use it – for various reasons (more on this later!).
Fortunately, a cheddar cheese substitutes solves this problem, and we’re here to introduce you to the best alternatives on the market.
Cheddar Cheese – An Insight into Research
The HHS states that there are around 120 calories and 6 grams of saturated fat in one ounce of cheddar cheese (1). The study further reveals that high saturated fat consumption increases the risk of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
Research published by the National Library of Medicine has shown that cheese intake does not seem to be substantially related to an increased risk of death from any cause; however, individuals with a serious dairy allergy or those planning to follow a vegan lifestyle may consider a substitute (2).
Chandrakanta Sen, the author of Health Benefits of Cheddar Cheese, has concluded that cheddar cheese consumption is safe and contributes to maintaining or improving one’s health (3).
However, those who wish to follow a plant-based diet may switch to alternatives for choice and health purposes.
The Origin of Cheddar
Cheddar cheese (or simply cheddar) is a type of natural cheese characterized by its relative firmness, buttery texture, off-white color, and strong, nutty flavor.
If we talk about the United States, cheddar is the second most sold cheese, right behind mozzarella. Cheddar has a long history in Somerset, England, dating back to the 12th century.
However, it was the mid-19th century when cheddar made its way to the US and UK, opening the gates of the world’s first cheese factory in upstate New York.
As discussed in the beginning, even though cheese is widespread, some individuals still do not prefer to use it for various reasons, including dietary restrictions, lactose intolerance, personal preferences, veganism or vegetarianism, and budget.
Despite all the reasons, it is hard to deny the slightly earthy flavor of cheddar, and using a cheddar cheese substitute may be your best bet.
Here, we will discuss some of the most common 1-to-1 cheddar cheese substitutes, explain why they are suitable substitutes, and the ideal quantity to test out your favorite option.
Sometimes referred to as cheddar lite, American cheese tastes similar to cheddar but on a milder, creamier, salty, and slightly sweeter note.
Initially, this cheese was developed in the 1910s by mixing one or more types of cheeses, including cheddar, Colby, and washed curd cheese.
According to the US Code of Federal Regulations, it is a sort of processed cheese subjected to pasteurization.
Colby is a semi-hard orange-colored cheese made from pasteurized cow milk, named after the city of Colby in Wisconsin, which was first developed in 1885.
Compared to cheddar cheese, Colby often has a mellower, tangy, sweet, and less acidic flavor, with a buttery finish. Despite the difference in taste and texture, Colby is still a great cheddar cheese substitute in the cheese market.
Native to Emmental, Switzerland, Swiss cheese also referred to as Swiss-type or Alpine cheese, is a yellow, medium-hard cheese known for being among the healthiest cheeses.
Compared to cheddar, Swiss cheese has a softer, creamier texture, while cheddar is quite crumbly. When it comes to cheddar cheese substitutes, Swiss is an excellent option for a healthy diet since it has less fat and salt.
Blue cheese is a semi-firm soft cheese with a savory and salty flavor, followed by veins or spots with various blue or green hues.
Even though blue cheese and cheddar are quite different in terms of flavor, this is a great substitute if you like strong, mold-ripened cheese. Additionally, the calcium content of blue cheese is higher than cheddar, making it a marvel in the series of healthy cheeses.
Gouda (Pronounced “How-da”) is a Dutch cheese named after Gouda city in the Netherlands. It is made from cow’s milk and has a smooth-textured interior of creamy ivory color. Gouda is an excellent cheddar cheese substitute in practically every dish.
But, in contrast to cheddar, which is less sweet and more buttery in general, the flavor of Gouda is both sweet and nutty.
Parmesan, also referred to as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a hard, granular cheese made from cow’s milk and matured for at least a year. Parmesan gets its name from two of Italy’s regions responsible for its production: the provinces of Parma and Reggio Emilia.
Compared to cheddar, the texture of parmesan cheese is hard and grainy, while its flavor can be described as umami or rich and savory.
Traditionally produced in the southern region of Italy using the pasta filata process and milk from buffalo, mozzarella is definitely a delicious cheddar cheese substitute on the market.
Note that the color of fresh mozzarella may range from white to light yellow, depending on the diet of the animal after it has been seasoned. Nevertheless, Mozzarella is among the healthier cheddar alternatives.
Cantal is a hard cheese made in the Auvergne region of central France, specifically in the département of Cantal. Often compared to cheddar, Cantal may be purchased in two varieties: one produced with pasteurized milk (Cantal Laitier) and the other made with raw milk (Cantal Fermier).
Generally, Cantal has a fresh, sweet, and milky taste with very little trace of hazelnut and vanilla.
Cottage cheese may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a substitute for cheddar, but it is an excellent option for individuals trying to control their weight.
Cottage cheese, in contrast to cheddar, has a more subtle taste and a creamier consistency all over. Additionally, it provides nutritious protein and a touch of tang to some salad dishes and dip preparations.
Edam cheese is a kind of Dutch cheese with a salty flavor, a sour undertone, and a silky texture, which cuts shreds, and melts very well. You can use Edam instead of cheddar in nearly any recipe since the two cheeses have similar tastes and textures.
Because of the Edam’s excellent compatibility with fruit, it is an excellent cheddar cheese substitute on a charcuterie or cheese board.
Double Gloucester Cheese
This semi-hard cheese has a buttery and smooth texture, with a flavor comparable to cheddar but not as strong. Due to the use of annatto plant extract during the manufacturing process,
Double Gloucester melts smoothly and maintains the color of an apricot. If you can find Double Gloucester at your local grocery store, use it as a cheddar cheese substitute in any recipe that calls for cheddar.
In many vegan kitchens, you’ll always find nutritional yeast on the shelf. When sprinkled on food, it imparts a taste similar to that of cheddar cheese, and it may also be used to produce sauces that mimic the flavor of vegan cheese.
You may use nutritional yeast to create a cheese sauce for macaroni and cheese, dipping sauces and casseroles, or you can sprinkle it over salads, pizzas, and sandwiches.
The flavor of cashew cheese is rather nutty and has a hint of salt. The cheesiness is generally attributable to the inclusion of nutritional yeast.
The majority of handmade cashew cheese has a spreadable texture similar to ricotta or hummus, which makes it fantastic for use as a sauce or dip; nevertheless, it is not a suitable cheddar substitute for cheese-based dishes like pizza.
Pepper Jack Cheese
Pepper Jack cheese is a subtype of Monterey Jack cheese. The peppers, habanero, rosemary, garlic, and hot jalapenos ingrained in the cheese give it a sweet and spicy taste.
Additionally, it has a soft, open texture paired with spice; thus, if a hint of spice appeals to you, using it as a cheddar substitute is your best bet. It melts easily and shreds well, and the consistency is comparable to that of cheddar.
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Summary – What Are Some Cheddar Cheese Substitutes?
So there you have it, a list of some of the cheddar most common 1-to-1 cheddar cheese substitutes.
From American and Colby to Swiss cheese, blue cheese, Gouda cheese, parmesan cheese, mozzarella, Cantal cheese, cottage cheese, Edam cheese, Double Gloucester cheese, nutritional yeast, cashew cheese, and Pepper Jack cheese—these cheddar cheese substitutes work best for nearly all dishes.