White Cheddar is a widely known cheese, made from cow’s milk, that can be used in a variety of recipes or displayed on a cheeseboard.
When looking for a white Cheddar substitute, a good first option can be Colby cheese. However, the choice of a substitute for white Cheddar cheese mostly depends on the intended use and the recipe.
The best white Cheddar substitutes
This now widely popular cheese, originated in the village of Cheddar in the Somerset region of England, is bright and mellow, and presents hearty tones of hazelnut and browned butter.
As Cheddar slowly ages, it loses moisture and its texture becomes more crumbly and drier. Different variations of sharpness become noticeable at 12 months (at this point the Cheddar is known as old Cheddar) and 18 months (extra old Cheddar).
There are different varieties of Cheddar, determined mostly by age, pasteurization, cheese cultures, and coating. The differences are to be found mostly in flavor, which can range from mild to sharp, depending on the aging of the cheese. Younger Cheddars are milder in flavor and gradually become stronger.
White Cheddar is a widely known cheese, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. But just in case you had problems getting your hands on it, here are the best white Cheddar cheese substitutes.
1. Yellow Cheddar
The only difference between white Cheddar and yellow Cheddar of the same age is food coloring. Yellow Cheddar is treated with annatto food coloring to give it the classical yellow hue. Annatto is an orange condiment and food coloring derived from the seeds of the achiote tree, used mainly to give a yellow or orange color to foods.
The differences between white Cheddar and yellow Cheddar depends only on the age of the cheese, so a yellow Cheddar of the same age is a perfect white American cheese substitute.
2. Colby cheese
Colby cheese is a cow’s milk cheese native to the United States, with a nutty flavor and an orange color. The differences between Colby cheese and mild white Cheddar are almost nonexistent. Colby cheese is also very soft and both of these cheeses melt perfectly.
However, if you’re looking for a substitute for sharp white Cheddar cheese, Colby probably isn’t the best option: the difference is in the making of the cheese. Colby cheese is washed with water, and this process reduces the acid content of the cheese, creating a cheese that is sweeter and much less tangy.
Colby is also rarely aged very long so it doesn’t develop the bite of a sharp white Cheddar. For this reason, it’s seldom used in cooking and it’s typically used as a table cheese, for grating, grilling, and in snacks or salads.
3. Double Gloucester cheese
Double Gloucester is a full fat, hard cheese made from pasteurized or unpasteurized cow’s milk, originated in Gloucestershire, England.
There are two types of Gloucester cheese: single, made from skimmed milk, and double, made from full-fat milk. The most suitable white Cheddar cheese replacement is the Double Gloucester because it has a smooth and buttery texture, it’s richer than the single one and has a nutty flavor.
The Double Gloucester cheese has the same attributes like the white Cheddar cheese and can be a perfect substitute for cheese sauces because it melts really well.
4. Brick cheese
Another white Cheddar cheese substitute is Brick cheese and American cheese from the state of Wisconsin. The process of making Brick cheese is almost the same as white Cheddar, although the result produces a slightly soft and distinctly sharper tasting cheese.
The mild flavor of Brick cheese changes to tangy with age and is accompanied by a nutty flavor. Brick cheese and white Cheddar taste almost the same, so this cheese is most definitely a very good option if you want a substitute for white American cheese.
Brick cheese is great for slicing and melting, and can be used in cheese sauces, hamburgers, or even on pizza.
5. Tillamook cheese
Tillamook cheese is also native to the United States and is made from a quality blend of cow’s milk, that has the right amount of fat and proteins.
The Tillamook cheese belongs to the same family as the white Cheddar cheese and, having almost all the attributes of the Cheddar, it’s a perfectly good substitute for white American cheese. Tillamook cheese, like Colby cheese, is soft and melts perfectly.
Cantal is a type of firm cheese produced in the Auvergne region of central France and is one of the oldest cheeses in France.
There are two types of Cantal: Cantal Laitier, the mass-produced version derived from pasteurized milk, and Cantal Fermier, a farmhouse cheese made of raw milk. Cantal is a semi-firm cheese with a moist interior and a milky aroma. The flavor is mild and buttery, and the finish is somewhat acidic.
Cantal’s flavor makes this cheese similar to white Cheddar: it’s strong, tangy, and grows with age. A well-ripened Cantal has a strong taste, while a young Cantal has the same sweetness as raw milk.
Cantal has a hard texture that makes it perfect for grating and still suitable for melting into sauces or to be eaten as a snack.
Edam is a semi-hard cheese that originated in the Netherlands, named after the town of Edam in the province of North Holland.
Edam has a pale yellow interior, and its flavor is mild, salty, and nutty at the early stage. Like Cheddar, the flavor gets sharper with aging. Edam, compared to other cheeses, is also low in fat content. It has a springy texture in its youth and approaches a drier, crumbly consistency over time.
Edam can be a perfect white Cheddar cheese substitute as it slices, shreds, and melts very well and has a similar taste to a mild Cheddar. It’s probably not the best option to substitute a sharp Cheddar, but it works well for a medium one. If you decide to use Edam as a white Cheddar substitute, keep in mind the lower fat content: you might need a fatter cheese, depending on the recipe.
If you’re using it on a cheese board, mild Edam goes well with fruit such as peaches, apricots, and cherries, while aged Edam goes well with pears and apples.
Gouda is a Dutch cheese named after the homonymous city in the Netherlands and it’s one of the most known cheeses in the world. It accounts for 50 to 60 percent of the world’s cheese consumption. The name is used today as a general classification for a few similar kinds of cheese produced in the same traditional manner.
There are several types of Gouda, depending on age. The flavor ranges from lightly fudge and mild (for young cheese) to very tangy with a caramel sweetness (for very old cheese.) Gouda fans tend to prefer the taste of well-aged Gouda.
The taste of this cheese can match pretty well the taste of white Cheddar: just be sure to choose the best age to replicate the flavor you’re looking for. If you want to replicate a mild favor, look for a very young Gouda. If you want to replicate the sharper end of the Cheddar scale, look for an aged Gouda.
Gouda melts very well, so it’s perfect to cook with, but a well-aged Gouda can also be a great complement to a cheese plate.
Gruyère is a hard Swiss cheese that is named after the town of Gruyères in Switzerland and it’s classified as a type of Alpine cheese.
It has a sweet but slightly salty flavor. When the cheese is young, it’s creamy and nutty, but with age, it becomes more complex and earthy. When fully aged (which is from five months to a year) it tends to develop small cracks in the texture and become more grainy.
Gruyère is a great table cheese and can be eaten in slices, as part of a cheese platter, or as a side dish for main courses. It’s also a cheese that melts really well and this, paired with a similar taste, makes it a really good substitute for white American cheese.
The younger variants of Gruyère have the same nutty taste and smooth texture as mild Cheddars.
How to choose a white Cheddar substitute
If you need to decide the best substitute for white Cheddar, it’s better to choose based on what you need to do with the cheese.
If you want a cheese really similar to white Cheddar in flavor, because you want to use it on a cheese board, it’s better to use something like Cantal, Edam, or Gruyère.
If you want something that has a similar flavor but also the right consistency, it’s probably better to use something like Brick cheese, Colby cheese, or Tillamook cheese.
If you don’t care about the color difference, the best substitute to replicate the taste of white Cheddar is yellow Cheddar.
The best way to find the perfect substitute for white Cheddar is to experiment with one or more of these substitutes. The perfect choice really depends on the recipe and the use you have for the cheese.