Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered – here’s what you need to replace cheddar cheese.
As a cheese lover, I understand how challenging it may be to find an adequate substitute for cheddar cheese.
Vegans, people with lactose intolerance, and those seeking a healthier option all have several choices. It’s also possible you just couldn’t get cheddar but need it for a particular recipe.
I’ll discuss some best substitutes for cheddar cheese that will still fulfill your need for a cheesy bite (and once you’ve tried these, why not try some halloumi cheese subs too!).
What is cheddar cheese?
It’s created from curdled cow’s milk aged for a few months or even several years.
Cheddar cheese can vary in color from white to deep orange and has a strong, acidic taste and crumbly texture.
Grilled cheese sandwiches, mac & cheese, and cheeseburgers employ this versatile cheese. Snacking on it alone or with crackers or bread is also popular.
This popular cheese is sold in supermarkets and specialty food stores worldwide.
Specialty cheese substitutes
There are a few speciality cheeses similar to cheddar to put on your cheese board if you’re up for a change of pace:
- Gouda Cheese
This Dutch cheese tastes similar to cheddar but is nuttier. Any dish that calls for a substitute for sharp cheddar cheese will profit from this versatile cheese.
- Parmesan Cheese
Although Parmesan cheese lacks the crumbliness of cheddar, its robust, salty taste makes it a useful ingredient in recipes like pasta and risotto.
- Swiss Cheese
This cheese has a semi-hard texture and sweet, nutty flavor. Big, irregular holes may be seen all over the cheese, giving it a unique look.
- Colby Cheese
Colby cheese is a semi-hard cheese. In meals like grilled cheese sandwiches and mac & cheese, its milder taste and creamy texture make it a suitable substitute for white cheddar.
- Monterey Jack Cheese
Monterey Jack cheese is mild and creamy, and it is commonly used in Mexican cheese dishes like quesadillas and nachos.
It’s milder in flavor and has a texture not too unlike cheddar cheese. It melts well, so you may use it as a substitute for white cheddar cheese in any dish that calls for hot cheese.
It can also work great in any cheddar cheese soup recipe.
- Havarti Cheese
Havarti cheese originates in Denmark and is prized for its buttery taste and smooth consistency.
Because it melts well, it can be a substitute for cheddar cheese in recipes that call for melted hot cheese. It’s also delicious on its own or in sandwiches.
- American Cheese
American cheese melts easily and has a moderate taste and creamy texture, making it a popular choice for sandwiches and burgers.
- Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella makes an excellent substitute for shredded cheese. It has a different texture than cheddar, so it may not work well as a substitute in all recipes.
However, it works wonderfully when melting cheese on top of foods like pizzas, pastas, and your favorite casseroles.
- Provolone Cheese
Provolone, a semi-hard cheese from Italy, is somewhat similar in texture to cheddar. With suitable melting properties and a mild, smoky taste, this cheese is a fantastic substitute for cheddar.
- Double Gloucester Cheese
Double Gloucester is a semi-hard cheese with a softer flavor and more moisture than cheddar.
It may not work well in dishes that need a strong flavor, but it can replace mild or medium cheddar cheese.
Those on a vegan or dairy-free diet can find alternatives to cheddar cheese made from plants.
The following are a few popular options for a vegan lifestyle:
- Vegan Cheddar Cheese
This plant-based cheese contains coconut oil, potato starch, and nutritional yeast. Its texture and taste make it a good cheddar cheese alternative.
Vegan cheddar can also be made of nuts, seeds, soybeans, and even vegetables.
Cashews, almonds, and soy milk are the basis for many vegan cheddar cheese alternatives; other ingredients such nutritional yeast, agar-agar, and tapioca starch are typically added to provide a cheese-like texture and flavor.
- Cashew Cheese
Since it’s produced from soaked and pureed cashews, this cheese has creamy texture and nutty flavor. You can use this cheese in salads, spread it on bread, use it as a cheese dip, or top pasta with it.
I’ve tried making this kind of cheese with some raw cashews, nutritional yeast and lemon juice. The results were surprisingly delicious.
- Tofu Cheese
For a cheese-like topping on pizzas, casseroles, and tacos, try grating or crumbling firm tofu. Its moderate taste may be amped up with the addition of herbs and spices.
To cut back on calories without sacrificing flavor, try one of these low-fat substitutes for cheddar:
- Reduced-Fat Cheese
Many brands of reduced-fat cheddar cheese offer 30–40% less fat.
They can replace cheddar cheese in most recipes but they may taste and feel differently.
- Nutritional Yeast
This cheesy, nutty inactive yeast can be sprinkled on popcorn, pasta, and roasted vegetables. It’s a great way to get your daily dose of protein and B vitamins.
Cheddar cheese varieties
Each cheddar cheese has its own flavor and qualities. Popular cheddar cheeses include:
- Mild Cheddar. This cheddar cheese is mildest and most common. It’s light, creamy, and matured for a few months.
- Sharp Cheddar. This cheese ages six to nine months. It tastes tangier and harder than mild cheddar.
- Extra Sharp Cheddar. This cheddar cheese is matured one to two years longer. It’s a really sharp cheese with a crumbly texture.
- White Cheddar. This cheddar cheese is manufactured without annatto, which gives cheddar its orange color. White cheddar tastes milder than orange cheddar.
- Smoked Cheddar. Wood chip smoke enhances this cheddar cheese. Its smokiness complements many meals.
- Aged Cheddar. This two-year-aged or more cheddar cheese is excellent. Its rich flavor and crumbly texture make it ideal for nibbling or grating over foods.
Is cheddar cheese vegetarian?
Some varieties of cheddar cheese and their production methods may not be suitable for vegetarians.
Since it contains rennet, an enzyme derived from the stomach lining of newborn calves, traditional cheddar cheese is not suitable for vegetarians.
Many producers of contemporary cheddar, however, substitute vegetarian rennet made from microorganisms or vegetables.
One may ensure that cheddar cheese is vegetarian-friendly by checking the ingredients or seeking for a “vegetarian” label while shopping.
There are several excellent cheddar substitutes that taste and feel similar.
So there’s a cheese out there that can replace cheddar cheese in your favorite meals, whether you want a milder taste or more unusual flavor.
Substitute for cheddar cheese FAQs
Nutritional yeast, cashew cheese, tofu, and soy, nut, or vegetable-based vegan cheeses are popular cheddar cheese replacements.
Gouda, Monterey Jack, Colby, and Parmesan are some kinds of cheese that make excellent substitutes for cheddar when making mac and cheese.
I usually use Monterey Jack instead of cheddar in mac and cheese and it tastes amazing!
Vegan cheese, manufactured from ingredients like nuts or nutritional yeast, is one option for those avoiding animal products.
Yes, you can make a cheddar substitute at home with some nuts and nutritional yeast.
There are several cheddar cheese recipes online that use alternative ingredients.
My favorite one is made with some cashews and nutritional yeast. This recipe uses very simple ingredients but provides excellent taste.
Vegan cheeses made from soy or nuts can replace cheddar cheese, as can lactose-free cheddar cheese.
Feta cheese may not be a good cheddar-like cheese substitute, but it depends on the recipe.
Some recipes call for feta cheese, whereas others require different types of cheese.
A good cheese for nachos is a mixture of Monterey Jack and Colby cheese.
While cheddar cheese is high in protein, calcium, and vitamin D, it also has a high sodium and saturated fat content.
There are several alternatives that are healthier. For those watching their sodium or saturated fat intake, this makes them a better option.
BOTTOM LINE: there are various specialty, plant-based and low-fat alternatives to cheddar cheese. These include Gouda, parmesan, Swiss, Colby, Monterey Jack, Havarti, American, mozzarella, provolone and double Gloucester cheese. Vegan alternatives are vegan cheddar, cashew cheese and tofu cheese, while reduced-fat cheese and nutritional yeast are two further options.