The Best Cheddar Cheeses To Buy (20+ Taste Tested)

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One of the most popular cheeses in the world, cheddar cheese is the second most consumed cheese family in the United States (second only to Italian cheeses).  Cheddar cheese is a staple in quesadillas, tapas platter, sauces, savory pies and everyone’s favorite, mac and cheese.

Grocery stores are filled with cheddar cheese brands and varieties. Which is worth your money?  We test-tasted over 20 widely available cheddar cheeses to find out.

The best store-bought cheddar cheese brands are Cracker Barrel, Kerrygold and Sartori. You can’t go wrong with Tillamook, Sargento, Cabot or Kraft either. We didn’t like Organic Valley or Happy Belly (Amazon) very much.

The goal of our taste test is to help you choose the one that best suits your needs, tastes and requirements. All of the cheddar cheeses were purchased via Amazon Fresh and Amazon Whole Foods via online grocery delivery.  We chose ones that were exceptionally well-rated by the consumers. None were rated poorly Amazon.

The Best Cheddar Cheeses We Tested (Best to Worst)

Cracker Barrel Aged Reserve Cheddar

This cheddar has a balanced, rich and potent cheddar flavor. The cheese is left to age for several months to develop characteristics like a depth of flavor, a firm body, and rich, savory notes. This cheddar pairs great with red wine, hazelnuts, cured meats like salami and red peppers.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 10g fat, 6g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 6g protein
  • Ingredients: Cheddar Cheese (Pasteurized Nonfat Milk And Milkfat, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Natamycin (A Natural Mold Inhibitor)
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 8 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Whiter than the Vermont White version tested, slightly
  • Hard to medium density
  • Minor crumble when broken
  • Has a wet/sweaty look
  • Smells very fruity and creamy
  • Melts extremely well in mouth, truly like butter
  • Tastes like wine, sweet at first with some bitterness
  • Ends up just tasting like a sweet, rich and delicious savory mix
  • There were so many delicious notes from start to finish taste-wise

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. The flavor of this cheddar was one of the best of this taste test. It also was delicious with the macaroni. Cracker Barrell in general really shined strongly during this taste test. You can’t go wrong with this brand.


Sartori Montamore Cheddar

Sartori is an award winning cheese that aims to be a mix of cheddar and parmesan. It is harder to find this cheese. It has a sweet buttery taste profile that makes it a great mix for many foods or just to snack on its own.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 9g fat, 5g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 7g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 7 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Wet and crystalized look
  • Off-white color
  • Chunky crumbly edges
  • Hard to touch
  • Floral, sweet and creamy smell
  • Melts in mouth with ease
  • Starts with a creamy and salty taste
  • Ends with a sweet balanced finish
  • Tastes like a sweet butter and a delicious parmesan had a baby

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. It has a delicious flavor profile. Great to snack on. Melts evenly. Great all around cheese and the price meets what you get.


Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar

Kerrygold Reserve is a lot like the Kerrygold Dubliner but it has a richer, stronger taste and it’s been aged over two years. Kerrygold is a product of Ireland and they only use grass-fed cows that are not treated with rBST or any growth hormones. The all Irish and all-natural milk is what delivers the creamy flavor making this one of our top picks.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 120 calories, 10g fat, 6g saturated fat, 200mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 7g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Cheese Cultures, and Enzymes
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 7 oz block

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Off-white / parmesan-like color
  • Fine to small cracks
  • Clean breaks with some crumbling when broken
  • Hard to touch but slightly soft still on outside
  • Earthy, creamy and wine-like smell
  • Melts nicely in mouth, like butter
  • Tastes sour and sweet the whole way
  • Tastes almost like wine, a very rich flavor profile
  • No bitter end

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. It’s got a beautiful taste, this reserve cheese tastes like fine wine in cheese form.


Tillamook Medium Cheddar

Tillamook Medium Cheddar is a bold, smooth, full-flavored, naturally-aged, award-winning cheddar ideal for snacking, shredding, and slicing. This versatile cheese is made from non-artificial growth hormone rBST treated cows, contains no artificial preservatives, and has been matured for over 60 days.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 10g fat, 6g saturated fat, 200mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 6g protein
  • Ingredients: Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (Color)
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the Kosher Medium Cheddar version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Salty edges
  • Yellowish orange color
  • Hardish to touch, not a lot of pushback but still slightly soft
  • Smells sweet and creamy
  • Taste starts with a nice mix of sweet and sour
  • Taste finishes with a savory mix of notes – extremely delicious
  • No bitter ending for taste
  • Melts nicely in mouth without much effort

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. Very delicious cheddar cheese in raw and melted forms.


Kerrygold Dubliner Aged Cheddar

Kerrygold Dubliner is one of our top picks, thanks to its robust flavor profile and the higher the quality of the cheddar. Kerrygold is a product of Ireland where the farmers only use milk from grass-fed cows.

The brand is dedicated to sustainability practices, upholding animal welfare, and supporting the local farm co-ops. The farmers harvest surplus summer grass to make provision for the cold winter months.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 9g fat, 6g saturated fat, 210mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 7g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Cheese Cultures, and Enzymes
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 7 oz parchment block

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Beautiful almost parmesan-like color
  • Lots of cracks
  • Salty brine outside
  • Extremely crumbly
  • Medium to hard density
  • Fruity and creamy smell
  • Start of taste begins with sweetness and a bit of earthy / grass notes
  • A bitter and sweet finish to taste
  • Melts in mouth quite well

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes, it’s got a sweet, earthy & creamy flavor and it melts very nicely.


Cracker Barrel Vermont Sharp White Cheddar

This sharp white cheddar is made with East Coast flare and full of complex flavors. This pairs well with balsamic vinegar, basil and strawberries. Also just perfect for snacking on.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 10g fat, 6g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 6g protein
  • Ingredients: Cheddar Cheese (Pasteurized Nonfat Milk And Milkfat, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Natamycin (A Natural Mold Inhibitor)
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 8 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • White/off white color
  • Soft and light to touch
  • Creamy and fruity smell
  • Melts in mouth without much resistance, melts nice and even
  • Tastes a little like wine at first
  • Taste ends up sweet with a hint of bitter
  • Fantastic flavor

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. This is was one of my favorites to snack on during this taste test. A very well balanced and great tasting cheese.


Old Croc Extra Sharp Cheddar

Old Croc Extra Sharp is made with Australian Cheddar. It’s aged 18 months which is longer than other brands on average. It has all natural flavors and is raised with grass-fed cows. It has the bold cheddar hit you want with a subtle sweetness to keep you coming back for more.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 120 calories, 10g fat, 7g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 8g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized milk, salt, cultures, enzymes, vegetable rennet
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 7 oz block

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Off white to yellowish color
  • Crystalized, briny and crumbly looking outside
  • Hard density
  • Grass, floral, earthy smell
  • Melts in mouth with a little work/chew
  • No overpowering bitterness taste wise
  • Balance of sweet and savory, a very nice taste start to finish

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. This was instantly one of my new favorites due to the fantastic taste that can compliment lots of food dishes.


Cracker Barrel Sharp Yellow Cheddar

This superb sharp and creamy cheddar cheese has got a great balance between bold and creamy. This cheddar pairs beautifully with almonds, honey, crackers and makes for the perfect addition to any gourmet burger.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 10g fat, 6g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 6g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (color), Natamycin (a Natural Mold Inhibitor)
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 8 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Nice orange/yellow color
  • Some briny/salty edges
  • Medium density, kind of soft but has give when pushed
  • Clean break, not much crumble
  • Nutty, fruity smell with a hint of funk
  • Melts very nicely in mouth without much resistance
  • Starts with a sweet taste and ends with a nice savory and bitter flavor
  • Well balanced flavor

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. A well balanced cheese all around. Melts in mouth like butter and does everything a cheddar should do well with ease.


Beecher’s Flagship Aged Cheddar

Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar is aged for fifteen months which brings out some serious flavor. After the aging results in a semi-hard versatile cheese that is balanced and very creamy. Beecher’s has a very clean list of ingredients resulting in an additive-free cheese. The brand touts this cheese as “Wine’s Best Friend” which we will put to the test.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 120 calories, 10g fat, 6g saturated fat, 170mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 6g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized milk, salt, culture, enzymes
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 3.75 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • White, off-white color
  • Cracks and soft edges (perhaps due to packaging)
  • Medium density
  • Crumbles easily
  • Creamy, nutty and a perhaps a little floral smell
  • Melts very easily in mouth
  • Good balance of sweet, bitter and savory from start to finish taste wise
  • Notably pleasant mouthfeel

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. It really is a great cheese to pair with wine or just snack on. And this had the best mouthfeel out of all the cheeses tested. Downside is the price and small package size.


Cabot Vermont Extra Sharp Cheddar

Another outstanding product from the Cabot brand, Cabot Vermont Extra Sharp Cheddar, has a delectable full-bodied flavor, rich and creamy texture with a slight crumble, a classic East-Coast bite, and a delightful citrusy tang. 

It is one of the top-rated cheeses for its exceptional extra sharp taste. This cheese is perfect for making delicious grilled cheese, for using in bold cheese sauces, or as a pairing with fruit and wine.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 9g fat, 6g saturated fat, 200mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 7g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (If Colored)
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 8 oz bar version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • White color
  • A little sweaty and moist outside
  • Flakey or bine outside
  • Mild to low crumble when broken
  • Hard to medium density to touch
  • Creamy and almost floral or earthy smell
  • Melts slowly in mouth, very rich and almost chewy
  • Extremely creamy, strong bitter and balanced taste

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. All around creamy goodness. Solid flavor.


Sargento Creamery Extra Sharp Cheddar

Sargento is an American cheese company that has a massive range of cheese products in most supermarkets in the USA. Just because it’s a bigger cheese company doesn’t mean it slouches on quality. This extra sharp cheddar is an all around great cheese flavor wise for any dish, it melts great and it is great to snack on as well.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 9g fat, 6g saturated fat, 190mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 7g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (Vegetable Color)
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 7 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Light orange/yellow color
  • Hard but soft to touch
  • Crumbled a little when broken
  • Smells a little funky and creamy
  • Melts nicely in mouth
  • Starts with a bitter yet sweet taste
  • Ends with a balanced bold flavor
  • Thick feel in mouth

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. All your taste buds are happy after this cheese in raw and melted form. You can’t really go wrong here.


Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese

If you love sharp cheeses, then you will love the Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese. It pairs beautifully with olives, wine, bread, and crackers, or you can use it in mac and cheese and cheese sauce. This is an excellent cheddar with a lovely aged taste, a sharp bite, and a smooth and creamy texture.

The Cabot brand holds “Best in Class” awards from national and international competitions for their sharp cheddar and several other kinds of cheese in their range. Cabot meets the highest standards for environmental and social practices, legal accountability, and transparency, making them a B Corp brand. 

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 9g fat, 6g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 1g carbs, 7g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (For Color). Potato Starch, Corn Starch, and Calcium Sulfate Added to Prevent Caking
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 8 oz bar version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • White and almost yellowish color
  • Soft and light to touch
  • No crumble when broken
  • Earthy and creamy smell
  • Melts nicely in mouth without much resistance
  • Taste starts off sweet and has a bitter end

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. All around a solid cheddar, Cabot Extra Sharp is more my taste preference though.


Sargento Creamery Mild Cheddar

Sargento is an American cheese company that has a massive range of cheese products in most supermarkets in the USA. The mass appeal is for good reason, the cheese is generally fantastic. This mild cheddar has maximum meltiness and has a great all around flavor for any dish or just snacking on its own.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 11g fat, 6g saturated fat, 220mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 6g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized Milk, Pasteurized Cream, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (Vegetable Color)
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 6 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Orange / yellow color
  • Very soft
  • Breaks with some crumbles
  • Smells creamy and a bit fruity
  • Melts in mouth very well
  • Good balance of sweet and savory
  • Nice salty taste in mouth after

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. This mild is full of flavor and is a great all around cheese.


Kraft Mild Cheddar

Kraft cheese is the classic cheese company for many during childhood. Is it a good cheese for all ages? The perfect meltability and classic taste is unbeatable but it leaves a little to be desired after trying all these other cheeses taste-wise.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 10g fat, 6g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 6g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (Color), Natamycin (A Natural Mold Inhibitor)
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 8 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Deep orange color
  • Soft texture
  • No cracks
  • Minor sweat at room temperature
  • Some minor crystals on edges
  • No crumble, more smush when broken
  • Mild funk, nutty and sour smell
  • Melts perfectly in mouth
  • Starts off with a rich, salty and bright taste
  • Ends with a salty, bitter finish

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. It’s Kraft. Enough said. Classic flavor, great melt. Not a great snack cheese, it’s better for cooking.


Kraft Extra Sharp Cheddar

Everyone knows Kraft for cheese. The gooey and smooth classic texture will keep you coming back every time. This extra sharp cheddar has a delicious taste and you really can’t go wrong with this cheese.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 10g fat, 6g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 6g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized Nonfat Milk And Milkfat, Cheese Culture, Salt Enzymes, Annatoo (Color), Natamycin (A Natural Mold Inhibitor)
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 8 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Light orange / yellow color
  • Crumbled a little when broken
  • Mild sweat at room temperature on outside
  • Some crumbles / crystallization / salt on edges
  • Soft with a firm pushback to touch
  • Nutty, rich and minor sweet smell
  • Starts with a sharp, creamy and sweet taste
  • Ends with a savory, rich and a mildly bitter hit

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. It is a good all around cheese, melts perfect like Kraft always does. Not as great for a snack, better for cooking.


Laclare Farm Raw Cheddar Goat Milk Cheese

Goat cheese has only A2 casein, instead of both A1/A2 from cow’s milk, which supposedly makes this easier to digest which is why this was selected to test. Secondly, goat milk is also ideal for those looking for hypoallergenic alternatives to normal cow’s milk cheese. Goat cheese plus cheddar combined was too much of an idea to resist to not taste test. The goat cheese flavor is still there but it has that cheddar boldness you want.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 100 calories, 7g fat, 5g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 7g protein
  • Ingredients: Whole Raw Goat Milk, Salt, Cheese Culture, Enzymes
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was this 6 oz block

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • White color
  • Light and soft to touch, a little give
  • No crumble
  • Fruity and creamy smell
  • Melts nicely in mouth without much work
  • Starts with bold and bitter cheddar flavor you’d expect
  • Ends with the taste of creamy goat cheese

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. This is one of my favorite personal cheeses, it works in situations where cheddar works or where goat cheese works, making it a versatile cheese. But in terms of pure cheddar taste, it’s not on the top of the list because it still has hints of goat cheese at the end which can be a polarizing taste.


Cabot Catamount Cheddar

This was labeled as the well know brand Cabot when shopping for cheese online. It appears it might be exclusive to Whole Foods and it comes off as a higher end cheddar. This cheese is focused on being a hard Italian-type cheese of the cheddar variety with notes of swiss and parmesan.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 9g fat, 6g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 7g protein
  • Ingredients: Fresh pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was this 0.64lb block weighted at Whole Foods

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • White / parmesan color
  • Some cracks and crunchy edges on cheese
  • Hard density to touch
  • Floral, rich and creamy smell, very nice
  • Crumbles when broken
  • Melts nicely in mouth
  • Starts with a sweet and sour hit for taste
  • Ends with a bold, tart and salty hit
  • Swiss and parmesan taste is truly delivered on

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. A very good bold and strong tasting cheese if that is what you are looking for. A good parmesan or the more balanced Cabot cheddar varieties seem to make more sense for most situations. Also a bit pricey.


Organic Valley Raw Mild Cheddar

This cheese stands out due to its “raw” label. However, there is a difference between raw milk cheese and raw milk. The microorganisms in raw milk are a welcome aroma and taste variable to cheesemakers. On the other hand, raw milk is unpasteurized, which means neither the harmful nor good bacteria have been killed off, making drinking it unsafe.

Cheese made from raw milk needs to be aged for no less than sixty days to prevent the risk of pathogens, and specific FDA food testing and safety protocols have to be done throughout the natural cheese-making process. Immunocompromised individuals should steer clear of raw milk cheese to be safe.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 9g fat, 6g saturated fat, 170mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 7g protein
  • Ingredients: Organic Cultured Unpasteurized Milk, Salt, Enzymes
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 8 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Light white color
  • Salty brine on edges
  • Soft but a little pushback to the touch
  • No crumble when broken
  • Creamy and rich smell
  • Melts nicely but mouth needs to work a little more than usual
  • Creamy rich taste but it is muted (mild)
  • And has a mild bitterness throughout
  • Pleasant and light flavor all around

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. It is a good pleasant tasting cheese and it delivers on the mild flavor strength.


365 By Whole Foods Sharp Cheddar

The 365 brand belongs to Whole Foods. 365 by Whole Foods Sharp Cheddar is produced without added hormones and contains a lower amount of sodium than other cheddar cheese. It has a strong, sharp flavor with a firm body.

You can be sure of Whole Foods’ high-quality cheddar as their products meet specific ingredient sourcing and quality standards.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 9g fat, 5g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, <1g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 7g protein
  • Ingredients: Cultured Pasteurized Milk; Salt; Microbial Enzymes; Annatto (For Color)
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 8 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Classic orange color
  • On the soft side
  • No crumble when broken
  • Nutty, creamy smell
  • Melts nicely in mouth
  • Sweet taste at first
  • Taste transitions to bitter and sour at end
  • Not bad overall taste wise

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes, it’s not bad at all, but it is also not out of this world good.


Happy Belly Sharp Cheddar

Happy Belly is an Amazon company. Overall the Sharp Cheddar is a suitable cheese and has a decent balance of savory and bold flavor.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 9g fat, 5g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 6g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (Color)
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 8 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Orange color
  • Very small cracks
  • Soft with a little pushback to touch
  • Breaks without crumbling much
  • Smells sour and nutty with a undertone of sweetness
  • Taste is savory, salty to start
  • Ends with a lingering bitterness and some sweetness
  • Melts in mouth without too much chew required

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? Yes. It’s not bad, in fact it’s kind of good. But it’s not great compared to these other fine cheese brands in this post.


Happy Belly Medium Cheddar

Happy Belly is an Amazon company. This medium cheddar is a suitable and a good value cheese.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 9g fat, 5g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 6g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (Color)
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 8 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Orange
  • Soft to touch
  • Smells milky, sour and nutty
  • Doesn’t melt well in mouth, has some chewy
  • Waxy mouth feel
  • Taste is less than mild, not a lot going on taste-wise

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? No. It’s not a bad cheese. But it lacks flavor even for a medium cheese compared to other cheddars out there.


Organic Valley Organic Raw Sharp Cheddar

This Organic Valley grass fed cheese is aged for a minimum of eight months to develop complex flavors and a sharp, buttery and earthy taste. It’s made with vegetarian enzymes for vegetarians can enjoy it. It wasn’t my favorite at all but it could have been a bad batch.

  • Nutritional Information Per 28g Serving: 110 calories, 9g fat, 6g saturated fat, 170mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 7g protein
  • Ingredients: Organic Grass-Fed cultured unpasteurized milk, sea salt, enzyme
  • Note: Actual product reviewed was the 8 oz block version

Raw Cheese Tasting Notes

  • Yellowish color
  • Somewhat moist outside at room temperature
  • Mild to low cracks in cheese
  • Very dense and hard
  • No crumble which was surprising
  • Smells earthy and a little floral
  • Takes some time to melt in mouth
  • Taste starts as sour, buttery and nutty
  • Ends with a strong bitter taste of grass
  • A very strong grass/farm taste throughout which was unpleasant

Cheese Photos

Photos are of the raw cheese in various chunk sizes. Then under the broiler for 1 minute as a block and as shredded cheese, then rested for 30-60 seconds. Finally, a photo of the cheese melted fully with macaroni.

Would order again? No. The strong grass and earthy taste was a bit too much. I wonder if this one was a bad batch as Organic Valley is usually a great brand and the mild cheddar version tested was quite pleasant.


About This Taste Test

I have been an avid reader of Consumer Reports, Cook’s Illustrated / America’s Test Kitchen and the newer Wirecutter when it comes to evaluating products to purchase. One thing that is that is clear among these publications is that they all optimize and taste foods or devices based on their own preferences. This is why they are great because it helps filter out the less than good products.

However, when looking for a cheese taste test one day, I wanted to see the “taste test data” about a certain cheese. I wanted to see what it looked like and how it looked when melted but I could not find the visual information. I decided to do this post to show all the extra taste test information in addition to my filtered suggestions. My personal tastes skew towards sharper and longer aged cheddar cheese after ranking all these cheeses. The extra information included in this post will hopefully help those who are looking for something more specific to their tastes that do not align with my own.

Lessons Learned

This was my first thorough product test so it was not perfect by any means. I just kind of made the leap with a mild plan.

One thing I wanted to include was “stretch” notes on each cheese. Why? Because melt, raw flavor, browning and stretch are all elements of a great cheese. I regret to say that it didn’t make it in this taste test, perhaps next time. The quesadilla stretching was taking multiple attempts to get a proper cheese stretch, among other variables like not burning them. And frankly I used too small of a tortilla in an effort to save money which didn’t really get a dramatic cheese stretch, if at all.

Another thing I wanted to better test was the browning aspect which the broiler photos were supposed to portray. Perhaps I should have put them in longer than 1 minute, or have a photo for 1 minute and a photo of 2 minutes or longer to show the progress.

Lastly, I would have broken each cheese into it’s own tasting category like Extra Sharp, Sharp, Mild, Aged/Reserve and so on.

Here are the best two “failed” quesadilla tests below so you can enjoy and bask in my cheesy failure to achieve a good stretch photo. Failure never tasted so good.

All jokes aside, I hope you found a cheddar cheese that melts your heart from my thorough taste test. Thanks for reading it and please share with a friend or family member if you enjoyed it!

Common Cheddar Cheese Questions

What gives cheddar cheese the yellow / orange color?

The majority of cheddar cheeses get their color from annatto, a condiment and food coloring made from an achiote tree’s seeds. Paprika can also be used as a coloring, but neither of these colorings changes the texture or the flavor of the cheese; some have more or less color added to them.

How does age affect cheddar cheese?

Cheddar is typically firmer than other cheese types; however, the taste and texture depend on the aging time and process.

Aging, also called pairing, is an essential part of the process of making cheese. It is during this time that the cheese develops its texture, aroma, and full flavor. Cheddar can be left to age for 3–24 months, depending on the variety. 

The longer a cheese ages, the more the flavor intensifies. While young cheddar is mild and smooth, aged cheddar has a sharper taste and a crumblier texture.

How do you choose the best cheddar cheese?

The majority of the grocery store or supermarket cheddars have somewhat comparable nutritional facts and ingredient lists, which could make it difficult for you to choose.

The following factors are essential for selecting the best cheddar cheese:

Block vs. Shredded/Sliced – Grated or sliced cheese is more expensive than a block of cheese of the same kind. Additional labor and packaging costs are added to the price of the cheese. To get more cheddar cheese for your money, opt for a block of cheese instead. In this test, you can see we only tested blocks.

The Length of the Ingredient List – Cheddar cheese only needs to contain salt, enzymes, cultures, and milk. This is a good indication that it is a high-quality cheese. Many cheddars also include annatto for coloring, which is non-problematic for consumption.

Other factors include the raw cheese taste, meltability, browning and how well the cheese can stretch.

Other Cheddar To Consider That We Couldn’t Test

Parmela Creamery Vegan Cheddar Slices

Parmela Creamery’s is a new comer and it makes plant-based cheese which may not be your cup of tea. However, the Parmela culturing and aging process does make something comparable to real cheddar. It really comes out as some of the creamiest and richest plant-based cheese. I personally buy this cheese for vegan snacking bites, cold sandwiches and a good melt when needed. It melts very well for a plant-based cheese. It didn’t make it into the taste test but it is a worthy cheese to try for snacking and melting.

It has no cholesterol which is a bonus if you are on a diet and need some cheese in your life. It is made from whole cashew milk.

Nutritional Information Per 20g Serving: 60 calories, 5g fat, 4g saturated fat, 4g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g protein

Product Features

  • Vegan
  • Tastes like real cheddar

M&S Cornish Cove Mature Cheddar

Source: https://www.ocado.com/products/m-s-cornish-cove-mature-cheddar-cheese-532019011

M&S Food has been a favorite amongst the nation since 1884, and their products are yet to disappoint. The same goes for their rich, mature Cornish Cove Cheddar, made exclusively for M&S Food in Cornwall, at the Davidstow Creamery. 

This Cheese has a strength of 5 with a creamy yet firm texture and a flavor that pairs exceptionally well with white wine, fruit, crackers, and as an addition to the cheese sauce for fondue.

Nutritional Information Per 30g Serving: 125 calories, 10.5g fat, 6.5g saturated fat, less than 0.1g carbs, 0g fiber, 7.6g protein

Product Features

  • Vegetarian
  • Strength 5

Cathedral City Mature Cheddar

Cathedral City’s Mature Cheddar features a luxuriously creamy texture with a strong flavor, perfect for tapas platters, wine pairing, toast, mac and cheese, cheesy lasagna, and jacket potatoes. 

It may not be as rich as other cheeses in its category. It is still a delicious, smooth, mellow, highly recommended, extremely versatile cheese. It is available in a bumper-sized pack that is perfect for large families. 

The cheese is made using milk from their dedicated West Country farms in the award-winning Cornish Creamery, and with more than fifty years of perfecting their cheeses, you can be sure that Cathedral City Mature Cheddar will be well worth a try. 

  • Nutritional Information Per 100g: 416 calories, 34.9g fat, 21.7g saturated fat, 0.1g carbs, 0.1g sugar, 25.4g protein
  • Ingredients: Whole Milk, Salt, Coagulant, Starter Culture.

Product Features

  • Award-winning cheddar
  • High in protein
  • Vegetarian
  • 100% British milk

No 1 Mature Wookey Hole Cheddar

This delicious, traditional farmhouse style Somerset cheddar is sharp, fruity, and sweet and does not leave a lingering taste on your palate. As with sparkling wines from Champagne, France, this product also possesses the “Protected Designation of Origin” status. 

It is made from local milk in Dorset and moved to the humid and damp Cheddar Gorge caves to mature. The dampness is essential to keep the cheese from drying out while it ages. Enjoy this tasty, nutty, rich cheddar with ale and fruity chutney.

  • Nutritional Information Per 30g Serving: 125 calories, 10.5g fat, 6.5g saturated fat, 0g carbs, 0g sugar, 0g fiber, 7.6g protein
  • Ingredients: Cheddar Cheese (Pasteurized Cow’s Milk).

Godminster Mature Organic Cheddar

Godminster’s Mature Organic Cheddar is slightly softer than some of the cheddar cheese on this list. It is rich, smooth, and creamy, with a mild sweetness, balanced beautifully with its sharpness. As it is an organic product, it is suitable for vegetarians. 

This excellent cheddar, made in the heart of the Somerset countryside, is suitable for freezing so that you can enjoy it for longer.

  • Nutritional Information Per 100g: 416 calories, 34.9g fat, 21.7g saturated fat, 0g carbs, 0g sugar, 25.4g protein
  • Ingredients: Pasteurised Cow’s Milk, Salt, Starter Culture (Milk), Microbial Rennet.

Product Features

  • 100% Organic
  • Vegetarian

Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Welsh Slate

This lovely Welsh cheddar is left to age for several months before it becomes available to consumers. The cheese is moved from the Creamery at South Caernarfon (near Pwlhelli) to the Slate Cavern in Snowdonia, where it will be left to mature. The long aging process gives the cheddar a firm body with a creamy texture and a rich, mature flavor.

  • Nutritional Information Per 30g Serving: 122 calories, 9.9g fat, 6g saturated fat, 0.9g carbs, <0.5g sugar, <0.5g fiber, 7.1g protein
  • Ingredients: Cheddar Cheese (Cows’ Milk) 

Product Features

  • Cheese strength 5 
  • Vegetarian

Sainsbury’s Welch Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar

This Welsh Cheddar, which was produced in partnership with Llechwedd Slate Cavern, possesses a real depth of flavor with a firm but creamy texture and rich, savory flinty notes. By following a bespoke recipe, Slate Cavern cheddar cheese is made and aged for no less than 11 months. 

From there, the cheese is moved to Llechwedd Slate Cavern’s Creameries in Blaenau Ffestiniog. There the cheddar is stored in original mining caverns that have been transformed into cheese caves, 500ft underground to age further. The Welsh history of this product gives true provenance to Cavern Cheddar.

  • Nutritional Information Per 100g: 417 calories, 34.9g fat, 21.7g saturated fat, 0g carbs, 0.1g sugar, 0g fiber, 25.4g protein
  • Ingredients: Cheddar Cheese (Cows’ Milk) 

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