Food and Drink

7 Differences Between Cheddar Cheese in the UK & the US

grated cheddar cheese

Cheddar cheese is one of the most popular cheeses in the world, but there are some key differences between British cheddar and American cheddar. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between the two cheeses, so you can decide which one is right for you.

What is American Cheddar Cheese?

American cheddar cheese is a yellow to orange cheese that is made from cow’s milk. It has a mild, creamy flavour and a smooth, slightly elastic texture. American cheddar cheese is typically aged for 3 to 6 months, but it can be aged for up to 2 years for a stronger flavour.

What is British Cheddar Cheese?

British cheddar cheese is a pale yellow cheese that is made from cow’s milk. It has a sharp, tangy flavour and a crumbly texture. British cheddar cheese is typically aged for 3 to 12 months, but it can be aged for up to 18 months for a stronger flavour.

What are the Differences Between British and American Cheddar Cheese?

Here are seven differences we found between British cheddar and American cheddar for all you cheese fanatics out there.

1. British cheddar tends to be paler in colour

American cheddar cheese is typically yellow to orange in colour. While British cheddar cheese is typically pale yellow in colour, but does get progressively lighter if aged for longer. This is because American cheddar cheese is often coloured with annatto, a natural food colouring that is derived from the achiote tree. 

British cheddar cheese is not typically coloured, but it can sometimes have a slightly yellow hue due to the natural carotenoids in the milk. The colour of cheddar in the UK is also dependent on its strength. For example, Mild will have a darker orange colour, while Extra Mature will be much lighter.

2. American cheddar has a milder, creamier flavour

American cheddar cheese has a mild, creamy flavour and a smooth, slightly elastic texture. British cheddar cheese can have a mild to sharp, tangy flavour and a crumbly texture. 

The difference in taste and texture is due to the different ageing processes used for the two kinds of cheese. American cheddar cheese is typically aged for a shorter period of time, while British cheddar cheese is typically aged for a longer period of time.

The longer the cheese is aged, the sharper the flavour will be. For example, in the UK a Mild cheese would be less sharp than an Extra Mature cheese.

3. British cheddar is aged for longer

British cheddar cheese is typically aged for longer than American cheddar cheese. This gives it a sharper, tangier flavour and a more crumbly texture. Some popular types of British cheddar include:

  • Mild cheddar: This is the youngest type of cheddar cheese, and it has a mild, creamy flavour and a smooth texture.
  • Mature cheddar: This is the most common type of cheddar cheese in the UK. It has a sharp, tangy flavour and a crumbly texture.
  • Vintage cheddar: This is a cheddar cheese that has been aged for at least 18 months. It has a very sharp, intense flavour and a very crumbly texture.
  • Extra mature cheddar: This is a cheddar cheese that has been aged for at least 2 years. It has the strongest flavour and the most crumbly texture of all cheddar cheeses.

American cheddar cheese is typically aged for a shorter period of time than British cheddar cheese. This gives it a milder flavour and a smoother texture. 

4. Both cheeses contain annatto for its colour

American cheddar cheese is typically made with pasteurized milk, cream, salt, starter cultures, and annatto food colouring. 

British cheddar cheese is typically made with pasteurized or unpasteurized milk, salt, starter cultures, and sometimes rennet.

5. British cheddar is made with more love and care

American cheddar cheese is typically mass-produced in factories. The milk is pasteurized and then heated to separate the curds from the whey. The curds are then pressed into blocks and aged. As part of this, the curds are mixed with emulsifiers, salts and flavourings.

British cheddar has a more traditional process. The milk is pasteurized or unpasteurized and then heated to separate the curds from the whey. The curds are then pressed into blocks and aged for a longer period of time than American cheddar cheese. 

British cheddar cheese is periodically flipped, rubbed or stored under specific conditions during its ageing process. This helps to develop its unique flavours and colours.

6. American cheddar is often melted, whereas British cheddar is more of an accessory

American cheddar cheese is often used in melted cheese dishes, such as mac and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches. British cheddar cheese is often used in salads, sandwiches, and on charcuterie boards.

This is because of the melting properties of British and American cheddar. Cheddar in the US has a high melting point and melts smoothly and evenly. While cheddar in the UK can be melted, it requires a higher temperature and doesn’t separate as evenly.

7. Cheddar cheese originated in Somerset, England

Cheddar cheese is a hard, cow’s milk cheese that originated in the village of Cheddar in Somerset, England. Cheddar cheese quickly became popular throughout England, and it was soon being exported to other parts of Europe. By the 17th century, cheddar cheese was being produced in North America and Australia.

In the 19th century, the production of cheddar cheese became more industrialised. Larger factories were built to produce cheddar cheese on a larger scale. This led to a decline in the quality of some cheddar cheese, but it also made it more affordable and accessible to people all over the world – including America.

Final Thoughts from UK vs. USA

If you are looking for a mild, creamy cheddar cheese, then American cheddar cheese is a good choice. If you are looking for sharp, tangy cheddar cheese, then aged British cheddar cheese is a good choice.

If you liked this article, why not check out or article about the UK equivalent of half and half cream next?

Cheddar Cheese (UK vs. US) FAQ:

Is American cheddar the same as British cheddar?

No, American cheddar and British cheddar are two different cheeses. American cheddar cheese is typically mild in flavour and has a smooth, slightly elastic texture. British cheddar cheese is typically sharp in flavour and has a crumbly texture.

Is cheddar British or American?

Cheddar cheese originates in the village of Cheddar in Somerset, England. However, cheddar cheese is now produced all over the world, including in the United States.

Why is American cheddar so orange?

American cheddar cheese is often coloured with annatto, a natural food colouring that is derived from the achiote tree. Annatto is used to give American cheddar cheese a more uniform colour.

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