American Cheese vs Cheddar

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Aaron

American cheese and cheddar are two different cheeses. Both serve great grilled cheese burger and sandwich.

Cheddar is considered a raw-milk cheese, and American ‘cheese’ is technically processed cheese made from other cheeses.

American CheeseCheddar
OriginUnited States of AmericaCheddar, Somerset, England
TextureSoft, smooth, creamySemi-hard, crumbly
TasteMild, creamy and saltyMild-sharp and buttery
Aging Time60 days minimum (raw cheese)Usually 2-18 months
Calories105 per slice (1 oz)114 per 1 oz

Cheddar is more flavorful and sharper than American cheese. The good cheddar sometimes will give you a little earthy and nutty taste with some earthy notes.

Is Cheddar more popular than American Cheese?

The graph below shows the popularity between American cheese and cheddar in the US since 2004.

Data Reference: Google Trend

Cheddar has gained more popularity and love from the public.

One reason people choose natural cheese over processed one could be the health concerns of American cheese with the artificial ingredients used. Also, some do not consider American cheese a real cheese — at least not legally, more. It required at least 51% real cheeses (usually cheddar or Colby) mixed with non-cheese ingredients to create the perfect melting status.

For example, the Kraft White American cheese is made from cheddar, protein concentrates, emulsifiers, mold inhibitors, preservatives, and more. Read the full ingredient list via USDA.

Which one is more expensive? and why.

You can get a pack of American cheese slices at around the same price as cheddar slices for about $5 or less in the stores. Different brands can go at different prices, usually ranging from $4 to $10 per pound.

Cheddar cheese normally has a wider range of prices and types. Some may cost you $20 per pound or higher. Visit your local deli for more.

Cheddar is typically more expensive than American Cheese because the cheese is made and aged in facilities for months or years. If you would like your American to go a little more sharp, there is such a thing called Sharp American by Land O’ Lakes.

Is cheddar healthier?

American cheese and cheddar are both having good nutritional value. But cheddar is denser and contains more amino acids and vitamins. American cheese is higher in minerals, including 2x sodium — thus salty! So it may not be a good option for people with high blood pressure.

American cheese also has a higher trans fat and lactose content. It has been suggested that 12.5% of the approved additives including preservatives and emulsifiers may pose an adverse reaction to some people in long term.

Cheddar is likely a healthier option. If allowed, go for the better cheddar brands like Cabot, Tillamook, and Kellygold. Go for cheese blocks or wedges instead of the pre-grated or pre-shredded cheddar as it often comes with starch, cellulose, preservative, and anti-mold agents.

A note before you go… so, cheddar is better?

In a nutshell, cheddar is flavorful, natural and healthier. But it ultimately depends on what you’re looking for in your cheese and the purpose. If you’re looking for a strong/better flavor with texture, go for cheddar. If you just want a melty less expensive cheese that oozes nicely on your food with a promising flavor, American cheese could be the way to go.


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