The debate of American cheese vs cheddar has been going on for a long time.
Cheddar is typically more expensive than American Cheese because the cheese is made of cow milk and aged for a long time, whereas American Cheese is a processed cheese made from cheeses mixed with non-cheese ingredients such as the emulsifier.
American cheese is not aged during manufacturing, but the raw cheese used must be aged. The idea is to create the perfect meltiness on any food you call.
Therefore, some people argue that American cheese is not really cheese because it doesn’t have a strong flavor or bite to it. However, others appreciate the smooth and creamy texture of American Cheese.
What are the Differences?
Cheddar cheese is typically orange or white in color, likewise, American Cheese can be white, yellow, or orange. It depends on the coloring agents used in the manufacturing, read FAQs and making process.
Also, American cheese is heavily pasteurized, while cheddar may be pasteurized or not. But most of the commercial cheddar in the United States is made from pasteurized milk. Some other imported cheddar, such as the Somerset or Irish cheddar, might be unpasteurized.
The taste of cheddar varies depending on how they were made, milk source, natural bacteria involved, and aging duration.
American cheese has a more consistent flavor because the non-cheese ingredients take up to 49% in total.
For example, Kraft White American cheese is made of cheddar cheese, protein concentrates, emulsifiers, mold inhibitors, preservatives, and more. Read the full ingredient list via USDA.
Therefore, it may have a similar taste to cheddar cheese.
Depending on the age, cheddar cheese is typically more intense, and flavorful than American Cheese. However, American Cheese is milder with a creamy and salty flavor so it will be more palatable to most people.
Texture-wise, cheddar is crumblier and harder than American Cheese. Age also affects the texture of cheddar, with a drier texture as it gets older. American Cheese is more rubbery and plastic-like in texture.
How to Serve?
Cheddar cheese can be used in savory dishes such as mac and cheese, grilled cheese, quesadillas, and pizza. American Cheese is also used in many recipes, but it’s often melted on a burger or sandwich.
Which is Healthier?
American and cheddar cheese are having similar fat and protein content. However, American cheese has a higher lactose content. For minerals, both contain a similar amount except the sodium in American is much higher, which is why it’s saltier.
Nutrition-wise, there aren’t many differences.
However, the use of preservatives, additives, and emulsifiers may have a negative effect on our health over time.
Therefore, go for the better cheddar brands like Cabot, Tillamook, and Kellygold. Go for cheese block, don’t buy the pre-grated or pre-shredded cheddar as it often comes with starch, cellulose, preservative, and anti-mold agents.
Related: What Makes Cheddar Taste Good?
Which is More Expensive?
The imported or properly aged Cheddar cheese is typically more expensive than American Cheese. But it depends on the brands and varieties.
You can get a bag of 16oz Great Value shredded cheddar for lesser than $4. Or an 8oz Tillamook block for around $5.
So, which one is better?
Health-wise, cheddar is the recommendation. It ultimately depends on what you’re looking for in a cheese. If you’re looking for a strong flavor and a hard texture of real cheese, go for cheddar cheese. If you want a melty cheese that oozes nicely on your food and has a mild flavor, American Cheese is the way to go.
Related: Is Cream Cheese a Real Cheese?