Cheddar or Gruyère — The Differences

Last Updated on December 6, 2022 by Aaron

As we compared Cheddar vs Swiss cheese (Emmental) previously, now we will look at cheddar and another popular Swiss cheese gruyère.

Unlike Emmental cheese, gruyère tastes nutty, rich creamy, and has smaller holes. It’s also a much better melter than cheddar. Therefore, great for French onion soup, sandwiches, and fondue. 

In the US, cheddar is basically an all-rounded, sharp-tasting, and more affordable option. 

So, what are the differences?

Cheddar is a British cheese, while gruyère is Swiss. They’re both usually made with cow milk, some other varieties of gruyère use goat and sheep milk as well.

Cheddar has a semi-hard and crumbly texture, while gruyère is semi-firm and has a smoother texture. But that can be affected by how long the cheese has aged. Flavor-wise, cheddar has a noticeable sharp flavor, while gruyère is a little mellower and earthier.

The average cheddar is aged from 2-18 months or more, while gruyère is around 5-12 months. Aging time is usually linked to the purpose of the cheese — i.e. older for a deeper taste, while younger for better melting.

The production of cheddar and gruyère are different. After the milk is curdled, cheddar has an additional step called ‘cheddaring’ to drain more whey to acidify the curds. This is done by cutting up the curds into pieces, pressing them together into slabs, and then stacking them on top of one another. This process will be repeated a few times. Making gruyère cheese does not involve this step. and instead, it goes through a long press for at least 16 hours, which is similar to asiago and Emmental cheese.

Is Cheddar Healthier than Gruyère?

Dairy products like cheese are considered healthy food. Cheddar and gruyère are both providing a good amount of protein, vitamins and calcium. Also, both are very low in carbohydrates. But you’ll need to be aware of the fat, sodium, and cholesterol intake.

Overall, by comparing a few brands from the USDA database, cheddar and gruyère do have not many differences in major nutrient value. Meaning there are no great benefits over the other, as it’s likely depending on the milk source. Speaking of that, sheep or goat milk gruyère is denser in nutrients and easier for our body to digest and absorb, more.

Which one is more expensive?

When it comes to price, cheddar cheese is less expensive than gruyère in the United States. The AOP Gruyère can easily cost you $20-30 or more per pound. That said, you can still find some US-made gruyère for only half the price, such as the gruyère from Wisconsin.

While for cheddar, it has a high domestic supply in the US with good popularity — also be made in larger quantities, which keeps the cost down. You can typically buy per pound of cheddar for less than $10, the vintage will cost more.

Can you substitute Gruyère for Cheddar?

Better not, gruyère is not an ideal substitute for cheddar or vice versa. To swap out gruyère, try using Emmental, fontina, comté, Raclette, and Jarlsberg. These cheeses work very well. For cheddar, you can try Colby, Brick or parmesan cheese.

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