Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by Aaron
If you are looking for the best cheese to substitute cheddar, you’re in the right place.
We are gonna look at a few Italian cheeses similar to cheddar which is also available in your local deli or grocery.
First on the list, we have the Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan cheese. Parmesan is a type of Italian cow milk cheese that is similar to cheddar. It has a nutty, intense flavor and it’s one of the most popular types of grated cheese. Try to get the real parm for a better and flavorful boost. I have an article comparing cheddar vs parmesan where you can find more detail.
However, parmesan didn’t melt too well and here is why. So, if you’re looking for an Italian cheese that is similar to cheddar and will also melt nicely on your food, try asiago.
The other (readily available) Italian cheeses to replace cheddar in the United States are asiago, Grana Padano, and romano cheese. Go for the older version. These few alternatives may not taste as sharp, but they feature a grana-style texture, nutty and savory note. The other one you may want to try is Bra Duro cheese, this one is not easy to get but can be a great replacement.
Alternatively, you can try other cheeses like Bra Tenero Cheese (a sister of Bra Duro cheese, but younger), or cantal cheese (France) which is known as the cousin of cheddar.
Best cheese to substitute cheddar
Let’s cut to the chase, Colby is by far the most similar cheese to cheddar on this list. In fact, they are produced very similarly but Colby is mellower and milder.
Colby is a type of cheese that has a mild, buttery flavor and slightly crumbly texture. It is named after the city of Colby, Wisconsin. Similar to cheddar, Colby is off-white or orange color. People can’t usually taste much difference between Colby and mild cheddar. I have prepared a detailed article comparing Colby vs Cheddar here. The other one to consider is Colby-Jack.
Gouda is a popular cheese which can be a good alternative to cheddar, but it has more caramel sweetness and also better at melting. Gouda is a Dutch cheese. It is paraffin waxed, and tastes somewhat like young cheddar with a milder, creamy, and smoother texture.
You can use it in dishes like macaroni and cheese, cauliflower cheese, or grilled cheese sandwiches. You can consider adding sour cream to your recipe to add a much-needed tanginess. You can read more about Cheddar vs Gouda comparison here.
A short note with gold…
Italian cheeses tend to be milder and more complex in flavor, so you will likely not find the sharp punch as in cheddar. While Swiss-style cheese like Gruyere or gouda is geared towards the buttery and caramelly side of the spectrum — not exactly like cheddar as well.
The easier way is actually using cheeses made in the United States, such as Monterey Jack, Colby, brick, and other Wisconsin-made cheese. It’s because they likely use the local milk, industry standard, and production method, whereby better adapting the American palates and cooking style.