To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield, shredded cheese gets no respect. It’s tossed haphazardly onto pizza bagels, sits half-melted inside a crumbling Ortega taco shell, or globs up inside an omelette. But not all shredded Cheddar cheeses are equal. Some are just OK, others make for a great snack right out of the bag, and others can be a great addition to recipes ranging from scones to meatloaf. We put 13 different Cheddars, both sharp and mild, to the test, and have agreed upon a clear winner.
Shredded Cheddar, and shredded cheese in general, can sometimes feel like the outcast of the dairy aisle. It doesn’t have the same cult following or childhood devotion as, say, Kraft Singles do, and isn’t quite as versatile as Velveeta. But if you choose the right brand, shredded Cheddar can make or break a great dish. It can be the secret to great pizza, gratins and casseroles, macaroni and cheese, and don’t forget about Tex-Mex food!
In order to conduct our taste test, we purchased 13 different varieties of Cheddar: big national brands like Sargento and Kraft as well as store brands from supermarkets like Whole Foods and even smaller options like Walgreens' "Nice!" brand. We set up a blind taste test, and each of our tasters tried each cheese at room temperature, making note of its texture (creamy? Mealy?), smell, whether it tasted like real, high-quality Cheddar, if you could tell whether high-quality milk was used, and overall enjoyment. We also snuck a vegan cheese in there to see how it stacked up.
At the end of the day, the results were surprising. One of America’s most respected cheese brands tasted more like American cheese than Cheddar, a beloved supermarket brand got a middling score, and the one that came out on top is more renowned for its processed offerings. But there were clear winners and losers, and you can read all about them here.