13 Cabot Creamery Cheeses, Ranked

Cabot Creamery has been a Vermont mainstay since 1919. It all began with 94 family farms that recognized that there is power in numbers and they formed a cooperative. Cut to the present day, the company employs over 1,000 individuals across New England, and the collective goal is to deliver the best dairy products from happy and healthy cows.

In addition to having excellent cheeses, Cabot Creamery is a Certified B Corp, which is a glowing evaluation of a company's overall impact on the community and the environment. It also developed a smart barn technology that makes life easier for both the dairy farmer and the cattle (via Fox Weather). Through a smartphone, one can adjust the temperature in the barn to ensure that the cows are warm and comfortable during a brutally cold winter. You can purchase Cabot products at grocery stores nationwide, but you'll find the most when you head straight to one of the sources. When visiting a store in Vermont, we were overwhelmed by the options — yogurts, dips, and spreads were aplenty.

But Cabot is primarily known for its cheese — especially its cheddar — and it had quite the selection. While the habanero, horseradish, and Buffalo flavors were tempting, we were interested in tasting the unflavored cheeses. And we could have gone with slices or bags of shredded, but we stuck with bars for our rankings to keep things consistent. We also gave a few of the other cheeses a try to see if they hold a candle to the cheddar. Here's a ranking of our favorites.

13. Muenster

Cabot's take on Muenster cheese is in appearance, texture, and flavor very much like a stick of butter. We should have known that going into tasting it since it's pretty clear from the package label that this is the intended goal with this particular cheese. Muenster is a style of cheese that originated in France and is believed to have been first made around the seventh century. When a recipe has been around that long, it must be good, right?

Unfortunately, Muenster is our least favorite cheese from Cabot. The texture is very creamy, which ordinarily we would consider a plus, but the result here is having a lot of cheese sticking to our teeth that tasted more buttery than cheesy. A bit of tang is detectable that reminds us a bit of labneh, the Middle Eastern yogurt, and that gives it some perkiness. But, unless Muenster is one of your favorite cheeses, we would recommend looking at other options from Cabot.

12. Colby

Of all the cheeses from Cabot, its Colby cheese tastes by far the most artificial and is a bit of a disappointment. It reminds us too much of Velveeta. But then again, if you like Velveeta, you might want to give it a shot topped over broccoli. This could also be a good option if you want to top your burger with some of the flavors you would get from American cheese, but want actual cheese and not Pasteurized Process Cheese Food. Cabot's Colby has a bit more sharpness and intensity to its flavor, though, than your typical Kraft single.

We've also made macaroni and cheese and sneakily slipped in some pumpkin for picky eaters who turn their noses up at fibrous vegetables, and it could be a smart idea to use the bright yellowy orange hue of this Colby cheese to blend in with some of the healthier elements of that dinner meal.

11. Gouda

Fun fact: You've been saying it wrong. Gouda is actually pronounced more like "HOW-da" in the Netherlands, this cheese style's country of origin. But, it's completely acceptable to pronounce it phonetically in English in the United States. Most people will look at you quizzically if you try speaking Dutch to them.

For the record, the semi-soft gouda from Cabot is neither aged nor smoked, though you can find it treated in those ways to amp up the flavor. We find this offering from Cabot to be a mild cheese overall, and think it would make a great snack bite for children who aren't quite ready for the sharpness that can come with aged cheddar. The texture is very soft and chewy. It starts off sweet with a slight fruitiness, the flavor builds a little bit, and then finishes off with some gentle tangy notes.

Overall, this gouda from Cabot is easygoing and inoffensive. It just lacks some of the complexities that we found in some of the other cheeses, which is why it's hovering toward the bottom of our list.

10. Adirondack New York cheddar cheese

Cabot's Adirondack cheddar cheese is based on a recipe dating back to the New York-based founders of the cooperative back in 1919. One could assume that it wouldn't taste quite like the cheddar cheese we eat today, and it is certainly different.

It's worth heeding the creamery's advice to allow the cheese to warm to tasting temperature before taking a bite. And it will bite back. The taste is so sharp it verges on being acrid, and if there are other flavor notes to pick up, they are overwhelmed by this quality. It's certainly either an acquired taste, or a cheddar to serve to the cheese eater who claims to have tried them all. We could see it having a place on a fully loaded cheese plate with meats, fruits, olives, jams, and crackers so that people have other options if this isn't quite their speed.

9. Legacy Collection Alpine cheddar cheese

One could definitely pick up on mild, unassertive Parmesan flavors with Cabot's Legacy Collection Alpine cheddar cheese. In terms of slicing it and then the mouthfeel, it is quite soft and comes across clearly as a Swiss cheddar. So, in good news, it lives up to its name.

The obvious use for this cheddar would be in an après-ski fondue alongside some hot cider or mulled wine. For any time of year, we think it could work in a grilled cheese, especially for those who don't like particularly sharp cheddar and also because it seems like it would have a low melting point, guaranteeing a gooey sandwich. It could also be great as a calming addition along with a blend of sharper cheeses within a macaroni and cheese, and it's worth noting that Cabot opted to include its Legacy Alpine cheddar in its bags of shredded cheese for mac and cheese alongside its sharp cheddar.

But if you're looking for something from Cabot to serve on a cheese board, we wouldn't put this at the top of our list. It could potentially be a good companion to a couple of other more aggressively flavored cheeses, or to represent semi-soft against a hard cheese and a soft cheese. But on its own, it wouldn't be our pick.

8. 2 Year cheddar cheese

Cabot's 2-Year Cheddar is certainly a cut above the other cheddar cheeses — whether they've been aged or not — that you may find at the grocer. But, we're ranking it in the middle of the pack because we find it to be mildly tangy, and without as much sharp bite as some of the others from the Cabot cheddar line. Some nubs we sampled also contained a noticeable shock of salt and needed just a bit more sweetness for balance. Perhaps consider pairing this with jams and dried fruit.

All that said, we would not outright discourage a purchase of this vintage, but if within the display there are Cabot cheddar options that have been aged longer or that highlight unique recipes, we would steer you toward those for a more intriguing cheese plate. And, considering that for a mere 10 cents more, you can purchase Cabot's 3-Year Cheddar — which we found to be superior — for the same amount of eight ounces, there is yet another reason to relegate the 2-Year Cheddar away from the top of our list.

7. Lamberton Vermont cheddar cheese

In a nod to its 1919 origin story, Cabot has a Founders' Collection that endeavors to recreate the original cheddar recipes of the farmers who began the collaboration all those years ago. Its Lamberton cheddar cheese comes courtesy of the members who hailed from the Green Mountain State of Vermont, and it's modeled after the British approach to this style of cheese that dates back to the 12th century. If you're an American who hasn't tried traditional British cheddar, there is quite a distinction between the neon orange blocks you've been buying over your lifetime and the centuries-old recipes from the United Kingdom that provided the inspiration. Cabot's Lamberton could be the first step toward your appreciation of the Old World approach.

A slice of Cabot's Lamberton holds firm. It doesn't completely flake or crumble apart, although that can be a trait with British cheddar. Our chief compliment when it comes to Cabot's Lamberton recipe for cheddar is that it really nails the balance of flavors. It has the perfect blend of sweet and sour notes with a sharp hit of briny saltiness. It takes you along for a smooth, fun ride and doesn't veer into any unwelcome turns, which is why it's where it is in our rankings.

6. 3 Year cheddar cheese

What a difference a year makes. A distinct and remarkable improvement is evident between Cabot's 2-Year Cheddar Cheese and its 3-Year Cheddar Cheese, which comes at a price of $5.29 for an eight-ounce bar. It creeps toward the top of our list for a few reasons.

Going off of visuals alone, the difference between 24 months and 36 months is noticeable. There's a bit of a waxier, thicker sheen to the exterior, telling you immediately that this cheese has gone through the aging process. Despite that, it's quite soft to cut not unlike the younger cheddar cheeses from Cabot. There is just a bit of crumble, but not enough to leave more crumble on the cutting board than an actual slice.

In terms of flavor, it gives off slightly smoky qualities during the chew with a tiny hint of bitterness in the finish. The texture is very creamy and the cheese gets into the crevices of your mouth and lingers — be sure to have a cracker or some fresh fruit to cleanse the palate if you're sampling more than one cheese in this sitting. And best of all, this cheddar has delightful little bursts of salt crystals — a quality we highly desire if we're dropping a few coins on cheddar cheese.

5. White Oak cheddar cheese

Cabot offers more than one English style cheddar cheese, but in that particular category, we have to award the top prize to its Legacy Collection White Oak. As soon as you open this six-ounce package that's available for $3.69, you're met by the aromas. It smells pungently funky, in a very good way — and you immediately know you're in for a special cheese. It delivers on that promise and we have it high on our list from our sampling.

As opposed to the bright golden hues of American cheddar, this British-style cheddar is a subtle milky white. It's also quite dry and crumbly compared to its soft, pliable United States descendants. When you apply the knife to take your sampling of Cabot's White Oak, be prepared to not have so much as a slice or a wedge, but an indeterminately sized hunk of this crisp, sturdy cheese. We think it would pair especially well with a cloyingly sweet companion such as a fig compote or a dollop of raw honey.

4. Vintage Choice Classic Vermont extra sharp cheddar cheese

At the Cabot Creamery outpost in Waitsfield, Vermont, you can find its Vintage Choice Classic Vermont extra sharp cheddar cheese in an eight-ounce bar. But at the time of publication, the only option for purchase online for this two year aged cheddar is a hefty one-pound brick at a cost of $8.79. But, we think that's a pretty great deal if you want top notch cheddar and have a lot of avid cheese fans to feed.

Cabot Creamery denotes this as being "extra sharp" and it's not exaggerating. Among all of the cheddar from Cabot, this had the strongest teeth in its bite. It also has visual appeal for a cheese board as it's encased in a dark violet rind — insinuating that there's something special inside that is worth wrapping up and protecting.

We think this cheese would pair well alongside a sweet nibble such as mango chutney. But it could also be a great companion with another favorite product of Vermont — beer. A fruity hazy New England IPA would work well, but we would seek out a cool can of Heady Topper from brewery The Alchemist in nearby Stowe, Vermont to make this cheese really sing.

3. Orne Meadows

Cabot is eager to present its early 21st century takes on early 20th century recipes from its beginnings to illustrate the past, present, and future of the creamery, and as a result has a whole line of Founders' Collection cheddar cheeses. We are absolutely enamored with its Orne Meadows offering and can't recommend it highly enough. This particular cheese is not sold online at the time of publication, but if you're in the Northeastern United States and have a go-to cheese monger, we would advise you to ask that they order this cheese if it's not already within their regular roster.

Typical flavor notes with cheddar include salinity, tang, a touch of sweetness, and overall pungency and this cheese had it all. What really draws us to Cabot's Orne Meadows is the presence of nuttiness in addition to a finish that has caramel characteristics that almost verge on butterscotch. This is a cheddar that doesn't really call out for a sweet jelly or a dried fruit for pairing — blackberries or tart grapes would go well on a plate alongside some crisp crackers. We rank it high for being not only distinct from the rest, but also a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

2. 5 Year cheddar cheese

Cabot's 5-Year Cheddar Cheese is one that will have Steve and the entire Winslow clan doing The Urkel with gusto. And you would need an extended family and friends gathering to get through this beautiful, but behemoth sized one-pound block of expertly aged artisan cheddar cheese.

Why is the 5-Year in the top ranks of our list? It is by far the most interesting flavor ride of the cheddar from Cabot. The wedges open up softly sweet initially. From there, you start to pick up on some delicate nutty notes, and then the salty side begins to come through soon enough evoking sharp qualities that are reminiscent of Pecorino. It is everything you could possibly want in a cheddar and it comes in thrilling waves.

It didn't reach the top of our list because it might be a little bit too intense for some who prefer their cheeses to be gentler and simpler. While many of Cabot's cheddar offerings would go well alongside a beer flight, we would argue that its 5-Year would best go toe to toe with a bouncy, juicy red wine as a beverage companion.

1. Cabot Clothbound from Jasper Hill

Cabot cheddar is delicious enough as it is, but it's better when it's aged under careful supervision at Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont. The underground cellars at Jasper Hill — known as the Ellipse — are humidity and temperature controlled environments built to let exquisite cheeses sit, rest, chill, and relax until they're deemed ready for consumption. It's in Vault 5 where you'll find Cabot Clothbound cheddar enjoying a spa day for somewhere between nine and 14 months. Cabot and Jasper Hill teamed up back in 2003 making one distinct element to this particular Cabot cheddar — a lard coating between its two layers of cloth. There is meticulous attention paid to turning the cheese and giving it a good brushing as it ages.

We would give Cabot Clothbound the top spot on our ranking because that effort is certainly worth it. The flavor balance is perfect — not overly salty, and just the right amount of sweet. It also has a distinct texture. While some of the Cabot cheddar is akin to slicing a tab of butter, this is a bit more like carving into marble. Given all of the collaborative love, care, and effort that went into making this cheese, we recommend giving Cabot Clothbound a center spot on a spread among blackberries, olives, crisp cucumbers, grain crackers, and a homemade red wine jam in order to divine all of the flavor possibilities that could come through this exceptional cheese.