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American Cheese vs. Cheddar Cheese: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 21, 2023
American cheese is a processed cheese product, typically milder and more meltable, while cheddar cheese is a natural, aged cheese known for its sharpness and crumbly texture.

Key Differences

American cheese, a processed cheese developed in America, is known for its smooth texture and melting quality. However, cheddar cheese, originating from the English village of Cheddar, is a natural, aged cheese with a distinctly sharp flavor.
American cheese is made from a blend of milk, milk fats, and solids, with emulsifiers added for consistency. Whereas, cheddar cheese is produced through a natural aging process, where the cheese develops its flavor and texture over time.
American cheese typically has a mild, creamy taste and a uniform, smooth texture. Meanwhile, cheddar cheese offers a range of flavors from mild to extra sharp, with a texture that can be smooth or crumbly, depending on its age.
American cheese is popular in sandwiches and burgers due to its excellent melting properties. On the flip side, cheddar cheese is versatile in cooking, used in everything from sauces to gratins, known for adding depth of flavor.
American cheese, being processed, often contains additives and preservatives, with a varying nutritional value. Cheddar cheese, as a natural cheese, is rich in protein and calcium, but also high in fat and cholesterol.

Comparison Chart


American, processed product
English, natural aged cheese


Smooth and creamy
Ranges from smooth to crumbly


Mild and uniform
Sharp, intensifies with age

Melting Quality

Excellent, melts smoothly
Melts well, varies with age

Nutritional Content

Varied, often with additives
Rich in protein and calcium

American Cheese and Cheddar Cheese Definitions

American Cheese

American cheese is a popular choice for fast food and quick meals.
Drive-through burgers often use American cheese for its easy melt.

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese originates from Cheddar, England, and varies in flavor and texture.
I used a block of mature cheddar cheese for the cheese sauce.

American Cheese

American cheese is a processed cheese known for its smooth texture and meltability.
I prefer American cheese on my burgers for its creamy melt.

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is versatile in culinary uses, from grating to melting.
Cheddar cheese is my go-to for topping baked potatoes.

American Cheese

American cheese is a staple in American comfort food, versatile for cooking.
Mac and cheese with American cheese is a family favorite.

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is a natural, aged cheese known for its sharpness and crumbly texture.
The sharpness of aged cheddar cheese enhances the flavor of crackers.

American Cheese

American cheese is often characterized by its mild flavor and uniform consistency.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are best with American cheese.

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese's flavor ranges from mild to extra sharp, depending on aging.
I prefer extra sharp cheddar cheese for my cheese platters.

American Cheese

American cheese comes in various forms including slices and blocks.
I packed sandwiches with American cheese slices for the picnic.

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is rich in protein and calcium but also high in fat.
A slice of cheddar cheese adds richness to my morning sandwich.


Does American cheese have preservatives?

Yes, it often contains preservatives and additives.

Is cheddar cheese good for melting?

Yes, especially younger cheddars melt well.

What is American cheese made of?

It's made from a blend of milk, milk fats, and solids, with emulsifiers for consistency.

How is cheddar cheese made?

Cheddar is made through a natural aging process from cow’s milk.

What dishes use American cheese?

Commonly used in burgers, sandwiches, and mac and cheese.

Can American cheese be aged?

No, it is not aged like natural cheeses.

Is cheddar cheese healthy?

In moderation, it provides protein and calcium but is high in fat.

What's the best way to store cheddar cheese?

In a cool, dry place, preferably in the fridge.

What's the oldest cheddar cheese?

Some cheddars are aged up to 10 years or more.

Does American cheese come in different flavors?

It's mostly mild with slight variations.

Is American cheese popular worldwide?

It's more common in the U.S. and less so globally.

Can cheddar cheese be frozen?

Yes, but it may affect texture.

Are there low-fat versions of American cheese?

Yes, there are reduced-fat and low-fat options.

Can you use cheddar cheese in baking?

Yes, it's great for baking, adding flavor to breads and pastries.

Is American cheese real cheese?

It's considered a cheese product due to its processing.

Why is some cheddar cheese orange?

Annatto, a natural dye, is added for color.

Is American cheese good for lactose intolerant people?

It has less lactose than natural cheeses but varies by brand.

Can American cheese be used in a cheese platter?

It's not typical but can be included for variety.

How many types of cheddar cheese are there?

Numerous, varying in age, region, and flavor profile.

What's the difference in aging between American and cheddar cheese?

American cheese is not aged, while cheddar is aged from a few months to several years.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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