British vs. American Cheddar: It's a Tie

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2012

How do our favorite domestic cheddars stack up against the best of the old country?

Our tasting convinced us that American creameries are producing some top-notch cheddars, but the competitor in us still wondered how domestic cheeses stack up to the stuff from the old country. In an Olympic-style competition, we tasted our favorite American cheddars, Milton Creamery's Prairie Breeze and Cabot's Clothbound, against one of Britain's most famous cheddars, a 12-month-old bandaged wheel from Keen's.

The contest ended in a draw. Fans of the "barnyard-y," "musty" flavors that are typical of traditional English cheddars leaned toward Keen's, while those who favor more "butterscotch-y" cheddars preferred the American cheeses. The only factor that tipped the balance in favor of the domestic cheddars was price. At $31.96 per pound—twice as much as Prairie Breeze—Keen's might be best saved for your next trip to England.


Old English

If you like your cheddar funky and musty-tasting, Keen's Cheddar, made in Somerset since 1899, may be for you.