Cheddar vs. Jack Cheese
At a Glance
Jack cheese is often used interchangeably with Cheddar, but Jack tends to be sweeter, milder and more creamy. Cheddar’s distinctive sharp flavor comes from its sometimes lengthy aging process.
Cheddar cheese is a semi-hard cheese that can range in flavor from a very mild melting cheese to a sharp cheese board offering. It is among the world’s best known cheeses and is often used in burgers and grilled sandwiches. It is readily available, so finding it is not a problem. Jack cheese, also referred to as Monterey Jack, is a popular American cheese that has a mild flavor and is quite creamy in texture. It is an extremely versatile cheese that can be used to make a large variety of dishes.
Cheddar cheese has its origins in England and written records claim that the cheese was produced in the Cheddar village in England from the 1100s. This means that the cheese is quite old, and today Cheddar-style cheeses are made throughout the world using a large variety of manufacturing techniques. Today, the original Cheddar cheese is referred to as West Country Farmhouse Cheese and has a tiny seal to show its origins.
Pictured at top: Habanero Jack Cheese
Jack cheese was initially made in the latter half of the 1800s by a person named David Jacks of Monterey, California. The recipe of this cheese dates back to the 1700s when Franciscan monks in California used it to make cheese for their personal consumption. The cheese got its name from David Jack and is also known as Monterey Jack, as initially the production of this cheese was limited to Monterey County. The pleasantly mild taste of Jack cheese makes it popular for blending, and you can find it in a variety of blends including Salsa Jack, Colby Jack and Pepper Jack.
Appearance and Flavor
Cheddar is creamy or pale white in color without the addition of colorant. However, because the orange color is popular, cheese makers often use annatto to impart orange color to it. Based on how long the cheese is aged and the manufacturing method used, Cheddar takes on a range of different flavor profiles. The flavor of young cheese is usually mild, while aged Cheddar tastes sharp and has a rather complex flavor. Furthermore, aged Cheddar can crumble in the mouth and leave behind its flavor for a long time.
Jack cheese can come with or without a rind, and it can be semi-soft, semi-hard or hard. The color can be anywhere from pale yellow to intense golden and its gets its color depending on its age. Young Jack cheese has a mild and delicate flavor, while aged Jack has a rich and sweet flavor with touches of caramel and fruit. Jack cheese can be also flavored with garlic, herbs and other spices.
Cheddar is quite popular around the world in burgers and grilled sandwiches. It can also be used in making mashed potatoes, omelets, soufflés, casseroles and lasagna. As a table cheese, it is served at room temperature and often served with pickled onions and chutneys. It can be sprinkled over soups and roasted vegetables too. Jack cheese can often be used interchangeably with Cheddar, although Jack tends to have a milder, more creamy flavor. Jack can also be used to soften the edges of an especially sharp Cheddar.
One ounce of Cheddar cheese has about 114 calories. It contains 9g of fat, 176mg of sodium and 7g of protein. It does not contain any carbohydrate. One ounce of Jack cheese contains about 100 calories, 5g of saturated fat, 170mg of sodium and 7g of protein. This cheese does also does not contain any carbohydrate.