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Our Test Kitchen Found the Best Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Who doesn't want the best shredded cheddar cheese for homemade macaroni and cheese, quesadillas and more? Here's what our Test Kitchen thought after sampling 10 brands.

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Tkp Shredded CheeseTMB Studio

On the Hunt for the Best Cheddar Cheese Shreds

What we stock in our fridges varies. After all, some folks are pickle people and some aren’t. Some people couldn’t live without sriracha and others would rather stick to ketchup. One item that seems to pop up in every refrigerator, though, is shredded cheddar cheese.

This versatile ingredient is perfect for making quesadillas, topping baked potatoes and—let’s be real—eating straight out of the bag. To make these dishes (and late-night cheese cravings) all the better, you want the best cheddar cheese.

So who makes the best cheddar? You know our Test Kitchen had to find out!

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We Know Our Cheddar

To find the best cheddar cheese, we gathered some of the biggest cheeseheads in the Test Kitchen. Our team of testers—all born-and-bred Wisconsinites—tried 10 brands of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Being from America’s Dairyland, these pros know good cheese, and they judged each bag of shreds according to these characteristics:

  • Appearance: How does the cheese look? What’s the color like? Does it look fresh and delicious? Does it seem too powdery? That powder is just cellulose, by the way, a plant-based substance that prevents the shreds from sticking together.
  • Texture and shred: Is the cheese nice and creamy? Does it melt easily? What’s the shred like—fine or thick?
  • Flavor: This is, as always, the most important category. Is the cheddar appropriately sharp with good depth of flavor and bite? Does it taste like a good cheddar that you’d want to eat off the block (or from the bag)?

Our team found four brands that deserve to be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.

Cracker Barrel Double Cheddar Shredded Cheesevia merchant

The Creamiest Shredded Cheddar

Cracker Barrel Double Cheddar Bold Cut Shredded Cheese

When you open that bag of cheese for your recipe, you want a cheddar that’s flavorful, creamy and downright delicious. If you ask our Test Kitchen, that’s Cracker Barrel Double Cheddar Bold Cut Shredded Cheese.

“Right off the bat, this brand tastes like not just cheddar but really good cheddar,” says Josh Rink in the Test Kitchen. “The flavor starts strong and ends strong—two thumbs up.”

Every shred of this yellow and white cheddar mix is perfectly sharp with mild nutty notes. Yet, this Cracker Barrel cheese also retains some buttery flavor and creamy texture that you want from your shredded cheese. That soft, silky texture is typical of a hand-grated cheese.

Our team would use this bag of shredded cheese in just about any cheesy recipe, but our Test Kitchen’s Catherine Ward suggests using it sprinkled over a veggie side (may we suggest this quick cheesy broccoli?) or pasta. You’ll really be able to appreciate the two-tone appearance and creamy texture that way.

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Land O Lakes Sharp Cheddar Shredded Cheesevia merchant

Best Thick Cut Cheddar Cheese

Land O Lakes Sharp Cheddar Cheese Farmstyle Shreds

While we all know Land O Lakes for its butter (it’s one of the butter brands our Test Kitchen swears by), these thick-cut shreds prove that the company knows all things dairy.

Right out of the bag, you can tell these Land O Lakes Sharp Cheddar Cheese Farmstyle Shreds are different. The cheddar here is a vivid orange, “the deepest and brightest of all the samples,” says Josh. And the shred on this cheese is delightfully thick. According to Senior Editor Lara Eucalano, the coarse shred makes Land O Lakes “the perfect snackable cheese.” (Yep, even the foodies among us aren’t immune to sneaking generous pinches of cheddar as a snack.)

What really makes this one of our top picks for the best cheddar cheese, though, is the taste. According to Josh, “this cheese has presence and depth; the taste is superior!” Our pros all noticed the slightly sharp, almost nutty flavor of this top-notch cheddar.

Because of its striking appearance and tempting shreds, our team recommends using Land O Lakes shredded cheddar where you can show it off! Use it to top a bowl of chili or to garnish these cheeseburger-inspired recipes.

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Kraft Sharp Cheddar Shredded Cheesevia merchant

Best Fine Cut Cheddar

Kraft Sharp Cheddar

Want finer shreds to stir into these cheddar cheese recipes? Our Test Kitchen recommends a classic: Kraft Sharp Cheddar.

“This is a well-balanced mild cheddar, exactly what I want from a bag of shredded cheese,” says Josh.

Opening this bag, testers got the light aroma of medium cheddar cheese. As for the texture, these fine shreds were soft and delicate without the dryness that tends to plague some shredded cheeses. This fine cut also made these shreds melt right in our testers’ mouths. Now, imagine how perfect this Kraft cheese would be melted over a pan of homemade enchiladas or old-fashioned macaroni and cheese.

The only drawback with this bag is that these finer shreds tend to break apart more easily. This isn’t a major deal (the cheddar still tastes great), but the cheese doesn’t look quite as good as other top picks.

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Good And Gather Sharp Cheddar Shredded Cheesevia merchant

Best Cheddar for Kids

Good & Gather Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Got kids at home? Then Good & Gather Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese is the bag you’ll want to keep stocked in the fridge.

Despite its name, our Test Kitchen team found that these sharp cheddar shreds fell more on the mild cheddar side. From experience, our pros (many of whom are parents) know that kiddos tend to prefer a milder cheese. That’s what Target’s Good & Gather brand delivers here. “The flavors here are very mild and creamy,” says Josh.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Good & Gather cheddar is just for kids. Our adult testers enjoyed this shredded cheese option’s more subdued flavor and nice texture (not overly dry as some shredded cheeses can be).

Catherine suggests adding a sprinkle on top of your next green salad or rolling up a portion in a wrap with your go-to sandwich ingredients for lunch.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.