Cheesy Showdown: Colby vs Cheddar Cheese

Colby vs Cheddar

This comparison might seem, at a first glance, like a regular cheese showdown – this kind vs. the other one. But it’s much more than that. It’s a battle between an American classic and an English delicacy. Sure it’s not the Boston Tea Party type of showdown, but it’s a godly battle. What are these giants of the cheese world, who made them, which one is the right one for you, and which one is just better? Let’s find out.

What is Colby Cheese

Colby is an American classic. It was made by Joseph Steinwand, who was part of a great family of cheesemakers. He named the cheese after the city of Colby, Wisconsin.

Colby (the cheese) is a semi-hard cheese made from cow’s milk. While it does somewhat look like the opponent of today’s cheese-off, it carries its weight with taste, texture, and other characteristics. But more on that later.

What is Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar is a classic cheese that has been around since the 12th century in England.

It originates from the town of Cheddar (yes, we see the creativity in cheese naming traditions as well) and is now the most popular and most sold cheese on the island. It is famous for being of firm texture, sharp and intense flavor.

Let the Showdown Begin

There is a kind of fight going on between the Cheddar and the Colby. See, Cheddar is the most popular and most sold cheese in Britain but not only that; it is the second most popular cheese in the United States! So you can imagine the disdain of some patriotic Colby fans.

The two kinds of cheese are often brought up in the same conversation, but they do differ. The Colby is a softer cheese with a milder taste, while the Cheddar is a tough type with a strong flavour and texture. Heck, it even has a more rigid appearance.

Colby and Cheddar cheese
Colby and Cheddar cheese

The Cheddar is famous for its orange color, even though these days that can mostly be credited to food coloring, since the color it has is the work of the grass that the cows of the Town Cheddar ate. We did an in-depth article on why cheddar is orange, make sure to check it out.

Another way that they differ is that Colby doesn’t go through the process of cheddaring while it’s made. During the cooking time, whey is replaced with water, which produces the milder taste (especially when compared to the Cheddar).


The aging of the two kinds of cheese is quite different as well. Aged Cheddar is a treat to behold, with its giant white crunchy cheese crystals that form on the inside, while the Colby isn’t famous for its aging, since it dries out much easier. A point for the Cheddar, we suppose.

Colby Longhorn

Any fan of the Colby probably waited for us to mention the Longhorn. This is a style of Colby that is usually the reason why people compare them so much. It is orange in color (sometimes completely, sometimes in spots) and honestly if you buy a cheaper version and give it to someone as Cheddar, they probably won’t argue.

Colby Longhorn
Colby Longhorn

The only difference would be the milder taste and shape. Cheddar and Colby come in rectangles and blocks, while the Colby Longhorn comes in the shape of a wheel that when cut, looks like a half-moon when cut.

Best Companions of The Two

Since the acidity of the Colby is relatively low, it goes best with some apples, pears, or rye bread. These food companions are something that the two kinds of cheese share, but we definitely would add a bunch more with the Cheddar. Grapes, olives, crackers, mustard, etc. Cheddar is quite a grateful cheese, so if you throw any of these foods on the table with it, you really won’t be disappointed.

The Verdict

Both of these styles have their pros and honestly, not many cons. The Cheddar goes better with more food items, but the Colby can be better for people who can’t handle the strong taste of the Cheddar.

The Cheddar ages better, and that might be the only thing that we got to give to the old cheese. You can learn more about aged cheddar cheese on our website. Trust us, you will love it.

Whichever you choose, you really won’t miss, so grab some wine, some apples and pears, get some cheese, and have a beautiful evening with the people you love. 

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